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[FILM] An "Infernal Affairs" Now "Departed" with Scorsese & DiCaprio

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  • madchinaman
    Scorsese And DiCaprio Talk The Departed Exclusive: Director/star duo tell Empire about Infernal Affairs remake 23 December 2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2004
      Scorsese And DiCaprio Talk The Departed
      Exclusive: Director/star duo tell Empire about Infernal Affairs
      23 December 2004

      Busy chaps, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. The negatives of
      their latest film, The Aviator (which opens on Boxing Day), have
      only just dried but the man regularly dubbed America's Greatest
      Living Director and his new muse are already shuffling off to make
      their third film in a row together.

      This one, though, is a markedly different affair from the two $100+
      million epics – The Aviator and Gangs Of New York – that Marty and
      Li'l Leo have previously worked on. The Departed – a remake of
      Infernal Affairs, the blinding Chinese thriller about a cop and a
      criminal whose paths cross in twisty-turny fashion when they go
      undercover as, respectively, a triad and a policeman – promises to
      be a much smaller, more intimate affair, if a film directed by
      Scorsese and starring DiCaprio and Matt Damon (who replaces Brad
      Pitt) can indeed be considered small. Says who? Says Scorsese
      himself, when we spoke to him recently.

      "It's a tough, tight, smaller thriller, in a way, about the
      underworld in Boston. Irish gangsters and the police," he told us,
      before seemingly admitting, surprisingly, that he hasn't seen the
      original. "Based on a Chinese film, apparently, but very unique in
      and of itself."

      It would have to be, for Scorsese is a man whom you would think
      would have had his fill of gangsters, either Italian American or
      Irish American. "I must say I wasn't interested in doing any more
      films dealing with the underworld," he confirmed, "but the nature of
      the game that's played between the characters, whether they're
      police or gangsters, and the following through of each character to
      their ultimate fate is fascinating to me."

      Meanwhile, when DiCaprio was in town recently, we got a few words
      from him on the project, in which he will play the policeman
      character initially brought to life in the original by Tony Leung –
      in other words, the good guy. "Yeah, if you wanna put labels on it,"
      he laughed. "As of yet I'm going undercover to be with the gangster.
      It's certainly a great chess game - one crooked cop, one semi-good
      cop who infiltrates the Mob underworld. I'm looking very much
      forward to it."


      Interview: Martin Scorsese
      IGN gets a chance to chat with one of the greatest directors of all

      December 17, 2004 - When talking about Martin Scorsese, it's hard
      for me not to gush. Over his thirty-plus years of directing, his
      accomplishments as a filmmaker are too long to list. While he's
      often best known for his tough guy films like GoodFellas, Casino and
      Mean Streets, he's touched on just about every genre at one time or
      another, from thoughtful drama (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) to
      religious epic (The Last Temptation of Christ) to sports film
      (Raging Bull) and even to musical (New York, New York). Some of his
      films simply can't be categorized (Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy).

      As my love for film grew in my formative years, the works of
      Scorsese were always at the forefront. Always innovative, daring,
      and on the cutting edge, Scorsese elevated cinema at a time when
      American film was really suffering. His 70's work was a large
      portion of a movement that made that decade the greatest one ever
      for American film, and his work in the years since has remained
      exceptional. In my opinion, Raging Bull was the best film of the
      80's and GoodFellas was the best film of the 90's.

      The current decade has seen only one film from Scorsese, the
      troubled but interesting epic, Gangs of New York in 2002. The film
      was flawed but featured a great performance from Daniel Day-Lewis
      and a very good one from Leonardo DiCaprio. The collaboration
      between Scorsese and DiCaprio on that film looks to have started a
      potentially important ongoing collaboration. Their second work
      together, The Aviator is about to hit theaters and there are already
      rumors of the two working together again on a remake of the Chinese
      film Infernal Affairs.

      The Aviator is the story of the wildly eccentric and wildly
      brilliant millionaire Howard Hughes. It follows a 20-year period of
      his life when he made his greatest achievements in both aviation and
      film. DiCaprio is fantastic in the lead role and, judging by the
      critical response so far, it looks like this could be Scorsese's
      most highly acclaimed film since 1990's GoodFellas.

      I couldn't help but get a little giddy at the chance to see Scorsese
      in person recently, even if it was only for a press conference.
      Scorsese walked into the room and began firing off in his trademark
      fast-talking fashion as soon as the first question was asked of him.

