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Now we know what happens when Johnny Depp steps out of a black Escalade in Brookline: People scream. The actor, who plays Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass,” joined several of his cast mates and director Scott Cooper at a special screening of the movie Tuesday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and the reaction among those gathered to gawk was, well, exuberant.

Depp doesn’t do a lot of press for his movies, and Tuesday was no exception. A publicist had whispered to us that the movie star would answer one question from the Globe. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Depp talked to a few TV stations and then wandered off the red carpet to greet fans who had crowded behind a barricade to get a glimpse of him.

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Those who did walk the red carpet, which occupied a large swath of sidewalk on Harvard Street, included Dakota Johnson, who plays Bulger’s long-ago girlfriend Lyndsey Cyr in the movie, Rory Cochrane, who plays stone-cold killer Steven “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Jesse Plemons, who’s Bulger’s knucklehead accomplice Kevin Weeks, Medford’s own Julianne Nicholson, as the wife of corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, and Cooper.

Cochrane said the cast felt a special responsibility to South Boston to tell the Whitey saga in a way that didn’t glamorize the gangster.

“It’s almost like they own the rights to any version of that story,” he said, holding an unlit cigarette as he talked. “Hopefully, we got it to a point where they’ll be receptive.”

Cooper called the Coolidge screening “the most important of my life” because Boston is so familiar with the Bulger story, and the film will either ring true here or it won’t.

“The fact is, every day that I came to the set I thought about the victims and the victims’ families,” he said. “It was very important to me not to trivialize or romanticize or glorify these men’s exploits because the emotional wounds have to yet heal and I don’t know that they ever will.”

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Cooper seemed to take issue with a column in the Globe that questioned whether Bulger’s misdeeds should be fodder for entertainment.

“There will people who always say it’s too soon to make a film like this, people who write for [the Globe],” he said.

Tuesday’s screening was invitation-only, and many of the Boston actors and crew who worked on the film were not invited by Warner Bros. (Inexplicably, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, players Patrick Chung, Stephen Gostkowski, Jabaal Sheard, and Nate Ebner, and Clay Buchholz’s wife, Lindsay Clubine, were there Tuesday.) When some of the local talent complained about being stiff-armed, the studio scheduled a second preview screening, which will be held Wednesday at the Coolidge.

“Black Mass” opens in theaters on Friday.

More coverage:

Fans cheer Johnny Depp, ‘Black Mass’ stars in Brookline

‘Black Mass’ stars heat up Brookline red carpet

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 and his wife, Amber Heard.
Johnny Depp and his wife, Amber Heard. John Blanding/Globe Staff
Dakota Johnson and Julianne Nicholson.
Dakota Johnson and Julianne Nicholson.Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Director Scott Cooper.
Director Scott Cooper.John Blanding/Globe Staff
Fans outside the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Fans outside the Coolidge Corner Theatre. John Blanding/Globe Staff
Actor Jesse Plemons spoke to fans.
Actor Jesse Plemons spoke to fans. John Blanding/Globe Staff
Gerard O'Neill, one of the authors of the book “Black Mass.”
Gerard O'Neill, one of the authors of the book “Black Mass.” Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Dick Lehr (right), the other co-author of “Black Mass,” arrived at the screening.
Dick Lehr (right), the other co-author of “Black Mass,” arrived at the screening.John Blanding/Globe Staff
Actress Erica McDermott.
Actress Erica McDermott.Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Actor Jesse Plemons.
Actor Jesse Plemons.Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Fans lined Harvard Street in Brookline several hours before the premiere.
Fans lined Harvard Street in Brookline several hours before the premiere.Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Depp signed autographs for fans upon leaving the theater.
Depp signed autographs for fans upon leaving the theater.Sarah Silbiger for The Boston Globe

Names can be reached at names@globe.com. Follow Mark Shanahan on Twitter @MarkAShanahan.

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