Some of the most popular movies of all time are based on true stories or pieces of literature that have actually been adapted before. “Premakes” looks at the similarities and differences between a classic film and the lesser-known work that beat it to the marketplace.
Martin Scorsese has always slipped himself into his own films, whether in near-subliminal cameos, or with speaking roles both onscreen – Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, The King of Comedy – and off – over the phone in The Wolf of Wall Street, and over the EMS radio in Bringing Out the Dead, among others. While many of us assumed the Scorsese cameos ceased with Silence, the director still found a way to put himself in the religious epic.
Quick, without thinking: greatest American film of the ’90s? Martin Scorsese’s decade-spanning gangster epic Goodfellas is probably the answer that pops into most heads, and rightfully so. It was a success under every criterion, amassing a tidy profit that‘s only grown through infinite televised syndication and home-video releases, earning Joe Pesci an Academy Award for his turn as the short-fused Tommy DeVito, and leaving a titanic influence on pop-culture in the years to follow. It has earned the distinction of “masterpiece,” right in the thick of any conversation on Scorsese’s finest accomplishment. But man, at first, people hated it.
Sound the alarm emojis — last night brought a new update on the slow gestation of Martin Scorsese’s next feature film project, the mob drama The Irishman. It’s already a hot property, boasting a cast including Marty favorites Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci along with newcomer Al Pacino, who already spent the last two decades acting as if he was in the third act of Goodfellas anyhow. “Martin Scorsese doing another crime epic with some of today‘s greatest living actors” turned out to be quite the tantalizing prospect, too, because last night brought the news that Netflix has purchased the rights to the film right out from under Paramount.
Like most cinephiles, I was vaguely aware that Joe Pesci has been retired from acting for a while now, but I assumed that meant he had made a few low-budget movies in the early 2000s and walked away. Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized that Pesci has made exactly two live-action movies since Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998. One was The Good Shepherd, the Robert De Niro-directed 2006 drama about the early history of the CIA. And if a close friend can lure Joe Pesci out of retirement once, maybe he can do it again.
When you make a movie set in Japan, it’s a good idea to know what Japan looks like. And how better to do that, than to watch as much Japanese cinema as you can consume? It gets tricky when you’re making a movie set in an era that’s not the present — say, the 17th century — and you can’t just set up a crew in the streets of modern Tokyo. Martin Scorsese said that in order to get the look of his new film Silence, he had to go back in time to the classic Japanese cinema he grew up with.
Martin Scorsese has reportedly been trying to make an English-language adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s novel Silence for upwards of 25 years. Watching the finished movie, it’s easy to see why he fought so hard to make it — and why it took so long to get someone to finance and distribute it. Silence encapsulates many of Scorsese’s most deeply felt themes; ideas about faith, sin, and guilt he’s considered in film after film for decades. But it does so in a package that is slow, dry, and a little monotonous. Fans (there will certainly be some, and not without reason) will hail Silence as a passionate and perceptive career summation. Silence’s critics will likely agree — while wishing that summation wasn’t such a slog.
It’s one of the most famous lines in movie history: “You talkin’ to me?” But did you know that signature dialogue from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver wasn’t even in Paul Schrader’s original script? Robert De Niro improvised it on set, after hearing Bruce Springsteen of all people say it at a concert a few days before shooting the scene. At the concert, during a particularly loud burst of applause, The Boss feigned humility and joked “You talkin’ to me?” De Niro remembered the moment and used it in the film to make history. That’s just one of the facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
As Silence prepares to hit select theaters this weekend (the rest of you will have to wait until January), Paramount has unveiled a new international trailer for Martin Scorsese’s long-developing passion project — an epic drama based on Japanese author Shusaku Endo’s acclaimed novel. There are a couple of notable things about this trailer for Silence: For one, it’s a bit more intense than the domestic versions, and because it’s a Japanese trailer, the Japanese cast members are more prominently featured.
A helpful mantra to repeat to yourself while reading this article might be “I trust Martin Scorsese. I trust Martin Scorsese. I trust Martin Scorsese.” And whatever you do, try to envision Benjamin Button and not, say, a certain baffling posthumous CGI rendering featured in Rogue One. That said, here’s the news: Martin Scorsese is planning to use advanced CGI technology to de-age Robert De Niro in The Irishman — come to think of it, they’ve been planning this movie for so long that de-aging De Niro seems reasonable.