Johnny Depp has begun his promotional tour for his new science fiction thriller Transcendance, which opens on April 18. However, journalists appear to be more concerned with another of the actor's upcoming projects, Black Mass - in which he plays convicted mobster Whitey Bulger.

Johnny DeppJohnny Depp Plays An Artificial Intelligence Researcher in 'Transcendence'

"I don't think of him as Whitey - it's James 'Whitey' Bulger," Depp said at the Four Seasons Hotel during a press day for Transcendence

"The reason to play it is obvious to me," said the three-time Oscar nominee.  "He's a fascinating character. I don't think it's like anything I've done before and I'm very excited to slide into that skin for a little bit."

The movie boasts a stellar cast and crew, with Out of the Furnace writer-director Scott Cooper behind the camera, The Great Gatsby's Joel Edgerton playing the disgraced and imprisoned FBI agent John Connolly, Australian Guy Pearce playing Bulger's brother Billy and Dakota Johnson playing Lindsey Cyr, the mother of Bulger's only child. The movie is based on the New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of the Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neill.

Boston natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are said to be developing a 'rival' project, which they have been working on for years. 

Bulger's story was believed to be the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winner The Departed, with Jack Nicholson in the Bulger role and Matt Damon playing an informant. 

In Transcendence, Depp plays Dr Will Caster, an artificial intelligence researcher who strikes to create a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. Directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister, it co-stars Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany.

More: Whitey Bulger sentenced to two life sentences

More: Dakota Johnson joins already awesome cast of 'Black Mass'.

Watch the Transcendence trailer: