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Martin Scorsese’s Silence

It looks like Martin Scorsese is a busy man, with the recently released The Wolf of Wall Street, and the filming of his next HBO pilot ‘The Long Play’ shooting in New York now. The master filmmaker is setting his sights on his next big screen picture: Silence.

Based on the 1966 book of the same name by Japanese author Shusaku Endo, the story follows a 17th Century Portuguese Jesuit Priest, and a missionary who is tasked with taking Christianity to Japan but who faces wicked religious persecution while there.

It’s a film Scorsese has been toying with for some time, but has now been given a late 2015 release date so it can compete in the 2016 Oscars push. If it’s Oscars Scorsese wants, then Oscar-worthy talent is needed, and it appears that Scorsese is already two steps ahead: he’s already found his main cast in the form of Andrew Garfield (Spiderman, and The Social Network), Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, and Taken), Adam Driver (Girls, and Frances Ha), and Ken Watanabe (Godzilla, and The Last Samurai).

Martin Scorsese discussing ‘Silence’ at the Cannes film festival last year.

While some of these actors are tied to a tight schedule at the moment, it seems they are going to have to squeeze Silence into their calendar as filming is reported to begin in Taiwan later this year. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Corsan Entertainment are also believed to be financing the project.

It’s no surprise that Scorsese can’t wait to get production under way as Silence is supposed to handle similar moral themes that the likes of Mean Streets and Goodfellas did. He told this to Total Film recently: “I’ve been working on it since I first read the book in 1989… It goes back to growing up in New York, living in an area that was pretty rough, and also the church at the same time. It’s similar to Mean Streets, in a way. It deals with spiritual matters in a concrete, physical world; a world where invariably the worst of human nature is revealed.”

Scorsese also gave an indication on what kind of tone to expect from Silence, as it is supposed to be a “suspenseful film, with elements of a thriller… as it combines that with themes that were overt in Kundun and Bringing Out the Dead.”

Scorsese hasn’t really done “suspense” since 2010’s Shutter Island, which proved to be a great variation from his usual character-driven crime drama.

Hopefully this will be a faithful adaptation of the book, and that Scorsese, who claimed last year that he didn’t know how many more films he would make, will make Silence something memorable.

Let me know below what you think of Silence being his next project, and whether you have read the book.