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Jim Sheridan Developing Project About FBI Informant Whitey Bulger

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January 14, 2009

Black Mass / Jim Sheridan

After tackling rough Irish-themed true-life subjects in In the Name of the Father and The Boxer, writer, director and producer Jim Sheridan will next focus on the notorious Boston mobster and FBI informant Whitey Bulger. Sheridan is adapting a novel called "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob", written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. The film will focus on Bulger who built up the Winter Hill Gang into a mob that did everything from sell drugs to procure guns for the Irish Republican Army out of Boston.

Apparently Bulger was raised by John Connolly, a childhood pal who became an FBI agent. Bulger then disappeared 14 years ago, causing a huge law enforcement scandal. "This is a story of a corrupt system and about how an angry guy became the second most wanted man after Bin Laden," Sheridan told Variety. Black Mass was first optioned by Miramax for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck but didn't go anywhere. Then producer Brian Oliver picked it up again in 2006 but couldn't get it made because The Departed, which was much too similar, became a hit itself. Sheridan is writing the script with his partner Nye Heron.

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  • Tyler
    I love Jim Sheridan's films, but Jack Nicholson plays Whitey Bulgur(Frank Costello) in the Departed and did it very well. I enjoy the subject matter very much though, so I am looking forward to this.
  • adrian
    Costello was based on Buldger not actually buldger, but still ... why do a movie on him now? Isn't William Monoghan writing another Boston crime movie with Brad Grey or something? Is Boston the New New York?
  • dan
    this is interesting subject matter. looking forward to it.
  • It's funny how certain projects never see the light of day due to inconvenient timing. I hope this gets a chance...with the right cast it could be phenomenal (I wonder if there's anyone other than Damn and Affleck who are interested in a South Boston story for once).
  • Brendan
    There is a mistake in the article above. Bulger was not raised by Connolly. The were from the same area in Southie growing up. Bulger had parents who raised him and is also older than Connolly. The "Departed" was a good movie, but not a documentary about Bulger. Its a similar story to his life but a little to "Hollywood" compared to Winter Hill and associates. I've read Black Mass and liked it. Its one of the more factual books about Mr. Bulger. Hopefully they can covert it to a movie format without cutting it up to much.
  • lenny
    This is great,Sheridans class,why tell this ?because the Departed was mostly fiction and this is real,not only that but the story is still evolving and what happened to Whitey?I hope though it does'nt glorify this scumbag.
  • Timothy
    Why would Sheridan do a movie about Whitey, rather than Pat Nee, a self-confessed gangster, who was Irish born, and helped the IRA? Nee's life is replete with significantly more dramatic incidents, Viet Nam combat, his brother's death and Nee's vengence, IRA gunrunning, as well as a war with Whitey. Further, Nee did time for running the largest shipment of weapons (that where captured) to the IRA. Whitey was a sociopath with no passion for Irish freedom. Nee was a US Marine in Nam, a supporter of the IRA and their cause. Who deserves a movie? Sheriden is reading the wrong books.
  • First of all, Jack Nicholson did not play Whitey. F Costello was very loosely based on Whitey as they were both leaders of a gang that controlled organised criminal activity in South Boston. As Pat Nee said himself "...he (Frank Costello) is nothing like Whitey" Secondly, The Departed sure was fiction, but the only way it seemed plausible that a mob leader (Frank Costello) from S Boston could be contrived as a rat was because Whitey was a rat. People from S Boston would never have believed that a gang boss from S Boston could be a rat! Thirdly, @Timothy, Pat Nee said in his autobiography that Whitey loved helping the IRA as it gave him a "cause" well, other than shake-downs and murdering young women. Whitey was in the Air Force too btw. Whitey is still on the run which adds which makes it way more attractive to watch...and when you do go to the cinema to watch the film, take a look around for an elderly gentleman with an elderly blonde lady.... who knows heh!?

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