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‘Black Mass’ actors get into their characters

Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, David Harbour, Julianne Nicholson, Peter Sarsgaard, Rory Cochrane, Scott Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joel Edgerton attended the “Black Mass" press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival.Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The stars of “Black Mass” talked about their real-life counterparts during a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday. Joel Edgerton, who plays corrupt FBI agent John Connolly in the film, said he didn’t try to meet with Connolly — who’s serving 40 years in prison — because “the idea of going to see him felt a little dishonest to me.” Instead, Edgerton said he focused on footage as well as the book “Black Mass,” by former Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

Likewise, actor Jesse Plemons, who plays Whitey Bulger henchman Kevin Weeks, said he didn’t meet Weeks in person, but he did read his biography. “I just became obsessed over that and tore that apart,” said Plemons. Meanwhile, Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Bulger associate Brian Halloran, couldn’t meet his character because, well, “obviously no longer living.” (Halloran was gunned down in broad daylight by Bulger, who’s played by Johnny Depp.)


The stars of the film were set to walk the red carpet before its screening Monday night. Local actress Erica McDermott, who plays Billy Bulger’s wife in “Black Mass,” told us she was thrilled to be in Toronto because it meant seeing her costars again. She said Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Billy Bulger, sought her help with the Boston accent. Specifically, she said, Cumberbatch wanted to make sure he said “egg nog” correctly in a Christmas dinner scene.

“It was very important for him to get that right,” McDermott said. “He worked really hard on his Boston accent.”

Depp, Plemons, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, and director Scott Cooper are due to be in Boston Tuesday for the local premiere at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

More coverage:

Ty Burr: ‘Black Mass’ the latest example of our fascination with villains

Director confirms Sienna Miller cut from ‘Black Mass’


Meet the cast of ‘Black Mass’

Praise for Johnny Depp as ‘Black Mass’ premieres in Venice

Medford native Julianne Nicholson on role in ‘Black Mass’

Johnny Depp pledges to promote ‘Black Mass’

Names can be reached at names@globe.com. Follow Meredith Goldstein on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.