In Black Mass, a crime story based on a true story, Joel Edgerton goes toe-to-toe playing a corrupt police officer, John Connolly, who was has an unusual and dangerous relationship with Johnny Depp’s crime lord, James “Whitey” Bulger.
What did you learn from working with Johnny Depp?
You learn from everybody by osmosis. I’ve been a fan of Johnny’s since 21 Jump Street and Nightmare on Elm Street and everything after that. It was great to put that admiration into this movie.
You directed The Gift – which garnered rave reviews. Is it safe to assume that Joel Edgerton might be a bit of a control freak, like most directors?
(laughs). I would swear black and blue that I don’t need to have control but lack of control definitely makes me anxious. I learned about my level of interest in control when I made my movie, The Gift, because it suddenly gave me the control that I never had as an actor. I think the control freak in me is the reason why I became a writer and a director. I also love the responsibility.
How do you deal with anxiety and anger?
I definitely keep control over those emotions. One of the interesting things about being an actor is having the freedom to express yourself because to be honest I am not good at conflict in my own life. I’ve explored meditation but I become obsessive about it. I have an addictive personality and that’s led me down some very dark paths in the past, and it’s led me to some very bright paths.
Well, I’m addicted to exercise, I happily gave up cigarettes a while ago but whatever I get interested in I dive into it very heavily, sometimes to my own detriment. I have to admit when I have lack of control over something I get very disappointed in myself.
What’s our relationship to money?
I started thinking about money recently because I realised I didn’t have enough of it (laughs). I put all this money into fixing up a house which I was very proud of because I’m so bad with money and suddenly I looked up and realised the guy who had built my house had spent too much money and I realised I didn’t have enough to afford all the things that I just did to it. But we all like money. Money doesn’t buy you love but it buys you a car and a new suit!
Does anyone advise you about your finances?
I always check with my brother when I’m offered a role. And he’ll say, ‘Take the money away from the equation, do you really want to do that movie?’ And when I say, ‘No, but they’re going to give me X amount of dollars,’ he tells me not to do the movie because I already get paid enough. And he’s right.
What about the right woman to spend all your money on?
(laughs) I’m always looking. I’m auditioning right now (laughs). This is the thing, it doesn’t come when you’re looking, right?
That’s true. What are you looking for? Do you have a particular type?
Not really. Just a good person.