Matt Damon to play James 'Whitey' Bulger
Published 25/10/2011 | 07:45
Matt Damon is to star as notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger in a Hollywood blockbuster directed by his friend Ben Affleck.
The actor confirmed he is set to play the alleged killer who was recently arrested by the FBI after almost two decades on the run.
He will team up with Ben Affleck for the first time since they won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for "Good Will Hunting."
Damon told GQ magazine: "We're doing a Whitey Bulger movie."
"There are a couple of competing movies and I don't think it's been announced yet that we're doing it.
"But the sooner it's announced the better, just because everyone else will back off, hopefully. I'm really excited about it."
Bulger was the leader of South Boston's Winter Hill Gang. He was the basis for Frank Costello in the film The Departed, which also starred Damon.
He was wanted for 19 murders and has been on the FBI's most wanted list for 16 years.
Bulger, 82, was arrested in Santa Monica, California, in June with his long-term girlfriend Catherine Greig.
A neighbour, former Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdottir tipped off the FBI after recognising the couple and received a $2m reward.
The arrest came after the FBI took out adverts on TV and in medical journals asking plastic surgeons to be on the lookout for the couple.
Greig was known to frequent tanning salons and had undergone several cosmetic procedures.
During his 16 years on the run Bulger used 15 aliases and was able to elude police by living a quiet life and rarely venturing out.
When police raided their home they found more than $100,00 in cash as well as several weapons.
Damon and Affleck have remained close friends since their breakout success with 1997's Good Will Hunting.
Affleck scored critical success with his last film "The Town" which was set in the Boston area.
Damon became an international star on the strength of the Jason Bourne series of films.
Production on the Whitey Bulger film is expected to start next year.
Two other films about the gangster are in production.
One is being made by "The Departed" producer Graham King and the other is based on a book by one of Bulger's mob enforcers