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OTRC: Johnny Depp to play gangster Whitey Bulger in 'Black Mass' - report

Johnny Depp talks about 'The Lone Ranger' at Disney CinemaCon on April 24, 2012.

Is Johnny Depp gearing up to channel a crime boss for a role in an upcoming film?

Depp, 49, is set to play the role of notorious gangster Whitey Bulger in Barry Levinson's upcoming film, "Black Mass," according to a report released by Deadline on February 7.

Bulger was a former organized crime figure from Boston, Massachusettes. The thief was a ruthless mob kingpin, who was the basis for characters like the one that Jack Nicholson played in the Martin Scorsese-directed film "The Departed," and also the one that Pete Postlethwaite played in the Ben Affleck-directed film, "The Town."

The title, "Black Mass," comes from the 2001 Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neill New York Times bestseller "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob," according to the website. The script was penned by Mark Mallouk.

The film, which still doesn't have a tentative release date, is a co-production between Cross Creek and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East's Exclusive Media. Universal Pictures is aboard to release the film in the U.S. through Cross Creek's distribution deal with the studio, and production is to begin in May.

Johnny Depp recently starred in "Dark Shadows" and "The Rum Diary," and is also set to star in "The Lone Ranger" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 5."

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