Shooting begins on Whitey Bulger movie

(L-R) Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger and director Scott Cooper on the set of the as-yet-untitled Whitey Bulger film, which has begun filming on location in Boston. Photo credit: Claire Folger

BOSTON (WPRI) — Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that principal photography is underway on the not-yet-titled film about Whitey Bulger, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious Boston mobster.

The movie 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, which explores the relationship between Bulger and childhood friend John Connolly. Connolly went on to work for the FBI, and in the 1970s recruited Bulger as an informant in an effort to bring down the Italian mob.

According to Warner Bros., the drama “tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.”

Connolly will be portrayed by Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty).

The film, slated for a 2015 release, is being shot on location in Boston under the direction of Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace). The remaining cast features a bevy of well-known and up-and-coming stars, including:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother, Mass. State Sen. Billy Bulger
  • Jesse Plemons as Kevin Weeks, Bulger’s longtime partner in crime
  • Sienna Miller as Bulger’s lover, Catherine Grieg
  • Adam Scott as FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick
  • Dakota Johnson as Lindsey Cyr, Bulger’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his only child
  • Rory Cochrane as Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang cohort, Steve Flemmi
  • Julianne Nicholson as John Connolly’s wife, Marianne

Guy Pierce was originally cast as Billy Bulger, but dropped out for unknown reasons and was replaced by Cumberbatch.

The film also stars David Harbour, Jeremy Strong, Brad Carter, W. Earl Brown, and Corey Stoll.

Cooper’s creative team includes Oscar-nominated editor David Rosenbloom (The Insider, Out of the Furnace), director of photography Masanobu Takayanagi (SIlver Linings Playbook, Out of the Furnace) and production designer Stefania Cella (The Great Beauty).

The movie is being produced by Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, John Lesher, Patrick McCormick and Scott Cooper, with Peter Mallouk, Lauren Selig, Brett Granstaff and Gary Granstaff serving as executive producers.

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