Martin Scorcese’s Next Project – Silence – Will Star Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe

Liam Neeson, Gangs of New York

Silence, Martin Scorcese’s next film, will reunite him with Gangs of New York star Liam Neeson (the first 15 minutes of that film is one of my favorite openings of all-time) as well as Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe.  The film will be an adaptation of  Shusaku Endo’s novel about 17th century Jesuits who to try bring Christianity to isolated Japan. Scorsese has been trying to make this movie since 1991.  It promises to be extremely different in tone than his recent films.Andrew Garfield will play “Father Rodrigues, a 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit who travels to Japan with a fellow priest amid rumors that Rodrigues’ mentor has abandoned the Church. It is a moment of religious persecution in the Asian nation, with Christians forced to practice their faith clandestinely. Watanabe will portray the priests’ interpreter.”  Neeson he will play the mentor, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira.

Young Portuguese Jesuit, Sebastião Rodrigues (based on the historical figure Giuseppe Chiara) is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy. (Ferreira is a historical figure, who apostatized after torture and later became a Zen monk and wrote a treatise against Christianity.)
Fr. Rodrigues and his companion Fr. Francisco Garrpe arrive in Japan in 1638. There they find the local Christian population driven underground. Security officials force suspected Christians to trample on fumie, which are crudely carved images of Christ. Those who refuse are imprisoned and killed by anazuri (穴吊り), being hung upside down over a pit and slowly bled. Those Christians who do step on the image to stay hidden are deeply shamed by their act of apostasy. 

9 thoughts on “Martin Scorcese’s Next Project – Silence – Will Star Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe”

  1. Gangs of New York might not be Scorcesse’s best film, but it’s probably my favorite (it’s one of those weird deals). And I get the feeling that if the last third didn’t have such choppy editing (the studio’s fault) it would be very close to his best film. It was important to cast an actor with heft in the role of Priest Vallon, because after the first fifteen minutes his specter looms over the entire movie. Neeson makes such an impression in such a tiny role; that’s one of the hallmarks of a truly great actor. Lately he seems to be taking the work he can get, and I can’t fault him for that; if someone paid me millions of dollars to be in the A-Team, I would take the money and run. But I’d like to see Neeson start returning to roles with more heft, and it appears that this new character will have plenty. Also, I am SO happy that Scorcesse is making Silence and not another movie about sociopaths. In fact, Wolf of Wall Street is the ultimate sociopath movie, and would work very well as Scorcesse’s last word on the subject, if he chose to move on.

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    1. I love the A-Team. It’s the ultimate dumb awesome summer movie. I hate Taken, Taken 2, The Grey, and the one I forget where everyone forgets him. I was laughing at Taken in the theater. When an actual Shiekh with an actual pleasure barge showed up, I lost it a little. I may have snorted coke up my nose (and not in a Wolf of Wall Street sort of way).

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      1. I actually quite liked Taken. I was startled that they made a sequel, and that Neeson was in it. But it’s OK, because he is not the character from those films. He is Oskar Schindler and always will be. That movie made him an icon, and nothing will ever take that away.

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  2. Wow, no Leonardo? That is a surprise, but not necessarily a bad thing. Taken 2 ruined my interpretation of Neeson, but hopefully he can win it back with this film. The plot does not sound that exciting, but I am sure Scorcese will not disappoint.

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    1. I actually was surprised no DiCaprio because he’s not committed to any movie so I thought he was waiting for Scorcese to move on his next thing. Neeson used to be so highly regarded as a classical, traditional actor. He had his very odd, very successful action star phase, but he needs to get back to his roots as he’s aging.

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      1. Gangs of New York and The Departed are both wonderful, some of the best work DiCaprio and Scorcesse have ever done, together or apart. The Aviator not so much. And I couldn’t stand Shutter Island. So DiCaprio and Scorcesse have kind of had a dodgy professional partnership up to this point. They are still a long way from Kurosawa and Mifune, or Burton and Depp (I mean in their glory days), and I’m not yet at the point where I look forward to their collaborations. Let them take a break from each other; if a filmmaker and a star become too simpatico, there’s no one to shoot down bad ideas.
        Have you seen the trailer for Non Stop, where Neeson plays an air marshall? Let’s just say that Silence is coming in the nick of time.

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      2. Yeah, I wonder what the reasoning was. Exactly, and now he is just resorting to the same type of character every-time. I will still watch his next film Non-Stop, but reckon it will be a time passer, and nothing more.

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  3. Well swap The Departed and Shutter Island and that’s how I feel. Wolf of Wall Street worked out pretty well for both. The Aviator was a good performance but not a good movie. Gangs had a great start and an amazing Lewis performance but the movie is seriously uneven. DiCaprio is unique in that he doesn’t have several projects lined up but I’m sure he’ll jump on something soon. Neeson needs an intervention at this point before he makes a movie with Nic Cage.

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    1. But a Con Air/Non Stop crossover writes itself.
      I am a HUGE fan of Gangs of New York, yet I am convinced that it would have been much better still if the studio had allowed Scorcesse to make it the length he wanted. I sense that the cuts were so tough to make that Scorcesse had difficulty even salvaging the film. The fact that he did is proof that he’s Martin Scorcesse.
      I gather that you enjoy reading about history. If you haven’t already, check out the book The Gangs of New York, a nonfiction journalistic account of what it was like in NY back then. It was the basis for the film, and, if you can believe it, the conditions in the Five Points were actually quite a bit worse than what was depicted on screen.

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