Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 by Angie Han
The Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass got a fresh jolt of life last month when Scott Cooper entered talks to direct, and now it’s taking another big step forward as casting gets underway. In the lead role will be Johnny Depp, who previously signed on and then quit the project last year, while Tom Hardy is in early talks to play his FBI handler John Connolly. Get more details on the project after the jump.
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You may remember that one of the films about Whitey Bulger that has been making its way to the screen is Black Mass. If things had gone a different way than they did in the end, Barry Levinson would be shooting it soon with Johnny Depp in the lead role and Joel Edgerton supporting. But the budget ballooned, the producers tried to cut costs, and when Depp was asked to slash his asking price, he bailed. The movie effectively died then.
Now Out of the Furnace and Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper is in early talks to revive the film. And Deadline says that Depp could come back to work with him. What ruthless irony it would be if Depp took less money this time out than he had originally planned to under Levinson.
The film was set in motion by a Mark Mallouk script based on the book ‘Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob’ by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. Cooper would rewrite, but hopefully he’ll stick to the core story, in which Bulger consolidated his power by working as an FBI informant who turned over info on his rivals through collusion with a childhood friend who ended up in the Bureau.
The film Black Mass, which is meant to tell the story of high-profile Massachusettes gangster Whitey Bulger, would have been a Donnie Brasco reunion of sorts, but the idea of Johnny Depp playing Bulger seemed a little weird. Now it isn’t happening.
Black Mass is to be directed by Donnie Brasco producer Barry Levinson, based on Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill’s 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob. But now Depp has pulled out of the project, after sluggish pre-sales at Cannes led producers to ask the actor to reduce his $20m quote.
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One of the most popular and in-demand actors in Hollywood has just scheduled the rest of his year, with one glaring omission. Johnny Depp will now officially star in Transendence, the mysterious sci-fi directorial debut of Wally Pfister, best known for his work with Christopher Nolan. From there he’ll star in Barry Levinson‘s Black Mass, a true-crime drama. He was previously rumored for both roles.
Transcendence shoots in April, Black Mass will shoot over the summer, and with a healthy dose of press for his new film, The Lone Ranger, peppered in, Depp is going to be a very busy man. One film not mentioned in his upcoming slate is Pirates of the Caribbean 5, a film that’s been given a July 2015 release date by Disney and has been in its script stage for some time. With Depp’s schedule all but booked for the next nine months or so, it seems unlikely that movie could shoot until next year. Read more about all the projects below. Read More »
Regional crime boss James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger has a curiously strong hold on the imaginations of filmmakers. As one of the last of a largely bygone generation of gangsters, Bulger has become an inspiration for those looking to create screen villains — Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed, for example, was based on Bulger. So was Pete Postlethwaite’s character in The Town.
The Boston-area criminal has captured the interest of Boston-area filmmakers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as well, and the two have planned a Bulger film for a couple years now. Looks like the will be beat to the punch, however, by Barry Levinson. The director is attached to Black Mass, a film based on Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill’s 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.
Now Levinson has landed Johnny Depp — star of the Levinson-produced crime film Donnie Brasco — to play Bulger. That gives Black Mass serious momentum. Read More »
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck earned worldwide fame and screenwriting Oscars thanks to the film Good Will Hunting. While each has developed his own career in the years since, the possibility of another collaboration between Affleck and Damon has always been a subject of inquiry. Now, only days after Damon announced his intent to direct his first film (an as-yet untitled legal drama he co-wrote with John Krasinski) and Affleck was said to be the chosen director for The Stand, we’ve got word that the two are going to re-team for a new Boston-set picture.
The subject of the film, which Affleck will direct, is recently captured gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. Whitey Bulger was a prominent member of Boston’s notorious Winter Hill Gang (named for a Somerville, MA neighborhood) starting in the early ’70s, and took control of the gang in ’79. He fled Boston in the mid-’90s and was on the run until this past summer, when he was arrested in Santa Monica. Other producers are putting together their own Whitey Bulger films, so will Affleck and Damon be able to beat them to the screen? Read More »
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