BOSTON (CBS) — The author of “Black Mass” has high praise for Johnny Depp and the movie based on his book about James “Whitey” Bulger.

Dick Lehr told WBZ NewsRadio at Tuesday night’s private screening in Brookline that the biopic about the notorious Boston gangster is “a really fine movie.”

“I feel it’s true to the soul of the book, the story, the ‘Black Mass’ that is Whitey and the FBI,” the former Boston Globe reporter said. “I think it’s an intense, authentic movie.”

Dick Lehr (R) and family attend the 'Black Mass' Boston special screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Warner Brothers)

Dick Lehr (R) and family attend the ‘Black Mass’ special screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Warner Brothers)

Depp has received rave reviews from the critics for his portrayal of Bulger, and Lehr agrees.

“The role appealed to him,” Lehr said. “I think he nailed it.”

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Co-author Gerard K. O’Neill was on the red carpet as well and also gave a glowing review.

Karin O'Neill and Gerard O'Neill attend the 'Black Mass' Boston special screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on September 15, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Warner Brothers)

Karin O’Neill and Gerard O’Neill attend the ‘Black Mass’ special screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Warner Brothers)

“I’m very happy with the end result,” O’Neill said. “I think Scott Cooper’s a great director, and the actors were first-rate.”

Lehr does note that Hollywood has taken a few creative liberties with his work.

“The Kevin Bacon character never existed, for example,” he said. “He was a composite of several agents-in-charge.”

The book “Black Mass” was published in 2000, long before Bulger was brought to trial and convicted. So why did it take 15 years to bring Bulger’s story to the big screen?

“It’s been in development forever,” Lehr said. “The capture restarted the interest again.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports: 

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