Johnny Depp set to star as Whitey Bulger in ‘Black Mass’

Johnny Depp may have just found his post-“Lone Ranger” film.  The 49-year-old global superstar hasn’t gone in front of the cameras since “Ranger” wrapped last year.  Now, Depp is expected to star in Barry Levinson’s new drama “Black Mass” as notorious mobster Whitey Bulger.

Adapted from the 2001 non-fiction book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” screenwriter Mark Mallouk completely rewrote the script after Bulger was captured in Santa Monica, CA in June 2011.  In a press release about the project released today, producer Brian Oliver reveals that “Black Mass expertly details the twists and turns of this highly complex story, painting a vivid portrait of Boston’s underbelly and its corrupt political machine, as well as exposing the worst scandal in FBI history.  It’s also an examination of loyalty to family, Irish heritage, and South Boston.”

The only other project Depp is committed to at this point is “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” which Disney wants in theaters by Summer 2015.  “The Lone Ranger” is one of Disney’s major tentpoles this summer opening nationwide on July 3.

Levinson, who won a best director Oscar for “Rain Man,” has been looking for a project since the low-budget Sci-Fi/horror movie “The Bay” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. He’s also spent a lot of time creating new projects for the small screen. In 2010 he directed the HBO movie “You Don’t Know Jack” and is an executive producer on both BBC’s “Copper” and Showtime’s “The Borgias.”

Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media are financing “Black Mass” and expect to begin shooting this May.