Monday, February 4, 2013
EFM: Johnny Depp Tops Berlin Slate
And in more Berlinale news, Johnny Depp is confirmed to star in Cross Creek's crime thriller "Black Mass," as Boston’s most notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger. Sales for the film will begin at the European Film Market.
The film will be to co-produced and co-financed with Exclusive Media, and directed by Barry Levinson. "Black Mass" will be released by Universal Pictures in the U.S. through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio. The film is scheduled for a May 2013 start date.
The film will beproduced by Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, Nigel Sinclair, Tobin Armbrust, John Lesher, and Christi Dembrowski. Cross Creek Pictures Sr. VP of Production Adam Kassan, will oversee production for the company. Alex Walton, Exclusive Media’s President of International Sales and Distribution, will introduce the film to overseas buyers at the market.
Cross Creek recently purchased the New York Times bestselling book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob," written by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill and published in 2001 by Harper Collins.
O'Neill is a Pulitzer, Hancock and Loeb prizes winner and Lehr, a Pulitzer finalist, has also won the Hancock and Loeb awards. Writer Mark Mallouk wrote a completely new screenplay adaptation of the book, following the June 2011 capture of Bulger, who had been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for more than a decade.
"Black Mass" tells the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. However, after the Feds closed in on their targets, they double crossed Bulger and ultimately prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him.
The deal was negotiated by Tracey Jacobs, Jake Bloom and Micheal Schenkman for Depp and Jeremy Zimmer and Barry Hirsch for Levinson as well as Eric Greenfeld on behalf of Cross Creek and Exclusive Media.