Whitey Bulger, former gangster turn informant, will be portrayed by Johnny Depp in a new film.
The Daily Beast is reporting that Depp is looking to distance himself from previous roles by transforming him into the charming, yet cruel and icy killer Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, due in theaters in September 18, and directed by Crazy Heart‘s Scott Cooper. It was written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth.
The first trailer for the film has been released. It shows Depp capturing the Bulger’s ability to align himself to people, while becoming one of the most notorious mass murderers in history.
The trailer shows Depp physically transformed into Bulger while Depp’s superior acting chops capture the nuances and idiosyncrasies that made Bulger the effective killing machine he was. The movie also stars Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Rory Cochrane, Sienna Miller and Adam Scott.
Cooper’s last film, Out Of The Furnace, was not a commercial success, but it shows Cooper’s ability to put together a tight, suspenseful, real life story.
According to the A.V. Club, the movie is adapted from the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. At one point, Bulger was number two on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives List, behind only Osama Bin Laden.
The trailer is a splendid take on the “How Am I Funny?” scene from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Although blue contact lenses and makeup show a balding character, it’s Depp who is convincing us he is Bulger.
Deadline reports that the story revolves around the relationship between Bulger and FBI agent John Connolly. In the early 1970’s, Connolly convinces Bulger to turn informant on the Italian mob, specifically the Patriarca family. Unfortunately for Connolly, Bulger used the relationship to evade arrest, gain power and become one of the most powerful gangsters. Over time, Bulger corrupts both Connolly and Connolly’s boss while dismantling the Patriarca crime family.
Bulger essentially replaced the Patriarca crime family with his own. Using the FBI as a shield, Bulger was able to rule the Boston underworld with a deadly iron fist, with Bulger’s FBI contacts covering up his murders and other crimes. In 1994, the FBI finally issued an indictment against Bulger, who was notified of the indictment by his FBI informant, and Bulger went on the lam. Bulger would finally be caught in 2011.
Jack Nicholson’s role of Frank Costello in the movie The Departed is loosely based on Whitey Bulger’s story. Bulger’s story has also found its way into Law & Order, Rizzoli & Isles, and Brotherhood.
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