Rain Man director Barry Levinson will helm the movie, Black Mass, which chronicles the life of James 'Whitey' Bulger, who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List for almost two decades.
It will be based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neill.
Bulger, who was reportedly the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's ruthless crime boss character in The Departed, was the brother of Massachusetts state senator William M Bulger and one of the most famous criminals in American history.
Brian Oliver, president of production firm Cross Creek, says: "I could not be more thrilled to have the biggest star in the world (Depp) and Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson to finally bring this incredible story to the big screen.
"Black Mass expertly details the twists and turns of this highly complex story, painting a vivid portrait of Boston's underbelly and its corrupt political machine, as well as exposing the worst scandal in FBI history."
Black Mass isn't the only film about Bulger's life story in development - Matt Damon is also set to star as the crime lord in a new project directed by his pal Ben Affleck, while Twilight actor Peter Facinelli has secured the rights to adapt Edward MacKenzie and Phyllis Karas’ book Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob for another rival movie.