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'It's a giant magic trick'

November 2, 2006
Martin Scorsese's latest film, The Departed, features a great ensemble cast. But despite Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen all sharing the screen, the film's protagonists are certainly Leonardo DiCaprio (right) and Matt Damon, who play Billy Costigan and Colin Sullivan, two very similar characters on different sides of the law.

Damon (left) spent considerable time with the Boston police in preparation for his role. In this interview, Matt talks about his characters, saying yes to Martin Scorsese, and the experience of working with Jack. Excerpts:

Matt, Leo and you have incredibly similar roles running parallel to each other. Why did you each want to play the character you did?

We actually did flip a coin. Really, that was how we decided. In terms of the roles, the second part first, I think Leo and I both felt they were both these incredible roles, and, speaking for him, I think we would have played either one and we would have been happy to play them.

Now that we did it this way, we're happy that that's the way it worked out because I can't imagine playing the other one now. All of us had actual real things to play, so that's a real credit to Bill Monahan and his script. To have that much to do when you go to work every day was really great. And then, we also heard the director had done a good movie here or there. (laughs)

Design: Reuben
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