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Johnny Depp Back In Talks For Whitey Bulger Biopic With Crazy Heart's Scott Cooper Directing

In less than 24 hours, Johnny Depp went from "rumored to have met with Marvel about Doctor Strange" to "had an uneventful meeting with Marvel in the past," so we’re handling this new development with gloves. Black Mass, the crime drama about former FBI Most Wanted criminal Whitey Bulger, has officially found itself a director now that Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper has entered negotiations to get this project up and running. What's more, Depp reportedly once again in talks to play the crime boss at the center of the story. It would be a great time for someone to discover Bulger used a pair of scissorhands on some of his victims.

Depp joined the film almost a full year ago when Barry Levinson was attached to helm, but the actor exited the indie production because Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media thought it was ridiculous that the star wanted $23 million to play the part. Deadline doesn’t make it clear is possibly backing down in this matter, but it’s worth noting that Cooper will also be rewriting the screenplay that was originally penned by Mark Mallouk. Perhaps Cooper is budget-minded enough to keep his version costing $23 million less than the first.

The film will be based on the 2001 bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob from authors Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. It will follow the duplicitous life Bulger led as both a murderous gang leader and a rival-crushing FBI informant, which led to 12 years on the run as one of the country’s most notorious fugitives. Joel Edgerton has already signed on to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood friend of Bulger’s who convinced him to assist authorities in taking down certain members of the Italian mob. The project has been a long time coming, but it only makes sense for it to have been made in the years following the 81-year-old Bulger’s arrest and conviction in 2011. No twist endings on this one.

It’s only been about a month since Cooper’s slow burning crime drama Out of the Furnace hit theaters here in the States, but the movie didn't do so well when critics got to it. His previous film was the country music drama Crazy Heart, so it’s likely he’ll be more drawing from the inspirations that guided his second film while telling Bulger’s story.

Depp, meanwhile, is looking to have one of the most interesting years of his career, starring in a crime thriller (London Fields), a hard sci-fi drama (Transcendance), a fairytale fantasy (Into The Woods) and a mystery comedy (Mortdecai) - and most importantly none of them are sequels or umpteenth adaptations of previously existing material. We’ll have to wait and see if he makes this role official, or if he goes on the run for another few months.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.