Who stars in City of Lies, and how do you know them? Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 thriller starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker.
Who stars in City of Lies, and how do you know them? The 2021 crime thriller stars Johnny Depp as a real-life LAPD detective who investigates the 1997 murder of The Notorious B.IG, otherwise known as Christopher Wallace. Directed by Brad Furman, City of Lies is based on Randall Sullivan’s 2002 book Labyrinth.
City of Lies co-stars Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, whose character Jackson is based on the aforementioned Sullivan. After The Notorious B.I.G’s death, he reaches out to detective Russell Poole (Depp) about solving the case. Ultimately, the two men link the crime to a cover-up involving the LAPD and Death Row Records.
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Alongside Depp and Whitaker, the City of Lies main cast includes prominent character performers who appear as real-life historical figures. The headliners mostly carry the load, but the supporting lineup does include numerous bit players whom audiences will recognize from mainstream movies and TV. Here’s a cast and character guide for City of Lies, a highly-anticipated 2021 movie.
Johnny Depp As Russell Poole
Johnny Depp stars as Russell Poole, an LAPD detective who investigates The Notorious B.I.G.’s murder. In the early ’90s, Depp delivered breakout movie performances in Edward Scissorhands and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. In pop culture, he’s best known for starring as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
Shea Whigham As Detective Frank Lyga
Shea Whigham portrays Detective Frank Lyga, an undercover cop who kills a fellow officer in self-defense. Whigham portrayed Dewart in Take Shelter and Carl Elway in American Hustle. He also appeared as Eli Thompson in Boardwalk Empire and Pete Strickland in Perry Mason, a 2020 HBO TV show.
Neil Brown Jr. As Rafael Pérez
Neil Brown Jr. appears as Rafael Pérez, a corrupt LAPD cop with connections to Death Row Records. Brown Jr. portrayed Chad Kerr in Insecure and currently stars as Ray Perry in SEAL Team. He also appeared as DJ Yella in Straight Outta Compton.
Shamier Anderson As David Mack
Shamier Anderson portrays David Mack, an LAPD officer who reportedly conspired with Pérez in The Notorious B.I.G.’s murder. Anderson portrayed Agent Xavier Dolls in Wynonna Earp and Anton in Goliath. He also appeared as Antonio in the 2018 movie Destroyer.
Amin Joseph As Kevin Gaines
Amin Joseph appears as Kevin Gaines, an LAPD officer with ties to Death Row Records. Joseph portrayed Percy Locke in Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. and currently appears as Jerome Saint in Snowfall. Fans of the 2017 Baywatch film may know him as Frankie.
Glenn Plummer portrays Psycho Mike, a police informant who names “Amir” as The Notorious B.I.G.’s killer. Plummer portrayed Bobby in South Central and Uncle Shrimp in Imperial Dreams. He also appeared as Leonard Bailey in Suits.
Toby Huss As Fred Miller
Toby Huss appears as Fred Miller, Russell’s loyal partner. Huss portrayed John Bosworth in Halt and Catch Fire and Tex McCready in the Netflix show GLOW. He currently appears as Edward Dickinson in Dickinson.
Voletta Wallace As Herself
Voletta Wallace plays herself in City of Lies. She’s the mother of the late Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., and appears briefly in a scene with Depp’s Russell Poole. Wallace executive produced the 2021 Netflix documentary Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell.
City of Lies’ Fictional Characters & Cast
Forest Whitaker (above) as Jack Jackson: A journalist who teams up with Poole. The character is loosely based on Randall Sullivan, who wrote the film’s source material. Forest Whitaker delivered an Oscar-winning performance as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. He also portrayed Zuri in Black Panther and currently stars as Bumpy Johnson in Godfather of Harlem.
Louis Herthum as City Attorney Stone: A Los Angeles official who gives Poole the OK to discuss LAPD corruption during Lyga’s trial. Louis Herthum portrayed Omar in Longmire and Peter Abernathy in Westworld.
Dayton Callie as Lieutenant O’Shea: Poole’s superior who asks him not to look into LAPD corruption cases. Dayton Callie portrayed Wayne Unser in Sons of Anarchy and Jeremiah Otto in Fear the Walking Dead.
Peter Greene as Commander Fasulo: An LAPD officer who refuses to redact records. Peter Greene portrayed Zed in Pulp Fiction and Dorian in The Mask.
Xander Berkeley as Edwards: Fasulo’s colleague who is present for a dinner meeting with Jackson. Xander Berkeley portrayed Todd Voight in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Gregory in The Walking Dead.
City of Lies released in March 2021.
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