When Graham King and his crew sat down to figure out how they could continue the story so expertly translated for American audiences by William Monahan in 2006’s The Departed, the thought was to explore once again making a movie.
But there won’t be an attempt to try and earn a second Oscar for best picture. That’s because King opted instead to take a route a bit unfamiliar to him – television.
It might seem crazy, especially for someone who has backed critical hits in the past like Argo and the more recent Allied. But as he told the HeyUGuys podcast (via Dark Horizons), the entire entertainment market has changed in the past decade since Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking film.
“I think TV is overtaking film. There are some subject matters that should be told in long-form. Theatrical experiences can’t sustain a four-hour movie. So I think that if you’ve got a lot to say in a story, you’ve got a lot of different characters blending in, you can take your time and give the audience a lot more breathing room about each character.”
The Departed series is still in the very early planning stages, and has not been sold to any distributors quite yet. King, however, is locked into the fact the series will indeed be a sequel to the film while moving the action from Boston to Chicago.
Neither Monahan nor Scorsese is involved in the production, according to reports. Instead, a pilot script is underway by Jason Richman, a television writer who created two short-lived series in the past – Detroit 1-8-7 for ABC and Lucky 7 – which ABC said was its worst-performing new series in the network’s history at the time.
Monahan had talked at least once about possible sequels to the film, indicating that he would, however, stay away from the sequels from the original 2002 Hong Kong movie Internal Affairs written by Alan Mak and Felix Chong.
Monahan’s idea would’ve focused on Mark Wahlberg’s character of Dignam, and focus on what the writer had called “overlooked” aspects of the first film like political corruption. Those sequel ideas never materialized into a working project.
King’s new adaptation still has a long way to go, however, before there’s even a chance it will make it to television. While King has dominated the world of movies as a producer since 2000’s Traffic, he has dabbled in television a little.
King was an executive producer of Camelot for Starz in 2011 that starred Joseph Fiennes and Jamie Campbell Bower. He also did a television miniseries version of Traffic for USA.
The original Departed film starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, and earned an acting Academy Award nomination for Wahlberg. It won Oscars not just for best picture, but also for best adapted screenplay for Monahan, best directing for Scorsese and best film editing for Thelma Schoonmaker.
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