by: S. Scott Stanikmas
Early word is that Johnny Depp has delivered a powerhouse performance in Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger film Black Mass, One performance that people will not be discussing is that of Sienna Miller.
According to director Scott Cooper, Miller’s entire performance had to be scrapped from the final edit of the film.
Black Mass tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger and how he rose to power being an informant for the FBI. In exchange for information against other criminals, Bulger was pretty much given carte blanche to run wild and do whatever he wanted, including committing murder. Miller was set to play Bulger’s girlfriend Catherine Greig.
Cooper said that Miller was “fantastic” working opposite Johnny Depp as Bulger, but that it just didn’t make sense for the story he wanted to tell.
“It came down to narrative choices,” Cooper told the Boston Globe in a recent interview. The director wanted to narrow the scope of the story and focus on Whitey Bulger’s life before he went on the run and became one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted. He felt like Bulger’s time with Greig while they were on the lam just wasn’t dramatic enough.
This is quite a letdown, as Sienna Miller seemed to put some degree of preparation into her role.
“Up until the day before I flew here, I couldn’t do it and it sounded stupid,” Miller told The Globe. “And I was sort of religiously watching every film ever set in South Boston: Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, and The Town. Catherine had a thick accent, so I hope I do it justice.”
This is precisely what people are doing wrong when it comes to approaching a correct Boston accent, watching films with other actors doing poor Boston accents isn’t correct preparation. You are a professional actor for gods sake, be professional and prepare like one for god’s sake. This is like preparing a book report by watching a poorly made film adaptation. Based off of this quote it’s probably for the best that Miller’s performance was cut.
To be fair, it’s not easy to nail a good Boston accent. Even actors who originally came from the area tend to slip into horrible stereotype sometimes (I’m looking at you Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon). Let’s hope these scenes eventually make it to the Blu-ray as special features, so that we can see just what Cooper saw before he excised her work to the editorial abyss.