Deadline reports that Johnny Depp has signed his deal to star in Black Mass, the Scott Cooper-directed drama about Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Tom Hardy is also in early talks to play FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. Filming will begin in May.
Black Mass tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger, an Irish street punk in Boston with a penchant for rape and robbery, who spent much of his early life incarcerated. When released from Alcatraz, Whitey returned to his thug lifestyle and rose to power in organized crime by using his FBI informant status to bring down the Italian mafia in New England. He and his fellow hood Steve Flemmi, fed incriminating information on the Italian mob to FBI agents John J. Connolly Jr. and Dick Morris, allowing them to make highly publicized arrests while Bulger filled the void in the upper echelon of Boston organized crime. Whitey Bulger reigned as crime boss into the 1990’s until a corruption investigation disgraced Morris, who admitted to taking bribes from Bulger and, with Connolly’s alleged assistance, aided and abetted criminal activities involving narcotics, extortion, and murder. Bulger escaped arrest and was on the run for more than a decade, before being apprehended in Santa Monica, CA in 2012.
The film was written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, and based on the book “Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, The FBI, And A Devil’s Deal” by Boston Globe reporter Dick Lehr and Pulitzer Prize-winner Gerard O’Neill.