Not that long ago, the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass was all set to star Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton, with Barry Levinson at the helm; then the film shut down, and the whole thing seemed dead in the water for a good long while. Proving that you can’t keep a good film buried for too long, Black Mass has returned in force, with Depp officially in place to star and a replacement director in the form of Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace).
Black Mass is 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, with a script by Mark Mallouk. Depp is now confirmed for his starring role and Tom Hardy is reportedly in early talks to play opposite. Depp will be Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster who turned FBI informant until his crimes began to outweigh his usefulness. Hardy will take on the role of John Connolly, Bulger’s childhood friend and the FBI agent who tipped him off that the feds were coming for him.
Production on Black Mass is set to begin in May, so it looks like this one will finally get going. While the story bears an uncanny resemblance to some of Depp’s earlier mob-themed work (Public Enemies, Donnie Brasco), the combination of him and Hardy could produce some amazing sparks. With director Scott Cooper coming off the fairly successful Out of the Furnace, I would be willing to see where this one goes.
We will keep an eye on casting and production as it develops. Meanwhile, what do you think of the film’s troubled trajectory? Will Black Mass run into even more difficulties, or has it finally turned the corner now that it’s headed into production? Let us know in the comments below.