THE DEPARTED May Become A TV Series That’s Neither Sequel Nor Prequel To THE DEPARTED

Look at what FARGO hath wrought.

Our friends over at Collider scored an interesting reveal today: producer Roy Lee says that a TV series based on The Departed (itself based on Lau Wai-Keung and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs) might happen.

Let's go to the tape:

"The Departed as a concept is amazing. That’s what attracted me to the story, the two moles working on either side of the law, and translating that idea into other settings with new characters, like how Fargo has taken the feel of the Coen Brother’s film. We were having discussions about making Infernal Affairs a television series. A different city, so it’s not anything like The Departed, but essentially The Departed as a TV series.”

Let's parse that out: Lee likes The Departed as a concept (it's "amazing"), and feels like FX's Fargo series illustrates how you can take a known property, expand and revise it for television, and have it work even though it only resembles the original property in passing. Fair enough on all that, but then he says "We were having discussions about making Infernal Affairs a television series", and says that the series is "not anything like The Departed, but essentially The Departed as a TV series".

Got all that? 

From my perspective, this sounds more like Lee is talking about making an Infernal Affairs series, one that maintains the same formula utilized by both Affairs and The Departed while rejiggering everything in the manner of Noah Hawley's Fargo. Neither sequel nor prequel, in other words. Of course it'll be called The Departed, because name recognition has inherent value (before you object, please find me one rando/non-film geek who knows what Infernal Affairs is), but this sounds like a "based on" series in only the loosest definition of the term.

And, hey, speaking of sequels and prequels: Lee says that screenwriter William Monahan had an idea for a Departed sequel that never got off the ground:

The concept, Lee said, would involve a need “to bring back certain characters who died in the original movie.“ Unfortunately, Lee went on to clear up why things didn’t work out: “[Monahan] came up with an amazing idea to make it work, but it would be so expensive and Scorsese didn’t want to do a sequel.”

That could mean a lot of things, but - were I a betting man - I'd guess that Monahan's concept would have involved extensive CGI de-aging for most of the returning actors. Maybe it was a sequel/prequel type deal. 

Anyway, circling back around to this TV idea: people are going to be intrigued by the idea of a TV series based on The Departed, and fair enough. All I'm suggesting is, be prepared for what that means in this particular scenario. 

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