Kevin Weeks, the driver and muscle for Whitey Bulger (portrayed by Jesse Plemons in the movie) gave an extensive interview with The Daily Beast this weekend, taking issue with how the Winter Hill Gang was depicted in Black Mass. What’s most interesting about the interview is that Weeks seems to be upset that the movie underplayed the violence and overplayed their sympathetic qualities. In fact, he admits to all the murders in the film. He’s also pissed that they were portrayed as homelier than they actually are.
It’s a great interview, and if you’re interested in the the real story behind Black Mass, it deserves to be read in its entirety. Here, however, are a few of the highlights from Weeks’ interview:
— “My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron. I look like I have Down syndrome … We come across looking like a step away from Down syndrome, really. We’re portrayed as these low-life thugs that are borderline morons who haven’t washed for weeks. For all the money we were makin’, we came off like paupers. We dressed a certain way during the day, but at night we were wearing $2,700 Louis suits.”
OK, but come on: You should be happy to be played by Landry/Todd, right?
— He was upset because Whitey Bulger never swore at his associates, as depicted in the film. In fact, if he’d swore at Stevie Flemmi, Flemmi might have killed him because Flemmi was a psychopath.
— To that point, Stevie was not a sympathetic character, as depicted in the film. For example, while the scene in which Bulger strangled Stevie’s prostitute girlfriend is true, she didn’t die from it. Stevie put her head on his chest, strangled her again, and finished the job.
— Moreover, Bulger was murderous even before his son died, and he wasn’t even that much of a loving father. He’d told Weeks that kids got in the way in their line of business. (His son also died earlier than suggested in the film).
— The only thing that Depp got right about Bulger, Weeks said, was his hairline.
— The movie got the relationship between the Winter Hill Gang and the FBI all wrong. Weeks, et. al, knew about the arrangement, and Bulger was never an informant for the FBI. The FBI were informants for Bulger.
We considered Connolly a criminal, too. He was our informant, and that’s how it was portrayed to all of us—that we were paying for his information … Jimmy used to tell me, ‘I can call any one of six FBI agents and they’ll come to me and jump in this car with a machine gun and go on a hit.’ One FBI agent actually gave us 17 kilos of C-4 which we were going to use to blow up a reporter, Howie Carr.”
— According to Weeks, it wasn’t just the FBI, however. Bulger had the Boston Police, the Quincy Police, and even a guy in the DEA in his pocket.
— As for Whitey’s real relationship with his brother, Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), who was Massachusetts Speaker of the House, the movie seems to mostly get that right.
OK, I was up at Billy Bulger’s house over 100 times with Jimmy. He never discussed any street business or crime with Billy. It was always conversations about regular family stuff. There’s no doubt in my mind that Billy knew Jimmy was involved in the rackets, but as far as the murders, if Billy did hear something about that I bet he’d choose not to believe it, because he’s a very religious man.
— Finally, Flemmi was involved with the FBI long before the events depicted in the film. He was “important” to the FBI dating back to the 1967 murder of John Fitzgerald (a case with which I was very briefly involved as a law student).
It’s a fascinating, if not morbid, interview, and it’s worth reading in its entirety over on The Daily Beast.