It’s one thing to memorialize your pet with a headstone. But it’s quite another to get your dog immortality by earning it a role in a Martin Scorsese film.
To mark today’s 10th anniversary of the release of “The Departed,” TheWrap spoke with Emma Tillinger-Koskoff, a frequent Scorsese collaborator who has worked films including “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Hugo” and “Shutter Island.”
She is also producing his upcoming film about jesuit priests, “Silence,” and got her start producing as an associate on “The Departed” the Oscar-winning Boston gangster film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg.
Aside from her fond memories working with such top-level talent, she told TheWrap how she received the one and only acting credit of her career: “Woman with Dog.” Her co-star was her dog, Monkey.
“I had a dog who was like my child, my everything,” she said during a phone interview on Thursday. “I thought, this dog is not going to be around forever, but if I can capture her on film in a Marty movie she will be around forever.”
It took some convincing, recalled Tillinger-Koskoff. “I begged and begged and I finally won him over… I said ‘Please please please let me be ‘Woman with Dog.’ He said, ‘Yes, but the whole point of scene is — just be walking the dog. Don’t react. Don’t do anything. Just walk the dog.'”
The scene (below) takes place about midway through the film, when two guys in Billy’s (Leonardo DiCaprio‘s) gang attempt to point out undercover cops on the street.
Tillinger-Koskoff appears with her dog at the 43-second mark:
“I suddenly got really nervous before my shot,” recalled the producer, who admitted to ruining two takes. “Of course the guys say something to me to which I immediately react — not once but twice. And then finally, the third time, I thought, OK, I just keep walking no matter what they say to me.”
Busy working on “Silence,” Tillinger-Koskoff said she only realized it was the 10th anniversary of “The Departed” when TheWrap reached out.
“It’s one of those films — I really can’t change the channel when it’s on,” she said.
Monkey departed this mortal coil in 2009, but lives on forever in “The Departed.”