Johnny Depp has signed on to play Boston mob's Whitey Bulger in the Barry Levinson-directed film Black Mass. I really like it when Depp signs on for a non Disney film, and this movie sounds like it will make for a great crime thriller. Depp and Levinson have already worked together on a previous Mob film called Donnie Brasco, which was a great flick!
This is going to be a great movie! It's based on the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob. Bulger was a ruthless Boston mob kingpin who inspired movie characters such as the one Jack Nicholson played in The Departed and the one Pete Postlethwaite played in the The Town. Bulger was also an FBI informant, so he could discreetly take down a rival gang. The tables were turned on him. In the end the Feds double crossed Bulger and prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him.
The movie is set up at Cross Creek, and producer Brian Oliver had this to say in a statement,
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.
Ben Affleck has also got his own Whitey Bulger project that he's developing. His project is being scripted by Boardwalk Empire creator Terrence Winter, and Matt Damon is expected to play the mobster. If you've seen Donnie Brasco, you know that Depp and Levinson make a great team, and I'm looking forward to seeing this one come to life!
Here's a more detailed rundown of the mobster's life...
He was a former organized crime figure from Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Local folklore depicted Bulger as a Robin Hood–style social bandit dedicated to protecting the neighborhood and its residents. Bulger allegedly masterminded a protection racket targeting drug kingpins and those running illegal gambling operations. Based upon the testimony of former associates, Federal prosecutors have indicted Bulger for 19 murders.
Beginning in 1975, Bulger served as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As a result, the Bureau largely ignored his organization in exchange for information about the inner workings of the Italian American Patriarca crime family. Beginning in 1997, the New England media exposed criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger. For the FBI especially, this has caused great embarrassment. On December 23, 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the RICO Act, Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding. For sixteen years, he remained at large. For twelve of those years, Bulger was prominently listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
On June 22, 2011, Bulger was arrested outside an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Arrested with him was his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. Bulger was 81 years old at the time of his arrest. Soon after, Bulger and Greig were extradited to Massachusetts and brought under heavy guard to the waterfront federal courthouse. This necessitated the closing of part of Boston Harbor. Greig pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and was sentenced in June 2012 to eight years in prison. Bulger has not sought bail and remains in custody at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts. On November 5, 2012, Bulger was taken to a hospital from his Plymouth prison cell after complaining of chest pains where he is awaiting trial on allegations he participated in 19 murders. On November 14, Greig filed an appeal aimed at cutting time off her prison sentence for helping him while he was a fugitive.