Mark Wahlberg Reflects on His ‘The Departed’ Co-Star Jack Nicholson Refusing Wear Red Sox Hat

by Josh Lanier

Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Departed filmed is set and was filmed in Boston. But despite that, Jack Nicholson refused to rock a Red Sox hat for the movie. Instead, he wore a Yankees cap, which is sacrilege in Southie.

Jack Nicholson plays crime lord Frank Costello in the movie. The character is loosely based on the Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger. In one scene, Scorsese wanted Nicholson to wear a Red Sox hat since he ran Boston. But the lifelong Yankees fan said no way. He’d wear a Bronx Bomber hat or no hat at all. Scorsese relented and allowed the Oscar-winning Hollywood legend to choose his headgear for the scene.

Mark Wahlberg, who played detective Sean Dignam in the cat and mouse thriller, said there was no point in arguing with Nicholson.

“Jack can do whatever Jack wants,” Wahlberg said, according to Yahoo. “He’s Jack, baby.”

Jack Nicholson, for his part, came up with a reason why the character wouldn’t support the home team.

“First of all, they wanted me to wear a Red Sox hat,” he told New York Magazine in 2006, “but I said, all things being equal, I don’t want to.

“My Yanks, they came before the ­Lakers, of course,” the Jersey native continued. “But Kristen [Dalton], my inamorata in the picture, she wore a Red Sox cap both to subtly indicate domestic conflict and to politically mollify the fans in Boston.”

Jack Nicholson Not Only Movie Star to Refuse to Wear Rival’s Hat

Jack Nicholson can do what he wants. And Martin Scorsese works closely with actors to create characters. So, Nicholson’s refusal to wear the Red Sox hat didn’t cause any production problems. But one time an actor refused to wear the colors of his favorite team’s rivals and it shut down a movie production for days, which cost thousands of dollars in the end.

Being a Red Sox fan is part of Ben Affleck’s celebrity. So, when director David Fincher told him to put on a Yankees cap for a scene in Gone Girl, Affleck refused.

“I said, ‘David, I love you, I would do anything for you,’” Affleck told the New York Times. “‘But I will not wear a Yankees hat. I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing, David, and I will never hear the end of it. ….’ And I couldn’t put it on my head.”

Fincher wouldn’t budge on this point. Affleck, who is trying to blend into a crowd at an airport for the scene, had to wear the Yankees hat. The fight between the director and star dragged on for four days, with neither side willing to concede. The movie shut down during the conflict and wouldn’t resume until a compromise was reached, Rolling Stone noted.

After a lot of heated arguments, Affleck agreed to wear a Mets cap for the scene, and production resumed.