Morning 5

Depp to Play Gangster Whitey Bulger, 'Contagion' Spreads to TV and 'Die Hard' Dies Quickly

And Greenwood joins Ryan Reynolds thriller

Johnny Depp1.) 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]

A Good Day to Die Hard4.) 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]

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    I was disappointed when I found out the movie is only 97 minutes long. All the first four movies have been great and loved them ad hope this does not break the streak.

  • Good Grief

    Considering "A Good Day to Die Hard" looks like one long action sequence anyway, it might be a fun-but-compact ride.
    It doesn't really bother me that the run time is shorter than the other films in the series.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

    Contagion series on Netflix needs to happen. I admire that company a lot and I think they should get it. And I'm also a subscriber of their service so...

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      I second this idea, absolute perfection as an idea!!!!! Soderbergh might do it... He hasn't said anything about not wanting to do a TV show...

      Sorry, this is just an amazing thing in my mind, after seeing what Netflix could do with House of Cards.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    The main drawback that I can see for it being a short movie is that it might just end up being mindless action and explosions like the expendables. It wouldn't surprise me of that's the case because the trailer just shows a bunch of explosions.That to me is very disappointing considering the previous four movies have had very good story lines.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

    It doesn't sound promising from Die Hard - the trailers look pretty bad and the release date and short running time don't suggest anything different. I really hope they just leave the series alone after this installment (regardless of if it's good or bad).

    • adu

      I agree, at this point I can only imagine renting it, and even that is pushing it.

  • melanie

    Dillinger was probably Depp's weakest performance to date. Combined with the fact that Levinson hasn't directed in over a decade, I'm not hopeful. This feels like a project scraped together at the last minute because it's in the headlines.

    • The Moth

      First: I think his performance in "Dark Shadows" wasn't that good while I liked "Public Enemies.

      Second: Levinson hasn't directed in over a decade? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001469/?ref_=sr_1#Director
      I enjoyed "Bandits" (2001) and his HBO-movie "You Don't Know Jack" (2010) was a very strong effort with a wonderful performance by Al Pacino. So I wouldn't call him off, he still can direct good movies even though I am also a bit skeptical.

    • TORRYZ

      Levinson directed The Bay last year.

  • http://smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    I never realized that all the other Die Hards were over 2 hours. That seems strange to me... well hopefully this newest offering is short and sweet.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fan/ Fan

    I thought Matt Demon was going to star as Bulger and Depp to play a different mob boss? And wasn't Affleck going to direct the film?