7 interesting things about ‘Black Mass’

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

Whitey: “…I do not consider this rattin’ or informing. This is business.”

Connolly: “I couldn’t have said it any better. You’re a liaison. You pretty much do whatever you want, no one’s gonna raise an eyebrow…”

It’s a fascinating piece of crime history taking place in Boston in the ‘70s and it’s got an impressive cast: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemmons, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll. And it’s worth watching for that Johnny Depp fan who may be waiting for a new turn after The Lone Ranger, Transcendence and Mortdecai.

Unfortunately no review from me as I am down with German measles, yet here is a list why this movie should be seen:


1. Black Mass is one of those films where the big characters aren’t heroes or “good guys.” It is based on the 2001 non-fiction book, Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

2. Not only is Johnny Depp’s character, Whitey Bulger, a far cry from what the actor looks like in real life (Johnny has fluffy dark hair and dark eyes; Whitey was balding and has blue eyes, for obvious starters), Whitey is a departure from the usual lovably odd, endearing and quirky Depp characters like Jack Sparrow, Ichabod Crane, Willy Wonka or Ed Wood.

In the words of director Scott Cooper, “Whitey could be charming, but he was also a man who, in the blink of an eye, would just as soon kill you as look at you. Johnny understood that Whitey Bulger is not a likable character for the most part; there’s a very vicious side to him, which you’ve never seen before from Johnny.”

3. Johnny Depp plays “emotional ping pong” with co-star Joel Edgerton (character actor du jour). According to Johnny Depp, “you could throw anything at him and he’d knock it back. When you can have that sort of emotional ping pong with another actor and you recognize in them that they’re strong enough to take it, that’s beautiful. There wasn’t one scene Joel and I did together that he didn’t try new things or find a different way to go. He surprised me every time.”

4. Depp says he and Cum-berbatch “became like brothers.” Adds the man, “He’s a very giving actor and went above and beyond. You could see his heart, you could see him carrying that sense of loyalty and the love between Billy and Jimmy.”

5. The real US Attorney Fred Wyshak (Corey Stoll’s character) was on the set on the first say of shooting.

6. Both Whitey and Billy Bulger are still alive. Whitey is currently in a penitentiary in Florida while Billy is a “pensionado” and a grandfather of 33. Among others, he is currently board member of the Boston Public Library and Overseer Emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

7. Frank Costello, Jack Ni-cholson’s character in The Departed is supposedly loosely based on Whitey Bulger—although the plot is an adaptation of HK’s Infernal Affairs.

Black Mass opened on Wednesday in cinemas nationwide.

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