The $291 Million Movie Brad Pitt Thought He Was "Too Old" For

The $291 Million Movie Brad Pitt Thought He Was
Image credit: Warner Bros., Summit Entertainment

In fact, Pitt was not much older than his replacement.


  • Martin Scorsese 's The Departed was an instant critical and commercial success.
  • In many ways, the movie is highly acclaimed because of its star cast.
  • It probably could have been even more successful if Brad Pitt had been cast in the lead role.

Martin Scorsese is world famous because his career in the film industry has lasted — just think about it — more than 60 years. For such a long and extensive filmmaking activity, he has received a huge number of awards, because this is the kind of director who knows exactly what he is doing. And while many of his films have been nominated for or won more than a handful of Academy Awards, Scorsese himself has only won a personal Best Director Oscar once — in 2007 for The Departed.

And while The Departed is indeed an example of Martin Scorsese's superb directing, today we're not going to talk about him, but about the other man responsible for the film's success — Brad Pitt. Yes, you're not wrong if you look at the cast of the movie and don't see him as Hollywood's permanent heartthrob. After all, Pitt was supposed to play the role that eventually went to Matt Damon, but he turned it down because he felt he was 'too old for it.'

Let's get to the bottom of why that happened, and how Brad Pitt is still connected to the film that ultimately earned Scorsese his first and only personal Oscar to date, as well as $291.5 million at the worldwide box office.

A Remake of the Iconic Hong Kong Thriller

Many people are probably aware that The Departed is one of the rare examples of an American industry's attempt to adapt a foreign screenplay that turned out to be as successful as the original.

The 2006 crime thriller is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, co-directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak and based on a screenplay by Mak and Felix Chong. Today, the film has not only achieved cult status, but has also been recognized by Empire magazine as one of the best examples of world cinema.

Brad Pitt's Involvement in the Project

Throughout his career, Brad Pitt has demonstrated his undeniable talent not only as an actor, but also as a producer. In 2001, he co-founded the production company Plan B Entertainment with Brad Grey, Kristin Hahn and Jennifer Aniston, of which he has been the sole owner since 2005.

Sometime in 2004, Pitt saw and loved Infernal Affairs (it had a limited theatrical release in the U.S. at the time), and Plan B acquired the rights to produce the remake. Yes, it was not even about Scorsese, and The Departed owes its existence to Brad Pitt.

After all, the screenwriter was William Monahan, who won an Oscar for his screenplay, and later Martin Scorsese himself was involved in the project.

Pitt Could Have Played One of the Characters

Originally, in 2004, the role of Colin Sullivan, an undercover gangster embedded with the Massachusetts State Police as a spy, was to be played by Brad Pitt. However, Pitt, who was 40 years old at the time, felt that the role should go to someone younger due to the character's relative youth.

'Once Scorsese became involved, I thought it would be better if they were younger guys that were just starting their lives, guys coming out of the academy, guys who were hungry. I thought I was too old for it,' he told Interview in 2012.

In the end, as we know, the role was performed by Matt Damon, making it one of the most memorable of his career. However, Damon was not much younger than Pitt, only 7 years younger. We are grateful to the latter for giving way to another talented actor, but even now, 20 years later, there should be no doubt that Mr. Pitt still looks young enough!

Source: Interview.