Has Aussie actor Joel Edgerton become Hollywood’s new it-man? He turned heads with a jerk in 2010’s crime thriller, “Animal Kingdom” (we immediately took notice) and gained further acclaim for his toe to toe role with Tom Hardy in the underloved MMA drama “Warrior.” Directors of note also took notice. Kathryn Bigelow cast him for a small but important role in “Zero Dark Thirty,” and he arguably stole the show from Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and the rest of the cast in Baz Luhrmann‘s “The Great Gatsby.” So what’s next for an encore? Two plum roles in two major projects everyone’s keeping a close eye on.
First up, he joins Johnny Depp in a movie about notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger called “Black Mass.” It’s a project that will reunite him with “Donnie Brasco” producer Barry Levinson, who will take the director’s chair here, and it’s one of three projects in the works about Bulger, including one that’s being developed by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (it’s very possible the Depp version could kill all others too). Edgerton will play John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger tasked with bringing down the Italian mob, but instead helped out his pal and eventually paid the price. Depp is staring as Bulger, naturally.
Next up is yet another project for Edgerton. Earlier today, he joined Michelle Williams in Joshua Marston‘s “The Double Hour.” Marston is the acclaimed indie director behind “Maria Full of Grace” and the very excellent, but overlooked-in-some-circles, Eastern European drama, “The Forgiveness of Blood.” “The Double Hour” is a remake of the 2009 Italian film of the same title. Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, that film centered on a chambermaid and an ex-cop who meet at a speed dating event and a romance develops. But during a romantic getaway things suddenly take a dark turn. The psychological thriller will remain mostly the same in the American version, only it’s got quite the director and cast attached to it.
In 2011 when “Warrior” hit, if bets were made, most pundits would put Tom Hardy ahead in the race for these actors to be next in line for the A-list, but at this point we’d probably call it a dead heat. [Deadline]