      Q: Do you see any parallel between Hughes' obsessions and your own?

      MARTIN SCORSESE: It's not for me to say, I think. I have been over
      the years, had some close friends and acquaintances who have said at
      one point, 'Don't go in the room, he's got the tissue boxes on his
      feet…' Howard Hughes was this visionary who was obsessed with speed
      and flying like a god… I loved his idea of what filmmaking was. He
      became the outlaw of Hollywood in a way. I think Scarface is a
      better picture than Hell's Angels, but Hell's Angels is still a
      great film experience, particularly in its restored version, really,
      it's quite something on a big screen and the aerial sequences never
      will be topped... I grew up within Italian-American neighborhoods,
      everybody was coming into the house all the time, kids running
      around, that sort of stuff, so when I finally got into my own area,
      so to speak, to make films, I still carried on. I liked being with
      people. We did have that sort of filmmakers club, so to speak, in
      the early 70's with Brian de Palma, Steve Spielberg, Paul Schrader
      and John Milius… But as that time progressed, I got more and more
      reclusive from seeing anyone… When we do go out, it's usually to an
      event that we think is the right venue. For example, the Arts and
      Business Council gala a few weeks ago… To be at the Tribeca Festival
      with my friends Bob De Niro and Jane Rosenthal... Terry Malick came
      over for dinner a while back, Paul Schrader, that's about it. Just
      trying to stay and do my work, so I don't really see anyone… That
      may be the only similarities. I venture to say the man is a genius
      and extraordinary…

      Q: When you approach biographical materials, are there very specific
      ways, or is it different for each one?

      SCORSESE: It's very different for each one, and I must say now that
      the approach on this material really, really comes from John Logan,
      the writer. I say that emphatically. I think it's a wonderful
      script, even though when I read it, it was 180 pages, which would be
      a four-hour picture. Why I say that is that I've approached
      biographical material over the years. We hit it one way with Raging
      Bull... Myself and the writer and Bob De Niro were going from the
      beginning of Jake's life to the end, and it was very conventional,
      and we just sort of got stuck. So I asked Paul Schrader to come in
      and Paul is a very disciplined writer and he cut right to the middle
      of the story, to the heart of the story, what the guy wanted and
      what he couldn't get , which was a shot at the title… And then
      [with] Henry Hill in GoodFellas, I approached a whole other way…
      Basically one long monologue, street corner monologue... And then
      ultimately in this, what I liked about this particular version was
      that I had stayed clear of the Howard Hughes story for two reasons.
      I was interested in the sense that I only knew the man as
      an 'eccentric,' the guy living at the top of the Desert Inn, a very
      mysterious figure, watching movies… Warren Beatty and Stephen
      Spielberg had wanted for many years to make a Hughes picture… And I
      said, 'Where do you start and where do you end?' I wouldn't know
      where to begin.' And so I thought it was more or less their
      territory until I read the script by John Logan... I was finishing
      up Gangs of New York… Leo DiCaprio was involved in it and I'd had a
      pretty good relationship working with Leo in Gangs of New York, so
      that was baptism of fire because it was a difficult picture to make,
      and I read the thing, and I just saw the first scene of this mother
      washing a boy in the bath and she's dealing with cholera and
      quarantine and all that sort of thing and the next sequence is this
      young guy shooting a movie out in the desert and I thought, 'My god,
      this is Howard Hughes doing Hell's Angels… Hell's Angels is a film I
      really like… Now is he going to go through the whole life of Howard
      Hughes? But he didn't. What John chose to leave out during that
      period, and what he chose to combine, fictionalize, attempting to
      get the spirit of what Hughes was like. He was a visionary, he was
      obsessed with speed, young, energetic, filled with wonder and
      excitement, not only with aviation but also Hollywood, and making
      big movies…

      Q: How did the casting of the two Kates come together?

