Mark Wahlberg Explains Why He Was ‘Pissed’ While Filming ‘The Departed’

Mark Wahlberg Explains Why He Was Pissed Shooting The Departed With Martin Scorsese
Mark Wahlberg. Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Mark Wahlberg earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the 2006 crime thriller The Departed, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing behind the scenes with director Martin Scorsese.

Wahlberg, 52, joined Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen in the star-studded cast. He portrayed Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam, who selected Trooper William “Billy” Costigan Jr, played by DiCaprio, to go undercover to discover a mob spy in the Massachusetts State Police.

“I was a little pissed about a couple of things,” the Daddy’s Home star said on a recent episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “Originally I was supposed to play another part. We agreed that I would play Dignam and I saw the advantages of playing that part and how I would approach the situation with everybody playing opposite me.”

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Wahlberg had more films lined up following The Departed and was preparing to star in Invincible, a biopic of Philadelphia Eagles football star Vince Papale, which required him to have longer hair.

“I was only supposed to do a couple of weeks on The Departed so I was able to grow my hair for Invincible. But then the schedule changed, and four months later, I’m still working on The Departed, so I wouldn’t cut my hair and Marty was pissed off,” Wahlberg said. “He was like, ‘You’ve got to cut your f—ing hair,’ and I was, ‘I don’t give a f–k.’”

Eventually, he settled his disagreement with Scorsese, now 81.

“I understand where Marty was coming from,” Wahlberg continued. “He had to deal with Jack, he had to deal with Matt and Leo and everything — the studio and everyone else that was in the cast.”

Mark Wahlberg Explains Why He Was Pissed Shooting The Departed With Martin Scorsese
Mark Wahlberg. Josh Horowitz/YouTube

Looking back, Wahlberg is happy he accepted what became a landmark film in his career.

“We had a couple of issues, but ultimately, when I read that particular role, I was like, ‘OK, this is a good role. This is an opportunity for me to really kind of go off and have some fun,’” he recalled.

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In a separate interview, Wahlberg revealed that he initially turned down The Departed.

“I wasn’t committed to making the movie and my agent told Marty that I was,” he told GQ in 2019. “Marty called me up and he was so excited about making this movie together. I said, ‘I’m not doing the movie.’”

Then Wahlberg met with Scorsese in person, and the director convinced him to accept the role by allowing him to make changes to his character.

“I read the script again, and I was pretty angry and I said again I wasn’t going to do it. Marty told me, ‘Look at this part, look at what you get to do with all these people.’ He knows I’m from that [Boston] world and I talked to him about improvising and doing my own thing and he said, ‘Dude, you’re free to do what you want to do,’” Wahlberg remembered.

The Departed became one of the most honored films of 2007, earning the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.