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High body count clouds sequel to The Departed

It’s hard to imagine a sequel to a movie like Oscar-nominated crime drama The Departed, which ends in such a spasm of violence that hardly any of the lead characters are left alive.

But almost anything is possible in Hollywood when enough money is at stake. So it should come as no surprise that a follow-up to Martin Scorsese’s cops-and-gangsters thriller, the biggest box-office hit of his career, is already in the works.

A person close to the situation said on Wednesday that the screenwriter behind The Departed, William Monahan, was outlining a script that would bring back a surviving character played by Mark Wahlberg and introduce a new role envisioned for Robert De Niro.

Neither Monahan’s spokesperson nor Warner Bros which distributed The Departed had any comment on sequel plans. One studio spokesperson called talk of a possible follow-up ”premature”.

Representatives for Wahlberg and Scorsese could not immediately be reached. And De Niro’s publicist said he was not aware of any talks involving his client, who is good friends with Scorsese.

It was Wahlberg who told MTV on the red carpet of the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month about the possibility of enlisting De Niro to star in a Departed follow-up.

Wahlberg earned an Oscar nomination as best-supporting actor for his role in the film as a hot-headed, foul-mouthed police detective. Scorsese was nominated as best director for his work on the film.

The movie itself, adapted from the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, about an undercover cop who infiltrates a crime gang to root out a police department mole, was nominated as best picture and is considered a front-runner to win Hollywood’s top honour on February 25.

According to sources cited by the Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese would need to approve any plans for a new film before it could move forward.

Scorsese has never directed a sequel to any of his films, though his 1986 pool hall drama The Color of Money was a follow-up to 1961’s The Hustler directed by Robert Rossen.

The original Infernal Affairs was followed by a ”prequel,” involving events leading up to the first movie, and a third film that combined elements of the first two. According to the Reporter, the idea of a prequel for The Departed has not been ruled out.

The Departed has so far grossed $125,8-million in US ticket sales alone, making it by far the biggest box-office success among the five films nominated for an Academy Award as best picture. – Reuters

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