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Martin Scorsese on Whitey Bulger and the Lure of the Bad Guy

Television offers ”more license and freedom“ than films, ”Boardwalk Empire“ honcho says

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Director Martin Scorsese has made a pretty good name for himself — but the way he sees it, he just might stick with this TV stuff for a while.

Scorsese — who took home an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on the "Boardwalk Empire" pilot at Sunday night's ceremony — described the HBO period series as "a really long movie," and one that allows him to stretch beyond his big-screen efforts.

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"I've always dreamed of being involved in a project where characters could be developed over a long period of time," said Scorsese, who also serves as executive producer for "Boardwalk Empire." "This is something where you could really develop character, plot, storyline — it gives you more license and freedom, really."

Of course, New Jersey crime magnate Nucky Thompson is just the latest in a long line of baddies that Scorsese has brought to life on the screen, and the "Goodfellas" honcho reflected on the attraction — for him and the rest of us — to the villains of the world.

"It goes back to a fascination that particularly America has with that story — the rise, but also the fall," Scorsese theorized, citing examples as far back as the 1931 James Cagney film "The Public Enemy. "Any of those old gangster films, you're fascinated by the rise, because there's kind of a vicarious thrill to all that, but you want to see them pay for it."

Scorsese added, "What I love about ['Boardwalk Empire' star] Steve [Buscemi]'s character is that he's trying to hold it together from the very first episode."

The director also discussed another, real-life villain — "Whitey" Bulger, whom Scorsese fictionalized in 2006's "The Departed" and who was captured this year.

Asked if, when he made the film, he ever envisioned Bulger's apprehension, Scorsese admitted, "No, absolutely not; I really didn't. Who knew he was in California — surprising, huh?"

Sounds like the kind of plot twist that he could work into a future movie.