The Departed | Mark Wahlberg explains why he had “weird hair” in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winner

The Departed Mark Wahlberg hair
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Years after he appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning thriller, The Departed, Mark Wahlberg talks about his “weird hair” and how it came about.

There were plenty of memorable things about The Departed, Martin Scorsese’s 2006 crime thriller, but Mark Wahlberg’s hair wasn’t necessarily one of them – was it? In recent days, Wahlberg has shared his memories of working on the movie, and airs one or two grievances, including the hairdo his character – sweary cop Sean Dignam – was lumbered with.

Talking to Josh Horowitz on his reliably newsworthy Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Deadline), Wahlberg revealed that he was originally supposed to play another character in the film, and also alleged that he was never paid for his work.

“Originally, I was supposed to play another part,” the actor said. “Originally, I was supposed to get paid.”

Wahlberg then explained that, immediately after he finished work on The Departed, he’d signed on to play the role of real-life American football player Vince Papale in the 2006 sports drama, Invincible. That film was set in 1970s Philadelphia, and required Wahlberg to grow his hair longer in order to reflect the fashion of the era.

Presumably, shooting on The Departed overran, because Wahlberg found himself moving over to the filming of Invincible, then back to the set of The Departed.

“I was going into Invincible after [The Departed],” Wahlberg said. “I was trying to grow my hair out, which is why I had that weird hair… I went off to shoot Invincible, got my hair extensions, came back and they’re like, ‘Oh you gotta take out the extensions.'”

Wahlberg refused, and the luxuriant side parting Dignam sports in the finished film was the result. Said Wahlberg, “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.’”

Although Wahlberg said he was “pissed about a couple of things” while making The Departed, he concedes that it was worthwhile in the end – for one thing, his role as Dignam earned his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination.

“I completely understand where Marty was coming from,” he said. “He had to deal with Jack [Nicholson], he had to deal with Matt [Damon] and Leo [DiCaprio] and Alec [Baldwin] 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.”

This isn’t the only time Mark Wahlberg has talked in intense terms about hair of one sort or another. Late last year, he talked about going deep into character for his supporting role in Uncharted, which required growing a real moustache for the part. Then, in February, he talked about growing a moustache again for a potential Uncharted sequel. Someone give this guy his Oscar, already.

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