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Ray Liotta Was Martin Scorsese's First Choice To Star In The Departed

Ray Liotta Was Martin Scorsese's First Choice To Star In The Departed

One of Martin Scorsese's original casting choices for The Departed was Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta.

One of Martin Scorsese's original casting choices for The Departed was Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta.

The 2006 American epic crime thriller directed by Scorsese and William Monahan is not only bursting with intricate plots and ploys, gripping moments of realisation and tense showdowns, but it is also teeming with a ridiculously impressive and all-star cast.

However, The Departed could have ended up looking very different to how it is now.

Particularly as Liotta was Scorsese's original number one choice for one specific role.

Martin Scorsese wanted to cast Ray Liotta in The Departed.
Warner Bros. Pictures

When asked whether or not he was 'a little bummed' to not star in Scorsese's The Irishman, Liotta explained that while he was slightly, he guessed he 'wasn't their cup of tea because [he's] never really done a movie for him since [Goodfellas (1990)]'.

He told Business Insider: "There was something in The Departed that could have happened.

"But I had a movie I was already committed to so I couldn't get out of it."

Reflecting on how he'd only ever worked with Scorsese once, Liotta noted the 'parts were just never right'.

"I have seen every movie that he's done and I can't say, 'Oh, f**k, I should have been doing that.'

"Like, Wolf of Wall Street — who am I going to play?" he questioned.

In The Departed, Scorsese had Liotta in mind for the role of Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam.

Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam, alongside Captain Queenan, recruits State Trooper Billy Costigan Jr to go undercover alongside Colin Sullivan on the Special Investigations Unit.

Irish Mob boss Frank Costello is at the centre of the undercover investigation.

Amid various sneaking around, backstabbing and double bluffing, Queenan ends up being murdered.

Dignam is resolute in trying to avenge his death.

Mark Wahlberg took on the role of Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam instead.
Warner Bros. Pictures

While Liotta didn't end up taking on the role, Ted's Mark Wahlberg did, and even received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Wahlberg's performance was reviewed by Robin Holabird as particularly 'terrific'.

A 'surprising humour' was also noted between Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, who played Captain George Ellerby.

It wasn't just the character of Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam who was also nearly cast as a different actor too.

Trooper William 'Billy' Costigan Jr (Leonardo DiCaprio) was originally meant to be played by Tom Cruise, while Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) was set to be portrayed by Brad Pitt.

Al Pacino was also reportedly initially going to be cast as Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson).

Liotta sadly passed away on 26 May, 2022.

He is reported as having died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic amid the filming of Dangerous Waters.

While he may not have ended up starring in The Departed, Liotta was well loved for his roles in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and, of course, Goodfellas.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Film and TV, Entertainment

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