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Look Out Ben Affleck & Matt Damon, Johnny Depp Joins Rival Whitey Bulger Project ‘Black Mass’

by Kevin Jagernauth
February 3, 2013 11:14 AM
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Black Mass Johnny Depp

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.

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More: Black Mass, Barry Levinson, Johnny Depp

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  • Kev | February 3, 2013 11:25 PMReply

    It was a Hong Kong film, Internal Affairs, not a Japanese film.

  • Dan | February 4, 2013 8:29 AM


  • seymour | February 3, 2013 10:49 PMReply

    Nicholson's character in The Departed wasn't inspired by Bulger. The Departed was a remake of a Japanese film. So the inspiration was the Japanese character. They placed The Departed in Boston, so there are obvious similarities to Bulger's life, but those plotlines were all in the original Japanese movie.

  • dave | February 4, 2013 11:26 AM

    yes its a remake of infernal affairs, but by transplanting the movie to boston it wouldnt of made sense to have hong kong mannerisms, attitudes and backstorys. they used bostonians as the templates for the new characters. Nicholson improvised most of his scenes. he based his version of the character on bulger. i wouldnt even be surprised to find out that most of the cast never watched the Infernal affairs movies. they would of wanted to make their own interpretation of the characters.

  • Trevy | February 3, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    Depp and Levinson instead of Damon and Affleck is RETAHDED! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  • manuel at house | February 4, 2013 12:07 PM

    Agreed. This blows. Affleck has made two great movies set in Boston. Levinson was a fine film maker in his day, but his day is gone.

  • gert | February 3, 2013 11:22 AMReply

    wtf, i hope this doesnt kill Aflleck's Bulger pic, that would be lame as hell..

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