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After experiencing some bad delays early in its pre-production, the upcoming gangster movie Black Mass has been assembling an impressive ensemble of stars. Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton are already on board and there has been some talk that Tom Hardy could come aboard as well, but the big story for the film today is that Guy Pearce is now in talks to join the cast as well (via Variety).
Both being written and directed by Scott Cooper - the filmmaker behind Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace - Black Mass tells the true story of Whitey Bulger as me rose to prominance as one of the most powerful mob bosses in Boston. He also spent years as an FBI informant who gave up a great number of his competitors in order to keep his business thriving. Also keeping him in the game was John Connolly, an FBI agent who was also a childhood friend of the mob boss. It was thanks to Connolly's warning that the feds were after him that actually let Bulger disappear without a trace for many years, though he was eventually found in 2011 living in Santa Monica, California with his girlfriend. Depp will be playing Bulger, Edgerton is attached to play Connolly, and should Pearce sign on he will play Bulger's brother.
If some of these character details about Bulger sound familiar, it's probably because the real-life crime boss was a heavy inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Here's hoping that Black Mass has something more to bring to the table than the "Based On A True Story" angle, or it could end up paling in comparison to the 2007 Academy Award Best Picture winner.
Pearce got a big boost last year playing the central villain of Shane Black's Iron Man, and has a couple of titles in the pipeline including David Michod's The Rover (which is actually based on a script developed by Joel Edgerton) and Strangerland, an Australian-made thriller that will co-star Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving. If Pearce does take on Black Mass it will actually be his second period gangster film in recent years - albeit the last one was set in the 1930s instead of the 1970s.
Black Mass is being made by Warner Bros. and Cross Creek, and while the film doesn't have a release date yet it would seem as though the studios are planning to have the production start up soon. That means that the film could come out sometime as early as the end of this year.