Jack Departs for Leo, Marty, Matt
Jack's back! And this time, he's super bad.
After a two-year hiatus from movie making, Jack Nicholson has agreed to star with Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in Martin Scorsese's next film, the Warner Bros. police drama The Departed.
The film, an English-language remake of a trio of Hong Kong gangster flicks collectively known as Infernal Affairs or Wu Jian Dao, will move the story to Boston and focus on a war between the Irish-American gangsters and corrupt police officers.
The three-time Oscar winner will play an Irish gang boss caught between a cop (DiCaprio) deep undercover inside the organization and a Mob mole (Damon) who infiltrates the Boston police force. Things spiral out of control when one of the plants gets wind of the other and both men must race to get out. The Departed will also costar Mark Wahlberg
Nicholson tells Variety that he's been looking to get back in front of the camera again and was attracted to the idea of working with Scorsese, whom he's called a friend for "many years," as well as DiCaprio and Damon, both of whom he's met on several occasions--the latter while working on a charity benefit.
"[The part] could be interesting," Nicholson says, adding that he and the Raging Bull filmmaker have been "looking for something to do together" for some time.
"[I've been] looking for a bad guy," the 67-year-old thespian tells the trade, noting that his last three films were all comedies--2002's About Schmidt and 2003's Anger Management and Something's Gotta Give.
Nicholson quips that because his father, Jack, was Irish, "I won't have to act much."
The project will be produced by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's company, Plan B (the company remains together even though the couple has split).
With Nicholson on board, there's only one key role that remains to be cast--the lead female role of a police psychiatrist.
One reason the casting is taking so long is due to the busy schedules of DiCaprio and Scorsese, who have been making the award-show rounds to collect hardware for The Aviator, their second collaboration together after 2002's Gangs of New York. The epic biopic on oddball billionaire Howard Hughes snagged Best Drama and Best Actor for DiCaprio at last month's Golden Globe Awards and is the front-runner with 11 nominations going into Feb. 27's 77th Academy Awards.
Nicholson's last two movies, Something's Gotta Give with Diane Keaton, and Anger Management with Adam Sandler, proved he's still a big draw at the box office, grossing $124 million and $133 million, respectively.
The Departed is slated to begin shooting in April for a 2006 release.