Depp, 52, is best known for movies, like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lone Ranger,” where he plays cartoonish, larger-than-life characters.
But in “Black Mass,” he’s the personification of Bulger, a sinister sociopath and murderer. The film co-stars Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Sienna Miller and Dakota Johnson.
Bulger managed to evade prosecution for decades, in part, because of political and law enforcement connections.
His brother, William “Billy” Bulger, was president of the Massachusetts State Senate. Whitey also served for most of his criminal career as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant.
The Feds were more interested in busting up the Boston Mafia, then led by notorious crime boss Raymond Patriarca. So they turned a blind-eye to Bulger’s Irish-American Winter Hill Gang in exchange for information.
In the mid-90s, Bulger’s connection to the FBI and political corruption were exposed in the media. He was forced to go on the lam in 1994, after his FBI handler tipped him about his imminent indictment.
For a time he was listed second on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List behind Osama bin Laden.
He remained at large until 2011. Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif. and ultimately convicted for complicity in 11 murders, plus racketeering and other charges. At 85, he’s currently serving consecutive life sentences in a federal pen.
Depp hasn’t had a role this meaty since he starred in 1997 crime film “Donnie Brasco.” He played an FBI agent who infiltrates a New York Mafia crime ring.
In the clip, Depp transforms again. He’s balding and steely with an authentic-sounding Boston-Irish brogue. He’s shown mercilessly assassinating criminal rivals.
“Black Mass” will be released Sept 18 and screen out-of-competition at the Venice International Film Festival.
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