Hot on the heels of the news that he will play the lead role and help produce a biopic of notorious Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger, Oscar winner Matt Damon has gone on the record about the project. The untitled film will reunite him with fellow Bostonian and Oscar winner Ben Affleck, who will direct and also play a role in the movie.
In case you don’t know, James “Whitey” Bulger is the long-time South Boston crime lord and top-echelon FBI informant who spent 16 years as a fugitive on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list before being captured in Santa Monica, Ca. last June.
In an exclusive chat with GQ, Damon says the picture is set-up at Warner Bros. “There are a couple of competing movies and I don’t think it’s been announced yet that we’re doing it,” said Damon. “But the sooner it’s announced the better, just because everyone else will back off, hopefully. I’m really excited about it.”
Despite the plot outline from yesterday claiming the movie will cover Bulger’s youth until his downfall, Damon himself isn’t so sure what period of the mobster’s life he’ll end up portraying.
“If it’s a straight biopic, we’ll do it over a period of time. But it’s always a question of what part of the story do you tell, and biopics are always a little cumbersome,” said Damon. “So do we find another way in? We’re still figuring it out.”
Damon is no stranger to tackling the Bulger saga on screen, having starred in The Departed with Jack Nicholson, whose character was based on Bulger.
Damon also said that legal woes are delaying The Trade, the New York Yankees wife-swapping true story that he and Affleck were going to make, but that he still hopes it will happen. The Bulger movie, however, will go before that one.
UPDATED: Showbiz 411 learned from actor Casey Affleck that he will play Whitey’s kid brother Billy Bulger in the film. As the site reminds us, “While Whitey Bulger has been a fugitive career criminal and serial killer, brother Bill has long been a Massachusetts politician. Billy Bulger has been president of the Mass. state senate and also president of the University of Massachusetts. He has a law degree from Boston College, and fought in the Korean War. The two brothers managed to co-exist in the world as sort of a public ying and yang. Billy Bulger always maintained a public distance from his brother. But in 2003 he was forced to resign his position with UMass when it was discovered that he’d been in touch with Whitey.”