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‘Black Mass’ appeal

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
June 25, 2011

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The race is on to get another Whitey Bulger story on the big screen, and you’d have to think Brian Oliver has the leg up in Hollywood. Oliver’s Cross Creek Pictures long ago optioned “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,’’ by former Globies Dick Lehr and Gerry O’Neill, and he’s hoping to begin filming here in the fall. Then again, we’ve heard that before. Two years ago, Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan (“In the Name of the Father,’’ “My Left Foot’’) was on board to direct and he even scouted locations in South Boston. (His itinerary included stops at the Mary Ellen McCormack and Old Colony housing projects, Castle Island, the South Boston Liquor Mart, Thomas Park, Murphy’s Law, the former Triple O’s bar on West Broadway, the mob burial ground near Florian Hall, and the old Mafia headquarters at 98 Prince St. in the North End.) We’re told Sheridan is no longer in the picture, but Oliver has become a big player in Tinseltown — he financed “Black Swan’’ and the new George Clooney political drama “The Ides Of March’’ — and several A-list directors are apparently interested in the project. Screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, whose credits include Spike Lee’s “Inside Man,’’ recently finished the script, so we may seen Whitey on the screen sooner rather than later.