JIm SheridanMichael Gibson

The twisted saga of Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish mob has already inspired numerous movies and TV shows. For example, "The Departed," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, featured an aging, Bulger-esque mob boss as well as FBI agents who spent their down time working for gangsters.

Then there is Showtime’s excellent series "Brotherhood," about two New England Irish brothers, one a politician and the other a criminal.

As chance would have it, Whitey Bulger’s brother, Billy, was a leader in the Massachusetts state legislature. So, having danced around the Bulger saga, Irish director Jim Sheridan ("In the Name of the Father," "In America") is now tackling the story directly. Sheridan will direct, and co-write the screenplay for a movie based on the book Black Mass, which is the definitive account of Bulger’s rise and fall, and the ways it was hard to tell the cops from the crooks in Boston.

Filming is expected to begin later in 2009. No word on casting decisions just yet.

Black Mass (written by Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr) explores the rise of Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang (which ran drugs and, on one memorable occasion, guns for the Irish Republican Army) and how the criminal life lured in even FBI agents such as John Connolly, who grew up with Bulger. Bulger remains on the run and on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

“This is a story of a corrupt system and about how an angry guy became the second most-wanted man after Bin Laden,” Sheridan told “Daily Variety.”