Johnny Depp’s stunning transformation into infamous mobster Whitey Bulger has been stirring up buzz to rival his days breaking box office records as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. While many critics are already heralding it as a return to form for Johnny, not everyone is as excited that he’s taking on a character with a past as bloodthirsty as Whitey’s.
Black Mass, specifically Depp’s portrayal of Bulger, has not been well-received by the family of Debra Davis, who was allegedly strangled by Whitey in 1981. Her surviving brother, Steven Davis, 57, told Boston Globe that he found the project “sad.”
“A lot of the families are very, very upset about this. I don’t like it one bit… Everybody seems to be profiting off it. It’s sad for the movie industry, it’s sad for the actors… It’s too much hurt still going on. It’s still too new to the heart for people.”
Johnny’s upcoming role is based on a non-fiction book called Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob that details Bulger’s extensive list of homicides and other criminal activity, as previously reported the Inquisitr. Beginning in the 1970s, Whitey aligned closely with FBI agents in order to work together against the Italian mob family Patriarca. Bulger used this relationship to protect himself from prosecution for his own crimes.
Although Whitey was eventually convicted of several crimes, including multiple murders, Debra Davis’ murder was issued a “no finding” verdict at the trial. That evasion of justice has left some of Whitey’s victims’ families cold when it comes to erecting a star-studded monument to Bulger’s life, Davis told Boston Globe.
“He was a piece of s**t anyway… The only reason he had the power to do what he did was because the FBI was protecting him… The movie industry and the actors, they’re the ones making the money. It’s another f***ing slap in the face, that’s what we’re getting paid. Another slap in the face.”
At the time of the trial, even the families who did manage to secure a guilty verdict for the murder of their loved one were not pleased that Whitey did not face a conviction on every single charge. Bulger victim Michael Donohue’s son told WGBH News that although Whitey was convicted of the murder of his father, other families were not given the same closure.
“After a lot of FBI coverup deceits lies we finally have a verdict in the murder of my family and it’s a good feeling, but my heart goes out to the other families… He should have been guilty of everything, ever tying, especially the murders. Yeah, he’s going to jail for a couple hundred years but he should have been found guilty of those murders.”
Do you think Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Whitey Bulger in Black Mass is disrespectful to his victims?
[Images via Warner Bros. and Boston Herald Archive]