      SCORSESE: Kate Beckinsale came in and it was the first audition for
      Ava Gardner… She was terrific. She was sultry and she's a beautiful
      woman, a very good actress. I've always liked her. I've seen all her
      work, and I was glad that she's agreed to audition… She asked what
      she should do before the audition, and I told her to just watch
      Mogambo, John Ford's version of Red Dust with Clark Gable and Grace
      Kelly and Ava Gardner playing Honey Bear… That swagger, that wise
      guy attitude. . . Beckinsale, when you first see her on the screen,
      trying to decide what name she should give TWA Airlines, she's
      absolutely gorgeous… You have that sense of Ava Gardner there. The
      scene where she hits him with the ashtray is based on a fight
      between the two of them. She wouldn't take anything from him,
      nothing. She says in her autobiography, little did I realize we
      would be friends for 22 years… They were like hanging out for 22
      years. Cate Blanchett, on the other hand, I thought of Cate, we were
      starting to shoot our film sooner… She came into LA while still
      shooting The Missing… [We met] for about three hours talking about
      it… She had looked at some stills of Katharine Hepburn… Hepburn is a
      touchy area. There are three levels there. [There are] the older
      people who really know Katharine Hepburn, who may have been alive in
      the Thirties, and know all about her career and everything else.
      There's the midway, which is me. I'm 62 but I was 10 years old when
      I saw her movies. I didn't know about the 1930s, her trouble with
      box-office poison, she always seemed to be a star to me… And because
      of that, I felt, 'Yes, let us try to do Katharine Hepurn in a film…
      An actress of great intelligence and courage. And we discussed
      levels of accent, we discussed. And she came and said, 'Look, I
      looked at some pictures of Katharine Hepburn and there's a couple
      here. And she got in a certain position, sort of on her haunches,
      Cate Blanchett, and she said, 'I think she was like this. That's the
      way she was sitting on the beach when Howard comes up and asks her
      to go golfing with him.' That was taken from a PR still off the set.
      And she just had it, the gesture she had, she had the lines, the
      look to be Katharine Hepburn…

      Q: What made Leonardo the perfect choice for Hughes?

      SCORSESE: He came attached to the project. I felt that the main
      thing for me is that it's a hard character to play to say the least.
      But he had such a determination. I mean, more than half of it is
      wanting to do it, really wanting to do it. Then quite honestly, I
      thought particularly the young Howard Hughes, like when he's at the
      Grauman's Chinese and he's in tails, he did seem to me, when I
      looked at some of the earlier photographs of Howard Hughes, you've
      got to look at some real early stuff when he was still dressing
      before he gets the clothes from Penny's or Sears and he's
      saying, 'Better make it Woolworth,' or whatever he's saying on that
      paranoid phone call to Noah Dietrich. I mean, before that he was in
      Seville Row clothes. He was really a dandy [dresser]. When he burns
      his clothes, that's a key moment. He changes everything, but I must
      say that I saw a similarity, and I do feel if you ever find some
      really early photographs of him, because he always appeared, Howard
      Hughes, even in the photographs of him going out every night with
      these different starlets he always made a face. He didn't want to be
      photographed, but he wanted to be, and he was always in an odd
      position. But the lankiness, the tallness, the frame itself, I felt
      that he did remind me of the young Howard Hughes, the real young
      Howard Hughes and then later the older Howard Hughes certainly. The
      one with the mustache after the plane crash, he just suddenly sort
      of became Howard Hughes at that point even with the application of
      seven and a half hours of makeup in that screening room scene where
      he's naked. Seven and a half hours each day. I'd sort of walk in
      that room, look at all the tissue paper and the mess. There was two
      weeks of shooting that.

      Q: How does it feel to have inspired a generation of filmmakers and
      what do you expect from yourself now?

      SCORSESE: That's a good question. In the '80's, I was sort of on the
      outskirts of the industry to a certain extent and I sort of had to
      make films all over again, lower budget films until I got The Color
      of Money, and that sort of thing, until I hit back to stories that I
      really wanted to make, like, The Last Temptation of Christ. But
      since then, Raging Bull, I've been reassessed in '89 and GoodFellas
      came out and some things, I felt that I was real lucky to have lived
      through a period where people could come back and say, 'Hey, that
      stuff that you did in the '70's, that was pretty good.' Then to even
      hear about these kids doing films that are very influenced by Mean
      Streets of all things. It's a real honor if they really have been.
      There've been a number of people around the world, Chinese
      filmmakers have been influenced by the picture and that's great. The
      problem for me ultimately, and I'm glad because it gives me, when I
      see their films I get excited. It's almost like having an illness
      where you suddenly you have more of it thrown into you every time
      that you see these films and it generates a lot of energy and a lot
      of excitement to see new, young filmmakers pictures that show me a
      new way of seeing the world visually and emotionally. But for me to
      make my own films, I just have to remain true to what the picture is
      and know that that's the story that I really want to tell and know
      that I'm going to use a certain style and what I want to achieve
      with it and the marketplace for it too. When you make a picture, a
      big budget picture like this, you know, it's a pretty big
      marketplace and I was very lucky to have fallen upon the situation
      with John Logan and Leo and Michael Mann, all of them that had
      created a story about a man that I could identify with, feel for
      him, empathize with him, a visionary who also had tragic flaws. I
      think that kind of makes me feel comfortable with the material. But
      there's no doubt that every time I make a picture, there's a part of
      me that thinks, 'Well, what are they expecting?' I just like to be
      able to be true to what the film is and maybe scale down in the

