Here is a fact that many likely will find odd: Johnny Depp has earned three Oscar nominations - all between 2004 and 2008. For modern audiences, it is probably hard to believe that the actor behind critically panned movies like Mortdecai and Transcendence used to be one of the most interesting and rebellious mainstream actors out there. He even got an acting nomination for The Pirates of the Caribbean as Captain Jack Sparrow. While I don't feel his passion is entirely gone, there is a need for us, as well as him, to reassess his current acting career. With director Scott Cooper's Black Mass, it looks like if nothing else, he is back to giving a role that shows the edgier and more interesting side of Depp. The only question is if it will be enough.
It does seem unfair to chastise Depp for his work. Going back 30 years, he has remained vital and interesting in his choices. It could just be that when audiences found that the Tim Burton model of having him play eccentric costumed protagonists, things went overboard. While he hasn't released a considerable hit that was also critically adored in quite some time, he hasn't suffered entirely from being interesting. I don't think he is a perfect actor, but one that simply needs a role that will jolt him back into the charismatic mold that we took for granted.
I have secretly hoped that Black Mass is that one since seeing the teaser trailer - which may be one of the best teaser trailers of 2015. He is putting on the voice and pulling off a convincing outfit for a gruff crime boss. For those unsure of who Whitey Bulger is, I want to note that Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed is loosely based off of Bulger and his antics. While not identical, they share a lot of the same eccentricities. While I admit that Depp doesn't look to be going the same route as Nicholson, I do think that it will be interesting to see a more deliberate depiction of Bulger from the director who managed to get Jeff Bridges his Oscar (Best Actor - Crazy Heart).
Check out the trailer below:
Looks really good. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Another interesting note is that the cast is embarrassingly full of great actors. For those that follow Depp's acting, you will likely remember that he once played John Dillinger in director Michael Mann's Public Enemies. While not a hugely noteworthy movie, Depp did turn in a rather good performance that featured him tapping into confidence as a crime leader. If that's any indication of what's to come, then we may be in good hands. If nothing else, I hope that this is the start of charismatic Depp returning to the screen to produce another string of great and promising movies.