Arts & Entertainment

Scorsese’s new gangsters thrive

Jack Nicholson performing a film scene while wearing a dildo doesn’t sound like a drama. It doesn’t even sound like a thriller. Well, it might thrill some people. But believe it or not, that’s the case in Martin Scorsese’s new gangster drama/thriller, “The Departed.” Co-star Matt Damon told “The Temple News” about his interesting first… Read more »

Jack Nicholson performing a film scene while wearing a dildo doesn’t sound like a drama.

It doesn’t even sound like a thriller. Well, it might thrill some people. But believe it or not, that’s the case in Martin Scorsese’s new gangster drama/thriller, “The Departed.”

Co-star Matt Damon told “The Temple News” about his interesting first day on set with Nicholson. It all started with a phone call from Scorsese.”

Marty goes, ‘Hello Matt, it’s Marty, your director,” Damon said.

“Listen, a little thing about tomorrow, Jack is going to do the movie theater scene and Jack had an idea and I think it’s good, and it’s his process and I think we should indulge it. Jack is going to show up with a giant dildo. He’s going to show up with a giant dildo and that’s what we’re going to do. So OK?'”

“The Departed,” which stars Nicholson, Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, focuses on two rookie Boston cops (Damon and DiCaprio).

In this tale of hidden identities, Irish mob boss Frank Costello (Nicholson) has Damon go undercover in the police department, while DiCaprio is undercover in Costello’s gang for state law enforcement to help incarcerate the organized crime leader.

The moles engage in two dangerous journeys in which they constantly risk exposing
their true identities, as well as their lives.

This being his third film under Scorsese’s direction, DiCaprio has slipped into a routine with the man at the wheel.

“Does he still surprise me? Constantly, constantly,” DiCaprio said. “As we’ve done more and more films together, we have gotten a much clearer plan of attack before the film actually starts.”

DiCaprio also noted that his role as Billy Costigan was not an easy one to play, as there was more to convey than just emotion through the dialogue.

“Playing this police cadet from Boston that goes to try to expose this mob syndicate,
the challenge for me was exactly that,” DiCaprio said.

“It was not having to reveal myself to these people that are around me that constantly want to shoot me in the head, but also trying to emote that tension to the audience and get them involved in that experience.”

Damon agreed with DiCaprio’s explanation
of the characters’ complexity.

“You’re dealing with all of these characters who are not telling each other who they really are and who are dealing with certain levels of deception.”

Damon also acknowledged that playing these particular roles of deception was something
relatable for all people of the same age.

“When you’re our age and you’re making
movies about people our age, identity issues are really what people are struggling with,” Damon said. “Coming out of college asking, who am I and what am I going to do and who am I going to be – you’ve already reinvented yourself 50 times from the time you were in junior high school.”

The film is set in Boston and every character owns the classic New England brogue. For native Bostonian cast mates Damon and Mark Wahlberg, no preparation was needed.Damon noted that DiCaprio was at a “distinct disadvantage.”

Yet DiCaprio pulled it off with the approval of the crew, and without the aid of an accent coach.

“The Boston accent is the hardest one to do, and it’s been the most often screwed up by great actors who have come to Boston,”
Damon said.

To further prepare for the role of a cop, Damon was hosted by Boston police on multiple stakeouts.

“I was like, ‘Hey guys, can I get a gun?’ and they were like, ‘Shut up, no!’ I got to go on a drug raid of a crack house, listen on a wire and put on a bulletproof vest, and they didn’t give me a gun – luckily, for all of us,” Damon said.”It was just more about understanding that culture and those guys, so that I could render a faithful and believable portrait of one of them.”

Jesse North can be reached at jesse.north@temple.edu.

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