      Q: There's been talk over the years of you doing a Dean Martin film.
      Is that still going to happen?

      SCORSESE: No. There was talk, a lot of it. We did it. We did it. Tom
      Hanks is going to do it and Nick Pilleggi and [we] killed ourselves
      working on the script. I'm always accused of being overly dramatic
      by everyone, killed ourselves. But we really suffered making that
      one. You do feel as if you're in a battle, you know? The studio, at
      the time, really wanted a film on Dean Martin. I had worked on a
      script with Irwin Winkler and Paul Schrader was first and then [many
      others]… That was a film I owed Warner Brothers. It's a complicated
      issue. Ultimately, when it was time to do Gershwin, they turned to
      me and said, 'We'd rather have one on Dean Martin,' and I said, 'The
      thing is that the Gershwin script is done… They wanted something
      from the swinging early '60's Vegas, late '50's like Ocean's Eleven'
      man, the original… They had a retrospective of my movies at Walter
      Reed Theater in New York, and the only way that I would do it is if
      they showed a film of mine and a film that sort of influenced it or
      a film that I thought was important to see… When it came to
      GoodFellas, I had them watch Ocean's Eleven. Good, bad or
      indifferent, it's the attitude. It also was like in widescreen and
      in color a documentary in a sense of old Vegas that doesn't exist
      anymore. When the time came, we accepted the assignment to try and
      do it. There were legal issues involved too. I owed them a film for
      about ten years. It was a complicated issue. I don't remember half
      of it. But all I know is that Nick and I tried for a year on the
      script and it's exactly the same situation. I didn't know what to
      leave out. I just didn't know what to leave out. Then Terry and I
      kind of looked at each other perplexed, we didn't know quite what to
      do and then something happened and bang, Gangs of New York was being
      made. So we are back to a certain extent with Warner Brothers on
      this film, but Miramax is the main distributor and Warner Brothers
      is the other, but we tried. We really tried… The story of Dean
      Martin is very difficult... It's because, ultimately he pulls back
      in life. He seemed to pull back in life. He pulled back and seemed
      to be passive and that was part of what was appreciated about him
      from Sinatra and everyone else. The active ones were Sinatra and
      Sammy Davis. They were making things. They were out there taking
      people on, and Frank Sinatra would see someone in a bar that had
      written something about him that he didn't like and Dean would
      say, 'Leave him alone. Don't give him the satisfaction. Let it be.'
      No, he was going to get up and hit him. It's interesting. It's an
      interesting dynamic. But can you make a film and say what the man is
      about, I don't think that you can ever make a fiction or even a
      documentary. You could maybe, I keep thinking this, you could maybe,
      if you're lucky, have the contradictions in a man or a woman. That
      makes the person, but you can't say this is the kind of person he
      was and this is Howard Hughes. This is an aspect of Howard Hughes.
      Look, we really couldn't get a handle on what to do. I actually
      thought the strongest story there beyond the Rat Pack thing, before
      that was his relationship with Jerry Lewis, his creative
      relationship and how that worked out. Ultimately, having gone
      through such fame, having such a close working relationship, how he
      then pulled back seemingly creatively, seemingly and had gone
      through such a close relationship with him. It's like a marriage.
      That's a very strong thing. That's really the story I think and it's
      the story of creative collaboration whether you're writers or
      painters or composers, musicians, anything, filmmakers, comedians.
      This is it. This is the story of two people and how they worked
      together over the years.
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