By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 3, 2013 at 11:14AM
While there's another "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movie on the way, it seems that Johnny Depp is swashbuckling Jack Sparrow style off-screen as well. Much to the surprise of Terry Gilliam, the actor has put his own "Don Quixote" project into development at Disney, and now he's joining another project that has a rival movie on the same subject brewing, with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Depp has joined "Black Mass," about notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, in a project that will reunite him with "Donnie Brasco" producer Barry Levinson, who will take the director's chair this time around. In development for almost two years now, the film has a script from "Inside Man" scribe Russell Gerwitz, based on the bestselling book by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill, "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob."
So, who is this Whitey Bulger that now has three movies in the works about him? (You have may forgotten that "Twilight" actor Peter Facinelli is also producing an adaptation of Edward MacKenzie and Phyllis Karas’ book, “Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob.”) Well, he was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's character in "The Departed," and was on the FBI’s top ten Most Wanted list for the past few decades, before he was dramatically arrested in 2011 after years of hiding in California. As the head of the notorious Boston outfit called The Winter Hill Gang, Bulger was a feared ruler, with both murder and racketeering among his misdeeds. However, he was also an informant for the FBI, adding a pretty fascinating twist to his story.
The Damon/Affleck project is probably the main competition for "Black Mass," as the pair have been collaborating with "Boardwalk Empire" writer Terence Winter. However, Affleck told us this fall that his movie was a bit of a ways off. "My guess is honestly, [it'll be] the movie after next. I'll probably find something that's in better shape to do next until we got that one ready, and then we'll go ahead and fire that one up," he said.
So we'll see if that movie even happens, as Depp's "Black Mass" is moving fast, heading to the buyers market at the Berlin International Film Festival with production slated to begin in May.