'Black Mass': This actor is the unsung hero of the film

Actor Johnny Depp may be getting the headlines for his turn as James 'Whitey' Bulger, but another actor is getting equally positive reviews for his work in the film. 'Black Mass' is now in theaters.

Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment/AP
'Black Mass' stars Johnny Depp (r.) and Joel Edgerton (l.).

The film “Black Mass,” which stars Johnny Depp as criminal James “Whitey” Bulger, is in theaters now and has received some positive reviews, with many critics praising Mr. Depp’s performance. 

But the actor who may be the unsung star of the film is Joel Edgerton, who portrays John Connolly, an FBI agent who knew Mr. Bulger since they both were children. 

Depp’s getting the headlines but many reviewers are also singling out Mr. Edgerton’s performance, calling him “especially good,” “equally impressive [as Depp],” and “could be in for an award-worthy breakout.” 

Edgerton has had supporting roles in such films as the 2010 movie “Animal Kingdom,” 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” and the 2013 Baz Luhrmann version of “The Great Gatsby,” for which he received particularly positive reviews for his role as Tom Buchanan, the husband of Gatsby's love interest Daisy. 

Edgerton is now having a particularly good year. He directed, wrote, and starred in the thriller film “The Gift,” which opened last month and received good reviews. Critics compared the movie to Alfred Hitchcock’s work and called it “masterful.” 

What’s next for the actor? He’ll appear in the film “Jane’s Got a Gun,” which reunites him with his “Star Wars” co-stars Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor. The movie will be released this February. 

Actors also writing and directing projects is nothing new – just ask Orson Welles – but Edgerton could model his career after another actor currently succeeding in all those endeavors: Ben Affleck. After a string of box-office and critical misfires like “Jersey Girl” and “Surviving Christmas,” Affleck began releasing critically well received work that he directed, like “Gone Baby Gone,” and directed and starred in, like “The Town” and “Argo.” The last won the Oscar for Best Picture and his lack of a nomination for Best Director for the film was widely viewed as a snub. He’s delivering well received acting work like that in the 2014 movie “Gone Girl” and is currently headlining what could be a valuable franchise, starring as Batman in the newest Warner Bros. comic-book adaptation.

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