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Johnny Depp is reportedly back in play for the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass after leaving the project last year over a pay dispute. Director Barry Levinson also left and Out of the Furnace helmer Scott Cooper is in talks to replace him.
Back in May 2013, producers for the indie film were reportedly disappointed by weak sales for the project at the Cannes film market, so they were looking to cut the budget to just $60 million. Depp wanted a $20 million paycheck and the producers asked him to cut that in half. Depp’s reps reportedly refused and he left the film. Joel Edgerton had stayed on to play an FBI agent.
Now, Deadline reported this afternoon that Depp is back in talks for the project, which is being produced by Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Mark Mallouk’s script 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.
Levinson (Rain Man) had been originally set to direct the film, but he backed out. Cooper, who also directed Jeff Bridges to an Oscar win with Crazy Heart, is now in negotiations for the film, notes The Hollywood Reporter. He is available after backing out of Warner Bros.’ The Stand.
James ‘Whitey’ Bulger was a notorious Boston mobster who will spend the rest of his life in prison. Edgerton will play John Connolly, an FBI agent who was linked to Bulger.