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DISTRIB/RELEASE DATE: Warner Bros./ Oct. 6

ADAPTED FROM: Screenplay “Infernal Affairs” by Alan Mak and Felix Chong

STORYLINE: A rookie cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) infiltrates the organization of a Boston crime boss (Jack Nicholson), but the mobster has a mole of his own (Matt Damon) in the department who could blow his cover.

ABOUT THE SCRIPT: Although based on the Hong Kong thriller “Infernal Affairs,” “In absolute fact, it isn’t an ‘American’ adaptation at all. It’s a Bostonian adaptation,” says Monahan. “We’re pretty much a different country.” Though Scorsese added his trademark layer of insider references, Monahan says: “I’m not interested in anything which isn’t working on many levels. There’s no reason an action film shouldn’t also make a literature professor wet himself.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “A lot of the stuff that people think you must have chewed pencils over in your garret, you simply don’t notice until later,” Monahan says. “It’s a matter of ear and gut. If it feels right, it’s in, and if it doesn’t, it isn’t.” That said, Nicholson brought his own ideas to the part, transforming Costello from a post-sexual old Irishman into a great “new way to play Lear.”

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA: “I was thinking about the past, and Boston, and people I’d lost, with real intensity, and had the job not come along I probably would have directed that energy into a novel,” Monahan says..

CHOICE LINES: Nicholson asks a local, “How’s your mother?” The guy sighs, “She’s on her way out,” to which Nicholson quips: “We all are. Act accordingly.”