Johnny Depp’s ‘Black Mass’ Provokes Strong Response at CinemaCon

Scott Cooper Black Mass CinemaCon
Michael Buckner/Getty

Exhibitors got their first look at Johnny Depp’s gangster drama “Black Mass” at the Warner Bros. panel at CinemaCon on Tuesday, drawing notable reactions that could build up momentum ahead of the film’s Sept. 18 release.

Depp was a no-show, but director Scott Cooper took time to praise his portrayal of Boston’s Whitey Bulger. “It’s a performance for the ages,” he asserted.

Cooper said the movie takes a look at abuse of power and the bonds of brotherhood. In the clip shown, Depp looked somewhat unrecognizable, with piercing blue eyes, combed-back blonde hair and a fearsome intensity — mostly in a dinner scene with David Harbour, who plays FBI supervisor John Morris.

The footage showed a few glimpses of Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays Billy Bulger, Whitey Bulger’s law-abiding brother and a Massachusetts state senator. Joel Edgerton is playing disgraced FBI agent John Connolly, who aided Bulger and was sentenced to 40 years in prison despite maintaining his innocence.

Jesse Plemons (“Breaking Bad”) will portray Bulger’s longtime partner-in-crime, Kevin Weeks, and Sienna Miller will play his lover, Catherine Greig. Dakota Johnson has been cast as Bulger’s former girlfriend and mother of his only child. Other cast members are Rory Cochrane, Julianne Nicholson, Adam Scott,  Jeremy Strong, Brad Carter, W. Earl Brown and Corey Stoll.

Warner Bros. came on board last year to co-finance with Cross Creek and release the film. The project is based on the book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” written by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Mark Mallouk penned the script.

Bulger, the head of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, was captured in Santa Monica in 2011 after being on the lam for 16 years. Bulger fled authorities in Boston just before he was indicted in 1995 for federal racketeering. He was found guilty last year on 31 counts, covering 11 murders, and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for his crimes.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 17

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  2. Lenea says:


  3. Ron says:

    How in the hell can Johnny Depp play James (Whitey) Bulger?

  4. Leo says:

    This better be super violent. Burger was an animal.

  5. Ronald says:

    What were those responses you promised me?

  6. Danoota says:

    Billy Bulger, Whitey Bulger’s law-abiding brother and a Massachusetts state senator. You gotta be kidding, you are obviously not from Boston.

  7. peabody3000 says:

    ok im really confused.. the article states that cumberbatch plays a “law-abiding citizen” AND senator…??? hmmmmmmm

    • Big Daddy D says:

      I read the story on Whitey Bulger. By all accounts, his brother was a law abiding senator..the question is whether ge aided and/or abetted Whitey during his criminal career. The records show that he didn’t..but you never know.

  8. Martha says:

    Love Johnny – I wish him the best with his life and his new marriage ~ Best of Luck John . . . .

  9. filmsharks says:

    Depp needs a hit. He’s made nothing but schlock lately.

  10. Paul says:

    Can’t wait to see the movie! Depp looks great as Bulger.

    • Ger Kennelly says:

      in 1982, cocaine dealer Peter Sarsgaard known on the streets as “Balloonhead”, approaches the FBI and states that he witnessed Depp murdering Louis Litif

      FBI agent Joel Edgerton keeps Depp closely briefed on what Sarsgaard is saying to the Bureau

      Specifically, Edgerton informs Depp that Sarsgaard knows that they had participated in the murder of businessman Roger Wheeler and that Sarsgaard is shopping this information to the FBI for a chance for him and his family to be placed in Witness Protection

      on May 11, 1982, Depp is tipped off that Sarsgaard has returned to Boston

      As Sarsgaard drives out of a parking lot, someone signals Depp by stating, “The balloon is in the air”, over a hand-held radio

      Depp drives up with a masked man armed with a silenced Mac 10

      Depp himself carries a .30 caliber carbine

      They open fire and spray Sarsgaard’s car with bullets

      Sarsgaard is shot in the head and dies instantly

More Film News from Variety