New Black Mass trailer explains Johnny Depp’s ascent to notorious Boston gangster status

The latest Black Mass trailer gives us another look at Johnny Depp as infamous Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, but this time, it’s from a new angle. While the previous preview focused on Depp’s chilling character, we now get more of Bulger’s backstory and how he built his criminal empire.

Based on a true story, the Warner Bros. crime drama focuses on Bulger’s path from brother of a state senator to notorious Boston crime boss. Starting in the 1970s and ending in the 2010s, the film follows his ascent from small-time thug to one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Along the way, he becomes an FBI informant, partly to keep himself out of legal trouble but also to bring down mob members who are encroaching on his turf. As the trailer reveals, this cooperation with law enforcement actually allows his violent crime to continue and expand.

Bulger’s rise and fall, as portrayed in Black Mass, will be eventful, not to mention violent. Through his wheeling and dealing, as well as his ruthlessness, it’s evident that Bulger’s notoriety was deserved. What we’ve seen of Depp’s performance so far has been impressive, but we can’t help but also note that for once he actually looks his age, or at least Bulger’s. Though the actor seems to be timeless, Bulger’s hairline recedes over the course of the film.

Depp is joined by a talented cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother and Joel Edgerton as the FBI agent who gets Bulger to work with the bureau. The cast also boasts Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Rory Cochrane, Sienna Miller, and more. Written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, Black Mass is directed by Scott Cooper.

Black Mass hits theaters Sept. 18.