Advertisement

Mark Wahlberg Says Martin Scorsese ‘Had Issues’ with His Hair Extensions on ‘The Departed’ Set

Things got a little hairy between Mark Wahlberg and Martin Scorsese during production on “The Departed.”

Wahlberg, whose lone (acting) Oscar nomination came for his role as Sergeant Dignam in the Boston Police Department, recalled having some “issues” with Scorsese over his hair length on the set of the 2006 film. (“The Departed” earned Scorsese his sole Academy Award for Best Director.)

More from IndieWire

The backstory: Wahlberg was supposed to directly follow up 2005’s “Four Brothers” with “Invincible.” In “Invincible,” he played bartender Vince Papale who, against all odds, made the Philadelphia Eagles team in 1976; the real-life role called for long hair. “The Departed,” which he ended up shooting during a break in “Invincible” production, did not.

Wahlberg says his “weird hair” in “The Departed” didn’t go over well with Marty.

“I was trying to grow my hair out, which is why I had that weird hair. You know, everybody’s like, what was that wig about? I was like, it was not a wig, I was just trying to grow my hair for the next film,” Wahlberg said during the March 14, 2024 “Happy Sad Confused” podcast.

Scorsese, for his part, didn’t have the time or energy to bicker over hair. “The Departed” also starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and more A-listers — a lot of personalities there for Scorsese to deal with.

In 2023, Scorsese told the New Yorker that “The Departed” production was a “knockdown, drag-out fight all the way from Day One to the end.” In 2016, Scorsese said the post-production process was “highly unpleasant.”

In retrospect, Wahlberg gets it.

“I completely understand where Marty was coming from. He had to deal with Jack, he had to deal with Matt and Leo and Alec and everything in the studio and everybody else who was in the cast and then I was supposed to be in and out in five weeks,” Wahlberg said. “And so I went off to go and shoot ‘Invincible,’ got my hair extensions, came back and then they were like, ‘Oh you got to take out the extensions.’ I was like, ‘[This] shit took eight hours. I’m not going to take this out.'”

That wasn’t the only issue between Wahlberg and Scorsese. “We had a couple” of them, Wahlberg said.

Wahlberg has previously said he turned down “The Departed” in part because he was originally “supposed to play another part” (than Dignam). He reiterated that during “Happy Sad Confused,” on which he also seemed to infer the Dignam role carried a smaller salary than he “was supposed to get” to get for the other role.

“Originally I was supposed to play another part. Originally, I was supposed to get paid,” Wahlberg said. “And then even when we kind of agreed that I would play Dignam and I saw the advantages of playing that part and how I would approach the situation with everybody else playing opposite me.”

All’s well that ends well.

Wahlberg added, “Ultimately, I think when I read that particular role, I was like, ‘OK, this is, this is a good role. This is an opportunity for me to really kind of go off and have some fun for me.’ Originally, I was just thinking, ‘Ok, we’ve got to make this as realistic and credible as possible.’ It’s Boston, it’s gangster shit. You don’t see too many of that, those movies. And I was thinking kind of broad big picture, not necessarily my own individual goals or even the opportunity for me as an actor. And then when I read the part again, I was like, ‘OK, there’s, there’s something here.'”

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.