Martin Scorsese’s sprawling Boston crime epic “The Departed” boasts one of the most stacked ensembles of all time: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, and Alec Baldwin all lead this Best Picture–winning saga about a Boston cop (DiCaprio) who goes undercover to penetrate the gang underworld led by Frank Costello (Nicholson). Heading up the sting operation is Staff Sergeant Dignam, played by Mark Wahlberg, whose character gets the last laugh in the violent movie.
While this American remake of the Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” seemed a natural fit for a sequel, earning just under $290 million at the global box office after its fall 2006 opening, that plan fell through. It’s known that scribe William Monahan (who earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for the film) had an idea for a follow-up that didn’t play out. But Mark Wahlberg, in a recent interview with KFC Radio (via Esquire), gave a little more detail on what that pitch — and sequel — could’ve looked like.
When asked if the rumor was true that Martin Scorsese had agreed to direct a sequel, Wahlberg said that’s the first he’d heard of that. “They talked about that, they talked about a prequel, they talked about a sequel,” he said.
“I went into a meeting with Bill Monahan at Warner Bros. to pitch the sequel to ‘The Departed,'” Wahlberg said. “And let’s just say the pitch didn’t go very well. He really didn’t have anything fleshed out, but he’s the kind of guy you just trust to go and write something. And so when we were working on the script for ‘Cocaine Cowboys, American Desperado’ [I] said, ‘Bill, just go write. They like to have things well thought out and planned. So that pitch didn’t go well. But that’s the first time I’ve heard about it with Marty, who knows.”
He also added that he had Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro in mind for roles in the film. Alas, he said, “I gotta focus on other things. Family, kids, and ‘Uncharted,’ right?” Wahlberg is currently doing press rounds for the recent Sony release “Uncharted,” co-starring Tom Holland.
Fun fact: Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro did, in fact, co-star in a Scorsese film: the 2015 short “The Audition,” as fictionalized versions of themselves. The piece served as a promotional film for the Studio City Macau Resort and Casino.
Back in 2016, producer Roy Lee told Collider that “[Monahan] came up with an amazing idea to make it work, but it would be so expensive and Scorsese didn’t want to do a sequel.” The idea was “to bring back certain characters who died in the original movie.”