A report from Deadline surfaced yesterday claiming the defunct Cross Creek Pictures/Exclusive Media project Black Mass was now back on the table, with Out of the Furnace and Crazy Heart writer/director Scott Cooper in negotiations to direct as well as rework the script. A source close to the project has since confirmed the information in the initial Deadline article, including Johnny Depp’s potential re-involvement. The project had initially fallen apart last May after budget issues led Depp to drop out. We’ll stress that this all still in the negotiation stages and that nothing has been finalized yet, but there are definitely efforts being made to get Black Mass to production.
The original production had Barry Levinson attached to direct, with Joel Edgerton attached as F.B.I. agent Jack Connelly, childhood friend and F.B.I. of real-life Boston mobster and one-time informant Whitey Bulger. The story will follow Bulger’s and Connolly’s often criminal interactions up to the late ’90s, when government complicity with mob activities was exposed and Bulger fled into hiding. Bulger was finally apprehended in 2011 after more than ten years on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list, and was tried and sentenced just last year. Levinson won’t be involved with the new iteration of the project, of course, but it remains to be seen if Edgerton will return.
If Cooper does come on board, he will inherit a script from first time screenwriter Mark Mallouk 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 would also figure to leapfrog other projects to which Cooper is attached, including The Road Home and Lie Down in Darkness, both of which he’s also scripting.