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Over the past few months, the actor Jesse Plemons' name has been practically synonymous with "Star Wars: Episode VII casting rumors." The Breaking Bad actor was first reported as a frontrunner for a major role in J.J. Abrams' upcoming sci-fi blockbuster back in January, and those stories have persisted over the last few months. Thanks to a new casting report over at The Hollywood Reporter, however, we now find ourselves wondering if Plemons may be out of the Star Wars race. The site's sources have informed them that the young actor is now in negotiations to co-star with Johnny Depp in the upcoming gangster movie Black Mass, and while nothing is definitive, it's possible that competing shooting schedules could prevent Plemons from traveling to a galaxy far, far away.
Set to be directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) and based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob" by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, Black Mass is the long in-development biopic about gangster Whitey Bulger that will tell the story of all his criminal dealings during the years when he was Boston's biggest kingpin. Depp will be playing the lead, while the supporting cast will include Joel Edgerton (as FBI agent and Bulger's childhood friend John Connolly) and Guy Pearce (as Whitey's brother Bill Bulger). According to the trade, Plemons will be playing "Kevin Weeks, a blue-collar tough guy from the streets who is part of Whitey's inner circle."
While details about their characters are slim, also in talks to join the cast are both Fifty Shades of Grey's Dakota Johnson and Juno Temple - who will be playing a prostitute with an unknown role in the plot.
So where does the Star Wars conflict potentially come in? Production on the space saga is scheduled to start up in England next month and is expected to run for many months through the summer. If Plemons were part of the blockbuster film in a lead role, it would tie up his schedule for many months and make him unavailable for smaller projects. That in mind, we have to wonder if joining Black Mass is the actor's way of filling his calendar now that Star Wars isn't happening for him.
All of that said, Black Mass doesn't have a release date yet and maybe there is some kind of glimmer of hope in that the project hasn't actually announced its start date for production yet (maybe they don't plan to shoot until the fall?). Until we get more answers, let's take a quick look back at some of Plemons' best work. Do NOT watch if you haven't caught up on Breaking Bad! :