Black Mass is an upcoming crime movie by Scott Cooper starring Johnny Depp as the infamous organized crime figure Whitey Bulger. The movie is based on a best selling novel by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill about Bulger’s true life story. The action/drama also stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Dakota Johnson and is set to be released in October of 2015.
James “Whitey” Bulger is a convicted murderer and infamous mob boss from Boston. He was born one of six children in Dorchester, Mass. His brother, Billy Bulger, is a retired Democratic politician. Billy was once both president of the Massachusetts Senate and the president of the University of MA. Whitey began his crime career at that age of 14 and early on in his life spent nine years behind bars. After he did his time, he returned to his life of crime and became a prominent figurehead in Boston’s organized crime scene. In 1975, he became an FBI informant using connections from both is brother and childhood friend and neighbor, John Connolly, who was on the FBI’s Boston force. After years of being an informant, the DEA attempted to crack down on Bulger, driving him into hiding. In 2011, he was caught in Santa Monica, CA, where he had been living with his girlfriend. He was charged with racketeering, 19 counts of murder, conspiracy, drug dealing, laundering and extortion. In August of 2013 he was sentenced to two consecutive life terms, plus five years for his life of crime. He was 81-years-old at the time of his arrest.
Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill published Black Mass: The True Story of and Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob on June 1, 2001. The book exposes the FBI’s desperation for an inside source into the dangerous mob scene, which led to Bulger’s rise in power. Bulger used his relationship with the FBI to destroy his competition and control Boston for over 20 years.
Depp’s role as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass is not unusual for the actor. Depp received praise for his portrayals of John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009) and George Jung in Blow (2001). Pictures of Depp in costume as Whitey Bulger while filming in Boston are almost unrecognizable. Popular actor, Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock (2010), is set to play Billy Bulger. Cumberbatch has always been a beloved villain actor, and fans are excited to see how he will portray a politician while having to put up the front of being a good guy. Joel Edgerton plays the FBI agent John Connolly, and Dakota Johnson plays Whitey’s ex-wife, Lindsey Cyr. The director, Scott Cooper, is well known for Crazy Heart (2009) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999).
Mafia movies have always had their place in Hollywood, and, luckily, there is no shortage of real life mobsters for the movie industry. Whitey Bulger had a very long career and eluded the police most of his life before his inevitable capture. Johnny Depp captures the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of Whitey Bulger’s life in Black Mass, coming next year.
By Morgan Louchen