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Johnny Depp‘s portrayal of reputed Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger is as fabricated as his performances as Jack Sparrow and the Mad Hatter, Bulger’s defense attorney Hank Brennan tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Depp stars in the thriller Black Mass, which opened Friday and is based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.
Brennan saw the movie opening night, he said. Concerning the accuracy of events, in his opinion, all Brennan said was, “It got some of the names right.”
Brennan contends that the book is “pure fantasy.” According to Brennan, both Depp and Black Mass director Scott Cooper knew this, which is why both men were so set on meeting the 86-year-old, who is currently serving two life sentences in a Florida prison.
“They couldn’t get the facts straight, so they tried to get the character straight,” he says. “They were so desperate to meet him so they could legitimize their movie.”
But meeting Bulger, the attorney insists, was never an option: Bulger wants nothing to do with the film.
Calling Depp’s interpretation of Bulger a “joke,” Brennan said the previously Oscar-nominated star got it all wrong. “[Bulger] doesn’t act like that; he doesn’t talk like that, in that whisper voice that sounds like Gollum,” Brennan said.
Bulger has no comment on the movie or Depp and is not granting interviews to the media at this time, Brennan said.
Depp recently said during an interview that he did make an attempt to meet Bulger.
“When you play a character that exists or existed, there’s a stronger responsibility that you have,” Depp said. “You owe that person and then you owe the family, you owe history, you owe the victims, the victims’ families. So, I made a request to meet with Mr. Bulger and since he was not particularly a great fan of the book … and many of the other books written about him, I got a beautiful response through his attorney that said ‘Mr. Bulger respectfully declines.'”
Neither Depp nor Cooper could be reached for comment.