Cop Movies vs Gangster Films: Asked about the similarities between the two, Scorsese answered, I think there's no doubt theres similarities. The old cliché of catch a thief, see a thief. To catch someone in the underworld, to play against it, to try to get them, and make apprehensions somehow In any event, I think it was Bill [Monahans] depiction of that world that made it very clear to me in terms of for me to try again to work within a genre that dealt with gangsters - Bill's depiction of gangsters.
I felt comfortable, certainly, with the street scenes with guys in the street and guys in bars and that sort of thing, and even more comfortable with the doctor scenes. But with the police scenes, I did feel a little uncomfortable with the way that played out. I mean, Mark Wahlberg's attitude was very clear. Alec Baldwin picked up on it beautifully and counterbalanced it. It was almost like an Abbott and Costello routine between Wahlberg and Baldwin. I didn't have to say anything to them. They just did it.
Translating the Hong Kong Film into Irish Boston: I didn't think of it as Hong Kong, I just thought of it as how Bill put together the script. Really, I liked the idea. You know, Hong Kong cinema once I saw John Woo's The Killer, you can't go near that. You can't even begin, as far as my skills as a filmmaker, you can't. That's taking our films and their culture and mixing everything up together. Then I saw another Hong Kong film I saw in the '80s called King Hu. King Hu, A Touch of Zen and things like that, I saw and I said, It's a whole other thing going on here. We do what we do and if we influence their culture at all, it has come out through John Woo and Tsui Hark and now Ringo Lam. And theres so many others, Wong Kar Wai and Stanley Kwan, you have to appreciate as a filmmaker. [Through them] we see new ways of making narrative film.
Really, what it comes down to is what I was responding to was how Bill Monahan put down a way of life, a way of thinking, an attitude, a cultural look at the world, really, a very, very enclosed society, and that's what I responded to, I think. Taking from the Hong Kong trilogy, Andrew Lau's film, you know, that's the device and it's the plot that idea. The concept of the two informers and being totally, whether I like it or not, drawn to stories that have to do with trust and betrayal. I found that I kept being drawn back to the script and to the project, so, as I say, it became something else.
The Evolution of The Departed Script: It evolved, and it evolved over a long process - a very long process. Ever since I've been making film, I've loved talking about how the process has got to be the way [it is], between the writers, myself, and the actors. But I've found over the years that it gets misunderstood, maybe, and so it could be harmful to Bill or the people involved You have to be there. It's the old phrase, You really had to be there. It's a collaborative process, there's no doubt, but the basis is what Bill did and what he continued to do when it was called upon and when he was called upon to evolve a character. It was usually with the actors and myself, and that's how that worked.
Did the Frank Costello character change much once Jack Nicholson signed on? Nicholson worked in a different way, explained Scorsese, but that again is kind of a private process. Again, you'd have to be a part of that situation. It's something that we developed as a character that was a little different than what Bill had put in there but basically we had decided that the date, the age, and the power of this man and the appearance of his total coming apart with such power, so much power, and yet he's falling apart and there's the danger of that when we went in that direction, supplemented by Bill, and whoever else had an idea. This is the way I work. This is my process. And the other actors can talk, but we all worked together.