February 28, 2014 - 12:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Warner Bros is signing on to co-finance and do the worldwide release of Black Mass, the Scott Cooper-directed crime drama that will star Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, the notorious Boston mob boss suspected of using his status as FBI informant to eliminate criminal competition. He also apparently used a tip from a childhood friend-turned FBI agent that the Feds were closing in as a reason to go on the lam, and spent a decade atop the Most Wanted List until he was finally caught in California in 2011, convicted and sent to prison for the rest of his life. It looks like Joel Edgerton will play that disgraced FBI agent, John Connolly. He had been in the mix in the film’s first incarnation with Depp, the latter of whom departed the film over money at one point, Deadline reported.
According to Deadline, production will begin in eight weeks in Boston, and that Warner Bros is eyeing an October 2015 release slot.
Depp was originally expected to play Bulger when Barry Levinson was attached to direct, but the deal fell through over money even though the deal was near $20 million. Deadline revealed in January that talks had rekindled with Depp, along with Cooper, who so far has helmed Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob.
Even as Bulger became the model for onscreen mobsters in films that included The Departed and The Town, there have been several attempts to turn his life into a dramatic feature. A big part of the feature will be the relationship between Bulger and Connolly, who was sentenced to 40 years despite maintaining his innocence. Connolly was tasked with bringing down the Italian mob, and he was aided by Bulger, who burnished his own position as Boston crime kingpin by getting rid of the competition for his Winter Hill gang. Connolly was lauded for his work before things went south for him. He eventually was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for aiding Bulger, who is currently in a Massachusetts state prison for second-degree murder. Meanwhile, Bulger was alleged to have participated in 19 murders and nobody really put much pressure on him. When the Feds finally had enough, Bulger got a tip and he fled, vanishing until he was finally apprehended.