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The Departed was the film that finally won Martin Scorsese a much deserved Academy Award for Best Director. After all the great films that he has made you'd think making excellent movies would be easy for him. Apparently not. The director says that making The Departed was actually quite tough, although the reason wasn't because the work was hard, it was that the subject matter along with the post-production was just unpleasant to deal with.
Moral Ground Zero, I call it. All the characters killed at the end, basically everyone, and there was no place to go, after that. You know, I hardly did any press for that film. I was tired of it. I felt it was maddening. I mean, I like the picture, but the process of making it, particularly in the post-production, was highly unpleasant. I said, I don't care how much I'm being paid, it'll kill me. I'll die. Very simply.
In an interview with the UK's Sunday Times, and reported by the Hamilton Spectator, Martin Scorsese specifically says that filmmaking isn't work because he loves to do it, so it never feels like a job. However, it would seem that he's only really referring to the filming part of The Departed, as he has nothing nice to say here about the post-production work.
The Departed is, without any doubt, a bleak movie. As Martin Scorsese says, pretty much everybody dies at the end and they do so in violent ways. Every character in the movie is a different breed of terrible as well. There's no real hero to latch onto. Having to go over those scenes again and again while doing editing and other post-production work could certainly get to you after a while. It's not surprising that Scorsese did minimal press. Who wants to talk about that stuff after seeing it so much? The Departed is a great film, but it's likely not one that even big fans have seen too many times. You have to be in the right state of mind in order to enjoy something like that. It's not a movie you throw on when you have nothing else to do.
It's no wonder the director had no interest in a sequel.
As tough to get through as some of the work apparently was, it was certainly worth it. Martin Scorsese appreciates the result of the work, as does pretty much everybody else. The Departed was named Best Picture at the Academy Awards and finally earned Scorsese a directing Oscar, something he'd been owed in the minds of many. In the end, we're certainly glad that Scorsese was able to get through the difficulties and get the movie finished. It was certainly a worthwhile effort.