Warner Bros. has revealed our first look at Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in director Scott Cooper‘s Black Mass. Bulger is the notorious South Boston gangster who spent 16 years at large until he was found hiding in Santa Monica, CA in 2011. He was then convicted of 31 of 32 counts of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and weapons charges, including his complicity in 19 murders. Jack Nicholson’s character Frank Costello in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is loosely based on Bulger’s criminal career.
Cooper’s new film will bring the life and crimes of Bulger to the big screen, while also covering his being an FBI informant tasked with providing intel to bring down the Italian Mafia. As you can see, based on the header photo, Depp is playing someone who is the polar opposite of Captain Jack Sparrow or one of those Tim Burton characters. Hit the jump for more.
Here’s what Cooper told EW — the outlet also revealed the photo on their site:
“He could be charming. He could be ruthless. He was like a cobra—you never knew where he could strike.”
Apparently Depp’s look and performance scared quite a few people on set. Cooper added:
“A lot of people on set knew Whitey intimately. They got chills at the resemblance. Some of them couldn’t even look at him.”
Depp and Cooper combed over hours of footage of Bulger in order to get a better understanding of the gangster. The director said that Bulger was so brazen that he murdered someone in a parking lot “in front of numerous witnesses in broad daylight.”
This isn’t be the first time that Depp has played as a real-life person in a biopic. He played George Jacob Jung in the 2001 film Blow.
Written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, Black Mass also stars Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Sienna Miller, and Dakota Johnson. Warner Bros will release the film in theaters on September 18, 2015.