Which Brand of Whitey Bulger Film Do You Want to See on the Big Screen?
Johnny Depp is the latest of many Hollywood stars to hop on the Whitey Bulger movie bandwagon. Photos by Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com (Depp, Affleck, Facinelli) and Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com (Damon)
This weekend, news broke that Johnny Depp would play Boston mobster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, a film based on a book about Whitey, the Irish mob in Boston, and the FBI. This Whitey Bulger movie is the third project to emerge since Whitey Bulger’s arrest in June 2011.
About one week after Bulger’s arrest, Deadline reported that Peter Facinelli (a.k.a. Carlisle Cullen from Twilight) was producing the film version of Street Soldier, a memoir by one of Bulger’s associates. In October 2011, Matt Damon confirmed to GQ that he and Ben Affleck planned to make a film about Bulger as well.
Now the question is, which of these three projects are you most excited about?
Whitey Bulger through the years. Can Johnny Depp pull off playing this Boston mobster, or will Boston native Matt Damon do it better?
Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger
Johnny Depp’s project is based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill of The Boston Globe. We all know Depp can play just about anyone and anything, but don’t let thoughts of Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, and Jack Sparrow scare you off. Let’s not forget, after all, that in 2009 Depp played bank robber John Dillinger in Public Enemies.
Black Mass is on the fast track to production, which is set to start in May. The film is being produced by Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media and directed by Barry Levinson.
Untitled Ben Affleck-Matt Damon biopic, with Damon starring as Bulger and Affleck directing
Matt and Ben, together again? Be still, our beating hearts. This collaboration still remains our most highly anticipated Whitey Bulger film, mostly because Affleck and Damon are Boston boys, and not unlike the Wahlbergs, the duo always represents Boston right. (Check out our oral history of Good Will Hunting, if you need a refresher.) Affleck and Damon have both worked on films about crime in Boston before—Affleck in the The Town, and Damon in The Departed, in which Jack Nicholson’s character was partly based on Whitey Bulger.
In the Matt-and-Ben version of Whitey Bulger’s story, Damon will play Whitey Bulger, and Affleck will direct. Casey Affleck will also be in the film, and Terence Winter of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire is writing the script. Affleck and Damon’s company, Pearl Street Films, is producing the film for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Street Soldier, produced by Peter Facinelli
Yes, Carlisle Cullen from Twilight also has his hat in the ring. When Whitey Bulger was arrested in 2011, Facinelli was supposedly already nine months deep in the film adaptation of the memoir Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob by Edward Mackenzie Jr. and Phyllis Karas.
Not much news has surfaced since the announcement of the film a year and a half ago, but of all three films in the works, we’re probably least excited about what this Twilight and Nurse Jackie star has in store. Unless of course, he casts Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Whitey and Catherine Greig. Then we’ll just be downright appalled.
Street Soldier was announced in June 2011 to be produced by Facinelli Films and Brookstreet Pictures.