Johnny Depp pulls out of Whitey Bulger biopic

It appears Johnny Depp won’t be playing Whitey Bulger on the big screen after all. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor has backed out of “Black Mass’’ in a dispute over money. The producers of the Bulger biopic apparently asked Depp (inset) to take half of his usual $20 million fee and he reportedly refused. So that’s that. Producers are hoping to find another actor to play the notorious gangster, but it’s possible Depp’s departure could affect the involvement of Joel Edgerton, who recently signed on to play corrupt FBI agent John Connolly. The movie, which director Barry Levinson was set to begin filming this summer, is based on “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,’’ the book by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Depp’s decision to drop out could be good news for Ben Affleck, who’s also planning to make a movie about the former Boston mob boss. Affleck has said there’s a script in the works by Terry Winter, of “Boardwalk Empire’’ fame, and Matt Damon is on board to play Whitey and Ben’s brother, Casey Affleck, would play Whitey’s brother Billy Bulger. “It’s one of those things: If you do Whitey, you better make damn sure you execute and make a good movie,’’ Affleck told us last fall.