True-crime drama brings a vanished Boston of the 1970s and ’80s to life – despite the reluctance of many local people to talk openly about that time.
When director Scott Cooper was first approached about directing Black Mass– the story of notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and the FBI agent who abetted his bloody rise to power – he had some serious trepidation.
Not only was the film in a genre that included some of the most acclaimed movies of all time, including The Godfather and Goodfellas, but it also would require re-creating a world that was all but lost to history: South Boston in the 1970s and ’80s.
Once he’d committed to the project – with an ensemble cast led by Johnny Depp as Bulger, Joel Edgerton as corrupt FBI agent John Connolly and Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s politically powerful brother, William – Cooper laid out a mandate for his crew.
“I told them, ‘Though this takes place in the ’70s and ’80s, I want us to feel like it’s 1975 and we’re making a contemporary film’,” he recalls. “It’s not 2014 and we’re making a film about 1975 – we are in 1975.'”
People have long been asking when Johnny Depp will finally take home an Oscar. Johnny Depp, however, is not among them.
“I don’t want to win one of those things, ever, you know,” the actor told the BBC’s Newsbeat at the U.K. premiere of Scott Cooper’s Black Mass at the London Film Festival. “I don’t want to have to talk.”
Depp has been garnering critical praise and early Oscar buzz for his performance as legendary Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass; EW’s Chris Nashawaty writes that the actor “plays the audience like Toscanini” in his B review.
Nevertheless, Black Mass is not an Oscar bid for the star. Depp has picked up three Best Actor nominations before, for his performances in Sweeney Todd, Finding Neverland, and the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. “They gave me one of those things, like a nomination, two or three times,” he said. “A nomination is plenty.”
“The idea of winning means that you’re in competition with someone, and I’m not in competition with anybody,” Depp expanded. “I just stick to my guns and do what I want to do. Sometimes people don’t like it, but that’s all right.”
In addition to “Oscar bait,” there’s another term Depp doesn’t want applied to his turn as Bulger: “comeback.”
“What did I come back from? The dead?” he said. “I haven’t done anything different in this than I have in any other film.” Not all would agree: Nashawaty also said of Depp in his review of Black Mass, “The actor’s really done his homework after playing hooky for what feels like too long.”
Head to Newsbeat for the full interview. Black Mass is in theaters now. The nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 14.
The gallery has been updated with 401 HQ images of Johnny at the Screening of Black Mass during London Film Festival yesterday. Take a look!
Public Appearances > 2015 > Oct 11: BFI London Film Festival – Virgin Atlantic Gala – “Black Mass” Screening
Johnny Depp talks to Helen Barlow about taking on the role of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in the movie Black Mass.
So Johnny Depp, best-known for playing imaginary characters, how was it playing the very real, very nasty Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass? Much of a change?
“You mean the Mad Hatter never existed? Or Willy Wonka?” the actor teases.
“Seriously, when you’re playing a fictional character you can stretch it out into all kinds of strange places which I’ve taken a lot of heat for,” he chuckles. “But when you’re playing someone who existed or exists there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility to that person, whether they’re deemed good or bad, because it’s their life. You have a responsibility to be as close to the truth as you possibly can.”
Depp had gone the real route before, in 1997’s Donnie Brasco, playing Joe Pistone, an undercover detective who went undercover as Brasco to infiltrate the mob.
Magazine Scans > 2015 > Total Film (UK) – November
The gallery was updated with HQ pictures of Johnny in Rio performing with The Hollywood Vampires and participating to the benefit event with Starkey Hearing Foundation. Thanks to Holly for the pictures.
Public Appearances > 2015 > Sep 24: The Hollywood Vampires And Starkey Hearing Foundation
Performances > 2015 > Sep 24: Rock In Rio – Day 4