Johnny Depp May Depart Whitey Bulger Biopic BLACK MASS [Update: Depp Drops Out]

     May 29, 2013

johnny depp black mass whitey bulger

Johnny Depp became attached to play Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in the biopic Black Mass in February.  Just two weeks ago, Joel Edgerton signed on to co-star as an FBI agent close to Bulger.  Together they make a nice anchor for director Barry Levinson—however, Depp may end up leaving the project that is currently scheduled to shoot this summer.  Deadline does not get into too much detail, but reports there is trouble finalizing the details of Depp’s deal and “things aren’t looking great at the moment.”  Given Depp’s stature, we should hear for sure whether he’s in or out soon.  [Update: Variety reports Depp is out—there is speculation that he balked at a request to take a paycut from his $20 million standard, but nothing definitive.  Levinson and Edgerton remain attached, but it is unclear if that is enough to convince financiers to go forward with the project.]

Cross Creek and Exclusive Media are funding the independent production—Universal will distribute.  More after the jump.

Here’s the synopsis:

BLACK MASS tells the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.  However, after the Feds closed in on their targets, they double crossed Bulger and ultimately prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him.

Check out our interview with producer Brian Oliver for more on the story.

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