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Hollywood battle over Whitey Bulger story

Jack Nicholson's character in The Departed was based on the Boston mobster

After his Best Director win at last week's Baftas, all eyes are on what Ben Affleck's next project will be.

And the answer is probably his long-mooted take on the Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, with a script from Boardwalk Empire's Terence Winter and old friend Matt Damon in the lead role.

Affleck isn't alone, however, in his desire to tackle Bulger. Martin Scorsese based Jack Nicholson's character in 2006's The Departed on the mobster, who at that time was still on the run and on the FBI's most-wanted list – and there are three other takes on his life rumoured to be in the works.

Peter Facinelli, late of the Twilight movies, has announced that he will produce an adaptation of the true-crime memoir Street Soldier: My Life As An Enforcer for Whitey Bulger, while Mark Wahlberg was reported to be keen enough to consider meeting the former mob boss in jail for a possible adaptation of a book called Rat Bastards.

Both those proposals were, however, overshadowed this month with the news that Johnny Depp will take the lead in Barry Levinson's Black Mass, an adaptation of a bestselling book about Bulger.