Films

15 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Departed

Miraculously, the first film to nab Martin Scorsese a much-deserved directing Oscar, his brutal crime saga The Departed was a tough and hugely rewarding thriller. Stellar performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and an Oscar-nominated turn from Mark Wahlberg, along with some jaw-dropping moments turned the film into a hit with both critics and audiences.

It's already been eight years since the release and we've assembled 15 things you might not know about the film, unless of course you're Martin Scorsese.

(Images: Rex Features, All Star)

  • 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Departed

    1.

    The Departed has the most amount of F-words ever used in a Best Picture Oscar winner.

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    2.

    Martin Scorsese revealed that Jack Nicholson pulled a real gun on Leonardo DiCaprio while filming a key scene. "He didn't tell me he had a gun," Scorsese later said. "It was great . . . we took a lot out, but Leo's reaction is real-time. I still get chills when Nicholson says, 'I smell a rat.' It's so real to me."

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    4.

    Leonardo DiCaprio was originally set to play the lead in The Good Shepherd for Robert De Niro but pulled out for The Departed. De Niro then approached Matt Damon because he finished filming earlier and he took on the role.

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    4.

    Jack Nicholson had the idea of basing his character on James "Whitey" Bulger, the Irish-American gangster from Boston. Next year sees a film called Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as Bulger.

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    4.

    The film was originally planned with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the lead roles.

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    6.

    Despite a character-killing bloodbath of an ending, talk has circulated of a sequel ever since. Mark Wahlberg claimed in 2007 that he would return alongside Robert De Niro, who would play a corrupt state politician. 

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    7.

    Ray Winstone, who played Frenchy in the film, confessed that he wasn't the best of friends with Jack Nicholson during the shoot. “Me and Jack did not seem to get on too well," he revealed. "Maybe he was going through a funny time. Everyone else loves him to death - I just wanted him to be a great guy. We just did not click.”

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    8.

    As a lifelong New York Yankees fan, Jack Nicholson refused to wear a Boston Red Sox hat. "I couldn’t go that far," he said. "I stepped outside my job category for that."

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    9.

    Robert De Niro was originally set to play Frank Costello but his work on The Good Shepherd meant he had to pull out. Jack Nicholson went on to score an Oscar nomination for the role.

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    10.

    Mark Wahlberg revealed that there was tension between him and Scorsese on set. Wahlberg was only supposed to be working on the film for two weeks but it turned into four months.  "I had problems with Marty," Wahlberg confessed.  "He was pushing me in different ways."

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    11.

    RZA was offered the role played by Anthony Anderson but had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict while Tyler Perry publicly expressed his interest in being involved.

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    12.

    The character played by Vera Farmiga was actually a combination of two characters from the original Infernal Affairs. Scorses has originally wanted a more known actress for the role and considered casting Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank or Emily Blunt.

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    13.

    Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese's right-hand woman, revealed that it wasn't an easy process and it was a surprising storyline that saved the day."We had to struggle with that movie," the Oscar winner shared. "We had a lot of writing problems and structural problems, but that happens on a lot of films and that's part of your job. Restructuring it helped. We pulled up the love affair."

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    14.

    Scorsese decided not to watch the original film Infernal Affairs until after he'd completed making The Departed.

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    15.

    While the film is about as Boston as they come, it was mainly shot in New York. Scorsese had hoped to film it in Boston but he wanted to take advantage of the 15% tax credit and avoid any political issues. There was still a smaller six week shoot in Boston but Brooklyn was the main location.

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