Johnny Depp set to star in Black Mass for Barry Levinson

Johnny Depp

The story of Whitey Bulger has been brewing in Hollywood for some time now, going through several incarnations but never really landing anywhere.  The most exciting news popped up in October of 2011 when it was announced that Ben Affleck might be directing a Whitey Bulger biopic, starring his BFF Matt Damon and brother Casey Affleck.  But Affleck went on to do some other projects and that one fell by the wayside.  It looks like Affleck’s loss is Barry Levinson’s gain as none other than Johnny Depp has stepped in to star in the film BLACK MASS for the director.  The film will be primarily based on the 2001 book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill, which details the famed Boston mob boss’s rise to power, eventual fall and his alliance with the FBI.

I really didn’t want this to turn into a “I hate Barry Levinson” article, but I can’t find anything positive about this news.  First, we lose an exciting project that could have reunited Affleck and Damon and second, the fascinating tale of Whitey Bulger is going to be handed to the guy whose last several films include WHAT JUST HAPPENED, MAN OF THE YEAR, ENVY, AN EVERLASTING PIECE, LIBERTY HEIGHTS and SPHERE.  I could have included some forgettable TV projects, but the point is that Barry Levinson hasn’t done anything watchable since WAG THE DOG and that film’s quality is debatable.  But with Johnny Depp officially on board, I imagine BLACK MASS will get moving quickly. (Cross Creek Pictures)

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