Reeler correspondent and resident Open All Night maestro Bennett Marcus attended the recent premiere of The Departed at the Ziegfeld Theater, where the Scorsese / Nicholson / Damon / DiCaprio / Wahlberg wrecking crew left behind a red carpet glinting with shattered flash bulbs and a 54th Street triage for bruised and bloodied entertainment reporters. Ever the brazen survivor, Marcus reports:
"The Departed premiere turned out to be a quintessential New York star glut, with folks like Mick Jagger, Bono and Billy Joel clogging the red carpet alongside A-list movie legends Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson. Then came the beloved Leonardo DiCaprio, who didn't reveal much of himself to reporters but did discuss his time spent in South Boston soaking up the Irish Catholic mobster authenticity in preparation for his role. 'This is a real specific movie about a real specific place,' he said. 'So I had to go there and get accustomed to that place, and meet some of the real dudes.' And if that doesn't get you regarding the guy as a pro's pro, The Departed is Leo's third time working with Martin Scorsese, whom he described as 'the great American master filmmaker.'
"The less-great, non-master American filmmaker Ed Zwick--who directed DiCaprio in the upcoming feature The Blood Diamond--had his own praise for the star. 'He's quite easygoing,' Zwick said. 'He's joyous and serious at the same time, but not at all moody or mercurial. Just entirely professional. He is, in fact, shy. I think it's a hard thing to be a movie star, and to have become that movie star at 21, or whatever he was when that happened. It's not easy.'
"DiCaprio's Departed co-star Vera Farmiga (right) was even more complimentary. 'Working with Leo is a breeze,' Farmiga told me. 'He's so dear. He's so nurturing. He's so warm. He's a great actor. But he's simple, above all. You think he's going to be this megawatt, you know, when you have such a megawatt of star power, you think… But he's not like that. He's a really sweet, generous human being.'
"But enough about Leo and the boys. Despite all the macho hype surrounding the film, does the intense indie darling Farmiga see The Departed as her own breakthrough?
" 'Well, a breakthrough in terms of what?' she asked. 'In visibility it is. The real breakthrough was a film called Down to the Bone; that's where Marty saw me and invited me to join the people here. But for me, it wasn't daunting. They're just great actors and he's a great filmmaker. Yeah, you're the only girl in the film, but it's not... You didn't have to wear it.'
"So did Farmiga's character just bubble to the surface naturally? 'She did,' the actress replied. 'But you know what I loved about her? She's not just a peripheral princess that you see in mainstream cinema, where women are sort of there to help the men along. I mean, she's as duplicitous as everyone else; she's as complex as everyone else. So it was great. It was meaty.' "
"Finally came the Great American Master Filmmaker himself, with just enough time for me to ask why he'd shoot in New York if he was trying for the script's location of Boston. It's sacrilege!
" 'Interiors,' Scorsese said. 'Interiors. And also a nice deal in New York.' Then the director made like his movie's title, and that was it. Party over."
(Farmiga photo: Dennis Van Tine / Open All Night)
Posted at September 28, 2006 4:39 PM
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