The name James “Whitey” Bulger may not ring a bell, but you’ve probably been hearing about him a lot lately without knowing it. He is the infamous mobster whose life is chronicled in Johnny Depp’s new movie, Black Mass. Part of a gang called the White Hill Gang, Bulger and other members were responsible for a number of killings that took place in South Boston in the late ’90s.
Bulger is not happy about the major motion picture that displays his crimes. One of his lawyers told People that he believes the movie “missed the real scourge created in my client’s case…the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program.” Bulger’s lawyers also said that he has no interest at all in seeing the movie.
The former crime boss is currently serving two life sentences in a federal jail in Florida, and refused to meet or have anything to do with Depp throughout the process of making of the film. Depp told the Los Angeles Times that he did reach out to Bulger, but that “knowing he wasn’t the most ardent fan of the book Black Mass, I always knew that it was unlikely to pan out.” It is no surprise that, now that the film has been released, Bulger’s anger towards Hollywood and Depp has only grown.
Johnny Depp actually caught a lot of heat recently when he referred to Whitey Bulger as having a kind heart. He later explained that he was only trying to see the mobster as “a human being and not only as a man in that business,” but families of Bulger’s victims were still offended and outraged.
That doesn’t mean Bulger appears as a saint in the movie, however. Dick Lehr, co-author of Black Mass, said that Depp “nailed it” and “didn’t back away from the fact that [Bulger’s] a monster.”
Black Mass director Scott Cooper also feels that movie successfully portrayed the characters and events it centered around. He put a lot of effort into making everything about the movie look and feel authentic, and being careful that the movie didn’t “romanticize or glamorize” Whitey Bulger.
It’s easy to see why Bulger, now 86 years old, might not want to see his history play out on the screen. He has been convicted of doing horrible things, and will most likely be seen by general audiences as the monster Lehr assumes him to be.
[Image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty images]