Johnny Depp steps into new role: Boston mobster, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger

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Hollywood actor Johnny Depp — former Mad Hatter star of “Alice in Wonderland” and eccentric Capt. Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” — has a new role: The balding “Black Mass” main character of Boston mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger.

The 50-year-old started shooting this week in Boston for the movie that will tell the life story of Bulger, who was imprisoned on two life sentences plus five years last year for drug trafficking, racketeering, extortion and money laundering.

“The reason to play him is obvious to me,” Mr. Depp said, in a previous interview reported by the Daily Mail. “He’s a fascinating character. It’s not like anything I’ve done before, on that level. I’m very executed to slide into that skin for a little bit.”

Meanwhile, the movie’s director, Scott Cooper, said he wants to “get to the root of the psychology and behavior” of Bulger and thought Mr. Depp, one of the nation’s best character actors, was the right fit, he said, the Daily Mail reported.

“I only want to work with actors [who] have a strong point of view and who want to race to set,” Mr. Cooper said, the Daily Mail reported. “And Johnny is that type of actor. He’s always pushing himself and always playing something different. He’s one of the best actors in American screen history. Our hope is to really craft a full-bodied portrait in ways that you haven’t seen.”

** FILE ** This file June 23, 2011, booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)

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** FILE ** This file June 23, 2011, booking photo provided by ... more >

The movie’s based on the book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.”

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