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Johnny Depp 'spectacular' as gangster

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Johnny Depp 'spectacular' as gangster

Johnny Depp has been praised for his "spectacular" performance as James 'Whitey' Bulger in Black Mass by one of the gangster's former associates.

The 52-year-old actor is already garnering Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the notorious criminal, who is currently serving two consecutive life terms plus five years in prison for crimes including murder.

Eric Schneider is one of the Bulger's former cohorts and was amazed by how well Depp captured him on screen.

"No one could really play Whitey, but Johnny Depp did a spectacular job, and captured a lot of his mannerisms," he told People magazine. "In particular, Whitey was this guy who could be jovial and laughing with you one second, and then, like flipping a switch, he'd lose it. You might say one word, not knowing it was wrong, and it would just set him off."

Schneider has been in the witness protection program for two decades and wasn't prepared for how much he would be affected by the film. It took a couple of false starts before he was able to get through it.

"The first time I went, I didn't last ten minutes," he said. "I wasn't prepared for it, and I broke down. The second time, I got through the first hour – to where I started getting involved with him. It was too much. The third time I went, I watched the entire movie."

Black Mass follows Bulger's life, taking in his rise to the top of the criminal underworld in Boston. He managed to evade capture by going on the run, but was eventually found living in Santa Monica, California, 16 years later, having been on the Most Wanted list for 12 years.

Schneider became involved with Bulger in Boston when he was in his early 20s, but refused to talk to police about him when he was arrest for armed robbery. Although he knew the gangster many years ago, he can still vividly recall what he was like.

"Johnny did a pretty damn good job capturing this man and what he was capable of," he said, claiming Bulger's eye color altered when he was angry.

"Physically, Whitey's appearance would sort of change, too. He'd become this monster, and Johnny was able to convey that."

- Cover Media