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Johnny Depp has officially agreed to star in Black Mass, the Whitey Bulger project that he once left, reportedly over a contract dispute. At one point, it was supposed to be directed by Barry Levinson, but now Scott Cooper is in the director’s seat. Tom Hardy may also take a role.
The Lone Ranger star had been involved with Black Mass since February 2013, but he left in May when he was reportedly asked to cut his salary in half by the indie film’s producers. However, last month, Depp was back in talks as Out of the Furnace director Cooper came into the picture to take Levinson’s place.
Deadline just reported today that Depp has officially signed on. It still doesn’t have a North American distributor, but Exclusive Media is handling sales for some territories at the European Film Market in Berlin this week. Production is now set for May.
The project is a Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive co-production. It is based on Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe writers Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Mark Mallouk penned the script.
Despite cementing Depp’s role, the producers still have one big change. Great Gatsby star Joel Edgerton, who had been attached to play Bulger’s FBI friend John Connolly, must have dropped out. Hardy is now in talks to replace him.