1.) Johnny Depp is attached to star as notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in the crime thriller Black Mass for Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man). The role sounds like it could be Depp’s most interesting role in years, as Bulger was the brother of a state senator and became an FBI informant to help take down a rival Mafia family before ultimately being double crossed by the Feds. They’re aiming for a May start date.
Levinson used to be a top-notch director, but he hasn’t really been on his game since 1997’s Wag the Dog. He is responsible for one really good gangster film in Bugsy, so maybe a return to that genre will help him reconjure his past glory. And last I heard, Levinson was still developing the Gotti movie with John Travolta, but this news puts that in question as it’s hard to imagine he’d work on two gangster films back-to-back.
2.) Contagion could spread to the small screen, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns revealed to Coming Soon‘s Edward Douglas. “We’ve been talking about turning it into a TV series and I think it may have a new life there,” he said. “It has some of the properties inherently like “Homeland and “24” where you can really explore outbreaks and pandemics in interesting ways.” It sounds like a good idea, but that free-flowing editing style that helped make the film so effective might be lost between a bunch of commercials. Perhaps HBO or Netflix would be a proper home?
3.) Mean Girls helmer Mark Waters will direct the latest attempt at taking over the Twilight mantle, Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. The film is the first in a planned trilogy, with the director’s brother Daniel Waters (Batman Returns) penning the script. The books tell of a teen girl named Rose, who has a spiritual bond with her vampire best friend Lissa, though the struggle to retain some humanity grows more difficult as Vampires become more feral. The producers have gone the unknown route for their leads, as it will star Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures), Australian actress Lucy Fry and Russian actor Danila Kozlovski. [Deadline]
4.) If you were planning on seeing A Good Day to Die Hard on Valentine’s day, your schedule might have just opened up a bit. At just 97 minutes, the film is the shortest in the series by nearly 30 minutes. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Discuss. Oh, and in addition to that news, the film will arrive in IMAX a little early, beginning at 10 p.m. on February 13. [The Playlist]
5.) Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, Flight) has joined Ryan Reynolds in the child abduction thriller Queen of the Night. Reynolds stars as a father who begins discovering clues that his daughter might still be alive several years after she went missing. The pairing marks the 5th go-round for Greenwood and director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), while Rosario Dawson and Mireille Enos help round out the cast. [THR]