Johnny Depp set to star as Boston mobster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass


We received news this weekend that Johnny Depp will be taking on the role of Whitey Bulger, a notorious mobster from Boston who was finally captured in 2011 after being at large for 16 years and on the FBI Top Ten Fugitives List for ten years. The two companies that are co-financing and co-producing the project (Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media) have also snagged Barry Levinson (RAINMAN) as their director. The film will be based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob that was written by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neil.

From Brian Oliver, President of Cross Creek Productions:

"I could not be more thrilled to have the biggest star in the world and Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson to finally bring this incredible story to the big screen. We have been working on this project since we originally optioned the book in 2005. Black Mass Expertly details the twists and turns of this highly complex story, painting a vivid portrait of Boston's underbelly and its corrupt political machine, as well as exposing the worst scandal in FBI History. It's also an examination of loyalty to family, Irish heritage, and South Boston."

The plot for Black Mass:

"Black Mass tells the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. However, after the Feds closed in on their targets, they double crossed Bulger and ultimately prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him."

You can take a look and see that Whitey Bulger's history is perfect for the big screen. I think a lot of comparisons will be made to THE DEPARTED (South Boston location, organized crime, corrupt law enforcement) but Bulger's true story is unique enough (he won the lottery at one point and almost put a hit out on Boston journalist Howie Carr) for the film to hold its own.

Johnny Depp is no stranger to gangster and mob films (PUBLIC ENEMIES, DONNIE BRASCO) and I'm glad to see him working on this then say...Depp Rumpelstiltskin with Tim Burton. The last thing that felt like a true Johnny Depp performance was THE RUM DIARY and it's exciting to see him picking up some more interesting roles. Not QUIRKY, but interesting. There is a difference.

Expect more news to come soon.

Extra Tidbit: Has anyone else noticed that in a lot of Johnny Depp interviews (and his spot on Life's Too Short) he slips into a Hunter S. Thompson voice? It's almost like he can't help himself. I'd like to think that when the good doctor died a bit of his soul went into Depp so his spirit could live on.



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