Hollywood is a small, circular place: Joel Edgerton is coming off The Great Gatsby, in which he plays a foe to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s titular (and great!) socialite. The latter, you may recall, starred in The Departed, whose central antagonist — Frank Costello, portrayed with vile alacrity by Jack Nicholson — was based in large part on then-missing mob boss Whitey Bulger. Years later, only after F. Scott Fitzgerald was gussied up by Baz Luhrmann, Edgerton is taking off to co-star in a film centered on… Whitey Bulger.
The picture is Black Mass, which Barry Levinson and Johnny Depp have signed up to direct and headline, respectively, and which, now, Deadline report the aforementioned Australian actor is signing up for. Edgerton‘s part is John Connolly, an FBI agent who, in real life, found himself helped out by Bulger — a childhood friend, along with his own brother — in dismantling Boston’s Italian mob, making for a partnership that saw Connolly returning some of the favor. That, however, brought about the agent’s eventual public decline, with the man now in prison.
Cross Creek and Exclusive Media are producing Black Mass for Universal, and shooting is expected to kick off soon.
Moving into some pulpier, more action-oriented territory, TheWrap inform us that Eran Creevy (Welcome to the Punch) will tackle Autobahn as his third feature, landing Zac Efron and Amber Heard as his two leads. The plot, mapped out by the helmer and co-scribe F. Scott Frazier, follows an American tourist who ends up working with some Turkish toughs but, unsurprisingly, winds up in trouble. Before long, the man and his girlfriend “seek to free themselves from any perilous entanglements” while running through Munich.
No studios are yet attached — this sounds to be, as typical of Cannes, a project announced with only stars and a director on board; this is not posited as a complaint — but two young and attractive stars are attached, so we’d be right to expect a quick change on that front. IM Global have elected to finance, and are ramping up to have Creevy behind the camera come fall.
Finally, Deadline have news that connects right back to a Sundance dud. After their collaboration, Lovelace, fell pretty flat in Park City, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman return to the biopic territory — now with more potential on their hands, as Uma Thurman has agreed to lead their project based on the life of Anita Bryant. (Ten bonus points if you can cite the connection between a director and their subject in the comments below.)
Fittingly titled Anita, their Chad Hodge-scripted drama that focuses on the noted anti-gay activist who led the hateful charge in decades past. In particular, Epstein and Friedman will tell of an incident where Bryant had “[allowed] a gay screenwriter into her home, [and was] forced to confront her past as an anti-gay Christian crusader” — a setting which will probably force Thurman to be aged up a bit for this to properly function. If it’s a better role than she’s usually granted, some elderly makeup ought to be acceptable.
Do any of the projects noted above interest you?