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Johnny Depp starts work as ‘Whitey’

Actor Johnny Depp attended a promotional event in China for his movie "Transcendence" in March.REUTERS

The first images of Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger surfaced online Wednesday, and the actor looks remarkably like the bald-headed mob boss. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is playing Bulger in “Black Mass,” based on the book of the same name by former Globies Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. The movie is being directed by Scott Cooper. Word is the movie, which will be filming in Boston for several months, will in part focus on the relationship between Bulger and his law-abiding brother, Billy, the former president of the Massachusetts senate who later became president of UMass. Billy Bulger is being played by Aussie actor Guy Pearce. (Although the book “Black Mass” does delve into the relationship between the brothers, it came out before the revelation — first reported by the Globe — that Billy had spoken to his fugitive brother on the phone in 1995.) Depp, of course, is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but it’s been some time since any of his movies were successful at the box office. His recent films include “The Tourist,” “The Rum Diary,” “Dark Shadows,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Transcendence.” Local actors continue to share casting news for the film online. William Ambrose Kennedy, who had small roles in “Clear History” and “The Heat,” reported via Twitter on Wednesday that he’ll be in “Black Mass” playing former FBI Director William Sessions.

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Mark Shanahan can be reached at shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.