It’s an odd yet not totally uncommon occurrence when two different actors play the same role in the course of a calendar year. Hell, in 2017, we had two versions of Winston Churchill given to us by Gary Oldman and Brian Cox, which resulted in an Academy Award for the former and general disinterest for the latter’s work. But it’s very rare that we get a role so different in its portrayals than that of LAPD officer Russell Poole, who was served in the USA original series Unsolved by the wonderful Jimmi Simpson, and is now being played by everybody’s least favorite box-office draw, Johnny fucking Depp, in the upcoming City of Lies, which had its first trailer drop today, just in time for Biggie’s birthday. What a shitty present.
At least try to feign interest here, people. Take a look:
City of Lies, directed by perpetual underachiever Brad Furman (no relation to Mark), looks to be one of the least interesting and most exhausting crime dramas of the year, and that’s nearly entirely due to Depp’s presence (Furman’s flat direction could put anyone to sleep, frankly).
Simpson, at least, feels like the kind of person who’d be able to portray a cop beaten down by years of struggle and professional indifference, whereas Depp just looks like he’s taking a quick paycheck in order to pay off some sort of debt, be it legal or material (he has a private island, one might assume he’d just hide out there and, well, eat coconuts). Forest Whitaker deserves better than this, and we’d actually watch a whole movie about Shea Whigham’s Frank Lyga (whose murder of another officer eventually resulted in the Rampart scandal), but no, we’ve got Johnny Depp trying to solve one of the most famous murders of the 20th century. Can you tell we’re pumped to see this?
City of Lies hits theaters on September 7, and we’re betting it’ll off screens by the following Friday.