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Johnny Depp Returns to Whitey Bulger Biopic with Warner Bros. on Board

Warner Bros. will co-finance and release “Black Mass” with Johnny Depp back on board as ruthless Boston mobster Whitey Bulger.

Depp had departed “Black Mass” over money last May. His attachment to the project made it one of the most prominent titles for sale last year at Berlin and Cannes. His departure also underlined the uncertainties in the world of independent financing these days.

Producers on board for “Black Mass” are Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, John Lesher through his LeGrisbi banner and Depp’s producing partner Christi Dembrowski at Infinitum Nihil. Exclusive Media, which has been going through a restructuring, is no longer involved.

“Out of the Furnace” director Scott Cooper is on board to direct.

Oliver said last year that he had been trying to make the Bulger movie since 2004.

The project is based on the book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” written by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Mark Mallouk has written the script.

Bulger, the head of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, was captured in Santa Monica in 2011 after being on the lam for 16 years. Bulger fled authorities in Boston just before he was indicted in 1995 for federal racketeering. He was found guilty last year on 31 counts, covering 11 murders, and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for his crimes.

Joel Edgerton remains attached to play disgraced FBI agent John Connolly, who aided Bulger and was sentenced to 40 years in prison despite maintaining his innocence.

Courtenay Valenti will oversee the project for Warner Bros. Adam Kassan will oversee for Cross Creek.

Depp recently shot “Mortdecai,” based on the three-part series of books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, for Lionsgate. He is repped by UTA. Edgerton is repped by CAA and Shanahan Management.

News of Warner Bros. involvement was first reported by Deadline.com.

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