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Johnny Depp’s latest film, Black Mass, will be released on Friday, September 18. The 52-year-old actor who plays infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, was in Brookline, Massachusetts on Tuesday for a special private screening.
Johnny spoke to reporters about the movie, which has already garnered rave reviews, and has critics talking of an Oscar-worthy performance. He revealed the importance of separating Whitey’s public persona as a longtime mob boss who was feared by the greater Boston community from the version of the man depicted on the big screen.
“The first thing for me was to understand him first and foremost as a human being,” he explained from the red carpet. “Anybody and everybody, especially the families of his victims could say, ‘He’s just an evil person.’ I don’t believe that exists. People have their humanity, everything they’ve carried with them since they were children. There’s a side of James Bulger who is not just that man who was in that business.”
The actor said that “out of respect” he did attempt to contact Bulger in order to capture as much as possible of the truth, but through his attorney J. Carney, he “respectfully declined,” though he said Carney himself did help with the role to an extent.
While at the Toronto Film Festival this past weekend, Johnny, who is known for delving deep into his characters, also opened up about his transformation into Whitey. He told reporters that he did it the way his friend Marlon Brando did it for The Godfather, starting on the outside.
“Scott (Cooper, the director) and I both thought it very important to capture the look as much as humanly possible. My eyeballs are black as the ace of spades,” the Pirates of the Caribbean star said, so hand-painted blue-eyed contact lenses were used. “They needed to be piercing.”
Depp called makeup artist Joel Harlow an “absolute genius,” for getting Bulger’s nose, high forehead and receding hairline just right.
At this Friday’s official release, Depp will be joined on the red carpet by Dakota Johnson, director Scott Cooper and other cast members as well as New England Patriots players Patrick Chung, Stephen Gostkowski, Jabaal Sheard and Nate Ebner.