Johnny Depp is known for his amazing on-screen transformations, but both Depp and his make-up team seem to have outdone themselves with Johnny’s Black Mass role. Mr. Depp appears unrecognizable as the notorious Boston criminal, Whitey Bulger.
Black Mass is the fact-based story of Whitey Bulger (Depp), who has long been remembered as south Boston’s most violent criminal, according to E! Online. The film revolves around Bulger’s arrangement to inform on a mafia family invading his turf, using Whitey’s position as the brother of a state senator and his F.B.I. contacts to further his own agenda. Bulger was known to have been the head of the Winter Hill crime gang and Mr. Depp will be playing the character termed “one of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history” in the official trailer for Black Mass.
Mr. Depp, often seen with long dark hair in so many of his roles, appears as a balding Whitey Bulger, and the little hair Depp’s character does possess is a salt and pepper coloring that alienates Depp even further from his natural looks. Adding to the stunning transformation, the make-up team also gave Depp crooked, uneven teeth and used contacts to give Johnny blue eyes that are as altering to his appearance as they are creepy to look at in his Bulger persona.
“He’s a fascinating character,” Depp said in an interview with Collider. “It’s not like anything I’ve done before, on that level. I’m very excited to slide into that skin for a little bit.”
Director Scott Cooper says of the Bulger story that it’s essentially an abuse of power tale that comes from a time when the law was as corrupt and self-serving as organized crime. The two were rarely distinguishable. Mr. Cooper adds that Johnny gives a “performance for the ages.”
Even in the trailer, Depp’s talent proves worthy of the task, as character moves from jovial to deadly earnest and back again in a matter of seconds, sending chills up the spines of the audience. This won’t be the first time Johnny Depp has stepped into the shoes of infamous criminals. Among Johnny’s most memorable performances, he stepped up as the title role in Donnie Brasco in 1997 and Depp also starred as John Dillinger in 2009’s Public Enemies.
The film, which also stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother and Dakota Johnson as Bulger’s girlfriend, is based on the 2001 novel Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob. The book was written by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.
The film hits theaters on September 18.
[Featured image: Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger courtesy of Warner Bros.]