Just weeks after star Johnny Depp was confirmed to star in Black Mass, Warner Bros. has signed on to co-finance and distribute the James 'Whitey' Bulger biopic. The studio is eyeing an October 2015 release slot.
Our report from earlier this month also revealed that Tom Hardy was in talks to co-star as FBI agent John Connolly, a childhood friend of Bulger who helped the gangster get rid of his competition. However, Joel Edgerton, who was initially attached to play Connolly when Barry Levinson was set to direct, has come back to take on the role. Oddly enough, Johnny Depp was also attached to the first incarnation of this project, although he dropped out in May, reportedly because he was holding out for more money. The actor re-entered negotiations in December.
Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) is directing from a script by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, which was adapted from Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neil. The story charts James 'Whitey' Bulger's criminal empire he built in South Boston with the help of his brother, the former President of the Massachusetts Senate, and John Connolly. After Connolly tipped Bulger off that the feds were going to double-cross him, the gangster went into hiding for more than a decade, landing at the top of the FBI's Most Wanted List before he was captured in California in 2011. The gangster served as the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's Frank Costello character in The Departed, and Pete Postlethwaite's Fergus "Fergie" Colm in The Town.
Production is scheduled to begin in eight weeks, with shooting to take place in Boston.