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A WRITER'S VOICE: 'Black Mass' & 'The Departed' - The Art of Revision

Jacob Krueger discusses how the writers of Black Mass tried to do the same thing by finding a different element around which to build their Whitey Bulger story than the one at the center of The Departed.

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At the center of Black Mass is Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger, a psychotic gangster, played by Johnny Depp who is playing both sides, secretly betraying his mafia enemies as an FBI informant; at the same time he plays the FBI, by using his connections to run rampant in the world of organized crime.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. You’ve seen this story before, in a much more complicated form, in Martin Scorcese’s The Departed. In fact, Whitey Bulger was in many ways the inspiration for the Jack Nicholson character in The Departed.

And despite Black Mass’s true-life story pedigree, well-written script, and excellent direction and performances this poses a real challenge for the screenwriter. A question that many of us face at some point in the writing of our stories:

What if it’s not good enough? What if it’s all been done before?

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A WRITER'S VOICE: 'Black Mass' & 'The Departed' - The Art of the Revision by Jacob Krueger | Script Magazine #scriptchat

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