For Johnny Depp, the coming Irish-American mafia drama "Black Mass" is being hailed as a career renaissance and an Oscar-worthy comeback. But for Sienna Miller, the movie will just be a paycheck. The 33-year-old actress filmed the role of one of gangster James "Whitey" Bulger's girlfriends for "Black Mass," but the movie's world premiere at Venice Film Festival revealed that Miller's part did not make the final cut.
According to Deadline Hollywood, "Black Mass" was screened out of competition at Venice Friday and, though audiences were enraptured by performances from Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch and Joel Edgerton, Miller was missing from the movie. Director Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart," "Out of the Furnace") said that, though the actress' work was "fantastic," tough "narrative decisions" forced him to leave her part on the cutting-room floor. Apparently, Cooper decided to focus on Whitey Bulger's early life and criminal prime, as opposed to his later fugitive years when Miller's character would have come into the picture.
A decision to drop a big-name actor is rare, but nothing new, especially on longer, more complicated films and stories. Reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick ("Days of Heaven," "Tree of Life," "The Thin Red Line"), who is known for producing epic first cuts spanning well over four hours, has cut out entire roles from his films featuring plenty of notable actors, such as Michael Sheen, Jessica Chastain, Amanda Peet and Mickey Rourke. With "Black Mass" spanning generations to tell the Bulger story, it comes as no surprise that Cooper had excess material.
"Black Mass" tells the story of Bulger (Depp) and his decadeslong rise to power in the Boston criminal underground, abetted by a dirty FBI official (Edgerton) who let him act with impunity for years in exchange for favors. Things are further complicated when Bulger's state senator brother, Billy Bulger (Cumberbatch), gets dragged into his criminal mess. The movie's story of corruption stretches from Bulger's early crime days in the 1970s until his capture after years as a fugitive in the early 2010s. In addition to Depp, Edgerton and Cumberbatch, the film stars Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, W. Earl Brown, David Harbour, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott and Juno Temple -- just not Sienna Miller, anymore.
Watch the trailer for "Black Mass" below:
Is "Black Mass" a better or worse film for losing Sienna Miller's part? Fans will have to decide that for themselves when they see it. "Black Mass" will premiere in theaters nationwide on Sept. 18.