Whitey Bulger the Movie, and Other Screenplays


Irlandeses_en_accionIt’s fun being a reporter in 2013.  Today it seems as if every news story could possibly become a feature film, or at least a ‘made-for-TV movie.’  I could easily envision “Whitey Bulger, the Movie,” as well as other screenplays which are probably in the early stages as this is being written.

Yesterday I wrote about the indictment of a couple for the murders of two Texas district attorneys, and one of their wives.  The way the murders were planned and committed, and the reasons behind them, could most certainly make it to a television network.

Of course the Edward Snowden story will most definitely become a film in some venue.  His revelations about the NSA spying practices have scandalized the government of the United States, pitted citizen against citizen, and country against country.  We just don’t know how it will end yet.

The Aaron Hernandez story isn’t finished yet either.  The former tight end of the frequently canonized New England Patriots may have been involved in three murders.  Besides the story of his off-field activities, there could be some great football footage.

There are more, such as the upcoming “Nelson Mandela Story,” but one, above all fascinates me because the entire story is so sordid, and depraved, that Martin Scorsese could direct it.

James “Whitey” Bulger is a former boss of an Irish Mafia gang in the Boston area.  He is on trial for 19 murders.  He had been ‘at large’ for 16 years.

The story of his rise to Mafia leadership is a good beginning for the film, but when he becomes a leader many twists and turns occur.

His maneuvering to become a crime boss is a fascinating and frightening story.  But the most interesting part of his life of crime is concerned with his being an FBI informant for 15 years.  The story, true or false, was revealed in a Boston courtroom Thursday.

Former FBI supervisor, John Morris, testified in court about Bulger’s involvement with the agency.  Bulger’s attorneys have admitted to charges of extortion and racketeering, which the 84 year old Bulger is facing, but he insists he was not a Boston “rat.”

On the witness stand, Morris was no more than six feet away from Bulger, but never looked him in the eye.  Bulger, however, continuously stared at Morris, and muttered a few derogatory phrases, which resulted in an admonition from the judge.  They had not seen each other since 1991, when Morris gave the story to the Boston Globe.  (I could just see Sean Connery as Bulger, and the late Charles Durning as Morris.)

Morris testified that he first met Bulger at his home when he hosted a dinner for the Irish mobster and his FBI handler, John Connolly, in 1978.  Morris said he met Bulger and later his associate Steve “The Rifleman” Flemmi eight to 10 times in various places, including Morris’ home, Morris’ girlfriend’s apartment, a hotel, Bulger’s home and even in Flemmi’s mother’s house for dinner. Flemmi’s mother cooked. The defense has previously argued that Bulger was not treated like an informant, and thus did not believe that he was.

Connolly is currently serving a 40-year sentence on second-degree murder charges for leaking the identities of witnesses cooperating against Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang.

Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence, is set to testify against Bulger later in this trial after agreeing to cooperate with the government to evade the death penalty in 1997.

Morris received at least $7,000 from Bulger, other gifts, such as a silver champagne bucket, and money for an airplane ticket for his girlfriend.  The cash was placed under bottles of rare wine, and delivered in a crate.

And this is true, but a bit strange, Morris now works for a wine company.

Who wouldn’t want to go see “Whitey Bulger, the Movie,” just to see how this story ends?  The others might make entertaining screenplays as well.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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