We’ve got a couple of casting stories for you this morning. First up, Joel Edgerton has signed back on to play corrupt FBI Agent John Connolly in Scott Cooper‘s Black Mass. The film stars Johnny Depp as notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger and centers on how he amassed his power with the help of his childhood friend Connolly by turning informant on rival operations, and then being warned by Connolly when the feds were closing in. Edgerton signed on almost a year ago, and remained when Depp dropped out, but eventually left the project as well. Depp signed back on three weeks ago, and there was the possibility of Tom Hardy playing the Connolly role, but now Deadline reports that the part is Edgerton’s again. Production is set to begin in two months in Boston, and Warner Bros. is eyeing an October 2015 release. [Update: Deadline adds that, since WB has picked up Black Mass, it has dropped Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's planned Whitey Bulger film, which was to star Damon and be directed by Affleck and just had a new draft of the script turned in by Terrence Winter.]
Hit the jump for the first word on Todd Strauss-Schulson‘s The Final Girls in over two years.
The powerful, intense and gripping family drama Out of the Furnace, from writer/director Scott Cooper, will be available on Blu-ray/DVD on March 11th. Collider spoke to him about the release and got some great insight on his process, how he works with actors and what he wanted to achieve with that film, and we will run that portion of the interview closer to when it’s due out. In the meantime, we also spoke to him about his next project, which he’s currently prepping, and wanted to share what he had to say about that.
Black Mass will tell the true story of James “Whitey” Bulger and what placed him on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, and it will star Johnny Depp in the lead role. During the exclusive phone interview, Scott Cooper talked about getting to the root of the psychology and behavior, how he’s doing endless amounts of research, that he’s working from an already existing script that he’s personalizing and trying to make more humanistic, why the compelling nature of the story appealed to him, and that he’s already deep into collaborating with Johnny Depp, who he sees as one of the best actors in American screen history. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Last year, Johnny Depp was attached to star in Black Mass, a biopic about the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger. However, Depp dropped out because he reportedly wouldn’t reduce his salary, and the project went into stasis although Barry Levinson remained in the director’s chair and Joel Edgerton was still on board to co-star as John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger. That combination ultimately fell apart, but last month Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper signed on, and Depp started circling the project again. Today, Deadline confirms that Depp has returned to play Bulger, and now talks are underway with Tom Hardy to play Connolly.
Hit the jump for more. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob. Production begins in May.
The Whitey Bulger drama Black Mass is materializing once again. The project was gearing up to begin production with Barry Levinson directing, Johnny Depp playing Bulger, and Joel Edgerton in a supporting role, but it fell apart when Depp departed over a salary dispute. Now the film is heating back up again, this time with Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper in talks to take the helm. Cooper most recently directed the dark drama Out of the Furnace, and the story of Bulger—a ruthless Boston crime kingpin who topped the FBI’s Most Wanted before turning informant to get rid of his competition—seems right up Cooper’s alley. Moreover, Deadline adds that talks have rekindled with Depp to return to the role of Bulger.
Depp is currently shooting the comedy Mortedcai and will be shooting Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Alice in Wonderland 2 later this year. As for Cooper, he was most recently working on an adaptation of The Stand with Warner Bros., but he subsequently left the project over creative differences.
Johnny Depp became attached to play Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in the biopic Black Mass in February. Just two weeks ago, Joel Edgerton signed on to co-star as an FBI agent close to Bulger. Together they make a nice anchor for director Barry Levinson—however, Depp may end up leaving the project that is currently scheduled to shoot this summer. Deadline does not get into too much detail, but reports there is trouble finalizing the details of Depp’s deal and “things aren’t looking great at the moment.” Given Depp’s stature, we should hear for sure whether he’s in or out soon. [Update: Variety reports Depp is out—there is speculation that he balked at a request to take a paycut from his $20 million standard, but nothing definitive. Levinson and Edgerton remain attached, but it is unclear if that is enough to convince financiers to go forward with the project.]
Cross Creek and Exclusive Media are funding the independent production—Universal will distribute. More after the jump.
While his most recent directorial effort, Argo, is beginning to generate well-deserved Oscar buzz, Ben Affleck spoke briefly about some of his upcoming projects that are sure to attract a lot of interest. When last we reported on Affleck collaborating with Matt Damon, it was to shed some light on the details of their Whitey Bulger picture. The rise-and-fall biopic of the Boston-area crime boss is apparently still in development, but Affleck did give a quick comment on it.
A bigger picture is Affleck’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, a long-gestating picture that has fans hoping for some good news. Unfortunately, it’s proving to be an unwieldy bit of source material as Affleck admits to struggling with it. Struggling, not giving up. Hit the jump for more quotes from Affleck.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are set to reteam for a biopic of Irish crime boss Whitey Bulger. The project hasn’t been officially announced, but Damon is playing Bulger, Affleck is directing, and Terrence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) is writing the script. Affleck and Damon were previously planning to team up for The Trade, a true-life story about wife-swapping Yankees players, but legal complications have held up the project. Damon says the movie is still in development, but it will come after the Bulger biopic.
Hit the jump for more on Bulger, the direction the movie might take, and an update on Damon’s recently-announced directorial debut. [Update: More details have been revealed about the project including new casting. Hit the jump for more.]