Rachel Paige
April 23, 2015 6:11 am

Over the years Johnny Depp has completely transformed himself for roles, from pirates to mad hatters to a man with scissors for hands to even an undercover police officer (that one’s 21 Jump Street, of course). Now, Depp is transforming himself into a real person, Whitey Bulger, for Black Mass  and it’s hard to tell where Depp ends and Bulger begins.

Entertainment Weekly snagged the first picture of Depp as one of the most feared men in Boston, and it is spot on. If you’re not from the New England area, you may not have heard the story of Bulger on the news a thousand times (hint: I’m from outside of Boston), but you  can think of Bulger as someone lifted straight out of The Departed IRL — he was a crime boss, the brother of a notable Massachusetts government official (Senator Billy Bulger), and he also worked with the FBI as an informant. Er, also Whitey had a number of not-awesome charges  like murder and racketeering brought against him. After being tipped off by his FBI handler that the feds were coming to arrest him in the ’90s, he completely disappeared for 16 years.  He became the FBI’s second most wanted man after Osama Bin Laden. Yes, we the people of Massachusetts made lots of jokes about Bulger sightings for 16 years, and I remember those years fondly. He was finally found in Santa Monica, CA in 2013.

Well now, Depp’s taking on the Bulger role. In order to prepare, he and director Scott Cooper watched surveillance tapes of Bulger, and examined old FBI photos (Bulger is currently serving a life sentence in Florida). It looks like all that studying paid off, because looking at Depp now, you’d swear he was Bulger.

If true-crime stories set in Boston aren’t your thing, you might want to check out Black Mass for another reason: Benedict Cumberbatch plays Billy Bulger. Now that I’ve piqued your interest, check out Black Mass when it hits theaters September 18th.

Images via Entertainment Weekly.