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Whitey Bulger movie gets private Massachusetts screening

Johnny Depp plays infamous crime leader Whitey Bulger in "Black Mass."

Warner Bros.

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- A movie about Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger is getting its first screening in Massachusetts on Tuesday night.

Johnny Depp, who plays Bulger, and other cast members are expected to attend the private screening of "Black Mass" at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline.

The movie is based on a book of the same name by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. It chronicles Bulger's rise to become the city's most feared gangster, ruling its underworld from the 1970s into the 1990s while working with the FBI as an informant on the New England Mafia, his gang's main rival.

Bulger fled Boston in 1994 after being tipped off by his FBI handler that he was about to be indicted. He lived as fugitive for more than 16 years before he was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.

Bulger, 86, was convicted in 2013 of playing a role in 11 killings and multiple other crimes. He is serving a life sentence in federal prison.

While Whitey Bulger rose to become one of the city's most powerful criminals, his brother, William, became one of the state's most powerful politicians, serving as president of the state Senate from 1978 until 1996.

William Bulger, who's played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film, told the Boston Herald that he's not much of a moviegoer but will likely see "Black Mass" eventually. He said he hasn't seen the trailers or read the book and doesn't know too much about the movie's stars.

William Bulger, who has not said much publicly about his brother, says he and Whitey are in touch.

"Black Mass" made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last week.

The movie is scheduled for general release Friday.