Memo to Marty Scorsese: Why In God's Name Are You Still Interested In Making Silence?

Martin Scorsese: 'Silence' lawsuit

After reading the statement that Martin Scorsese's representatives released in response to the lawsuit that's been filed against him  by Cecchi Gori Pictures over a project called Silence, I think I can save both sides a bundle in lawyer's fees and, ultimately, production costs.  (If it could actually ever be financed.) 

Both sides of this legal battle should ask themselves a pertinent question: Do you actually think that this movie, if it's ever made, will actually put asses in seats?

Hear me out.  Scorsese is one of my favorite filmmakers, and given his obsession with religion, I'm confident he'd make a compelling adaptation of  Silence, an acclaimed 1966  Shusaku Endo novel about a Jesuit investigating whether his mentor committed apostasy — renounced his beliefs — at  a time when Christians were faced with the prospect of being hung upside down over a pit and slowly bled to death if they refused.

The Christians are essentially coerced into renouncing their faith by stepping on fumie,crudely carved wooden images of Jesus Christ.

Heard enough? Look, movies about the strength of one's beliefs and God's relationship with humanity can be powerful. One of the aspects of Prometheus that I particularly loved was how Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof explored those very deep concepts in their sci-fi blockbuster earlier this summer.

Silence doesn't sound powerful to me, though. It sounds like a ponderous slog that covers territory Scorsese already traversed in The Last Temptation of Christ. More importantly, Silence , just by virtue of its subject matter, has the markings of a small, boutique film. That's not the kind of film Scorsese, one of our greatest living directors, should making in his golden years. I want him doing David Lean-size big-picture stuff like The Wolf of Wall Street, and, I suspect, so do his handlers.

According to Deadline, Cecchi Gori Pictures claims in its lawsuit that it invested more than $750,000 to develop Silence into a feature film based on contracts and assurances that it would be Scorsese’s next project.

Scorsese initally agreed in 1990 to co-produce and direct Silence after he completed Kundun (1997). But the lawsuit alleges Scorsese and Sikelia arranged to postpone starting on Silence so the director could make The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and Hugo (2011).

When Cecchi Gori learned that Scorsese was going to shoot The Wolf of Wall Street instead of Silence, the company claimed breach of contract.

Scorsese's responded to the suit today with the following statement:

"It is shocking to us that the lawyers for Cecchi Gori Pictures would file a suit pursuing such absurd claims considering the amicable working relationship existing between Martin Scorsese and the principals of Cecchi Gori Pictures.The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with, and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year."

The statement added: "The lawsuit filing on the eve of Mr. Scorsese starting another picture has all the earmarks of a media stunt."

Given that the amount of Cecchi Gori's investment isn't even $1 million — a paltry sum in moviemaking terms — there should be a compromise here that enables Cecchi Gori's principals to walk away without feeling like they got burned and for Scorsese to make the movies he wants to make, when he wants to make them. I just hope that Silence isn't one of them.

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Comments

  • li0048 says:

    I only read your first paragraph description of the movie, and automatically decided it sounded boring.

  • Chris says:

    How about you stop speculating what you want him to do, and who gives a shit about his handlers? Its's Marty freaking Scorsese, I think he's earned the right to work on whatever movie he feels passionate about.

    • Frank DiGiacomo says:

      I totally agree with your "Marty freaking Scorsese" assessment. I love his work, but making movies is such an expensive business that genius becomes a liability when it doesn't translate to ticket sales.

  • Aventura says:

    It doesn't sound POWERFUL enough?? And he shouldn't do small (boutique) films but big block-busters instead?? Isn't the point of amassing prestige and power the ability to finally do exactly what YOU want to do instead of what your "handlers" want? Sheesh!

  • Harry says:

    Here's an idea: Instead of dismissing something based on how it "sounds", how about you actually *gasp* read the damn book before you dismiss it based on a couple of story details. I know it's such a tall order to require modern internet writers to actually read and be informed about what they're talking about, but Silence" is actually a great book. And by the way, you know what ELSE "sounds" boring? The plots of almost every movie Scorsese has ever made.

    • Frank DiGiacomo says:

      I never said that 'Silence' was a bad book or that it would make a bad movie. What I'm saying is that, given the state of film financing today, 'Silence' does not have the kind of mass appeal that would make it a big-budget movie. (If it could be financed at all). That means Martin Scorsese, one of our greatest film directors, is going to having to scrimp and cut corners way more than he usually does on a picture. Scorsese has earned the right to make whatever movie he wants to make, but, given his talent and his vision, I want him to be able push his creative impulses in his next movies, not have to rein them in because of a tiny-assed budget.

  • linda says:

    I know it's such a tall order to require modern internet writers to actually read and be informed about what they're talking about, but Silence" is actually a great book. And by the way, you know what ELSE "sounds" boring?I am beautiful woman and I love good man…..inter racial romance is my dream… so I joined —blackwhitеPlanet.С0M—–it's where to- connect with beautiful and excellent peoplehe shouldn't do small (boutique) films but big block-busters instead?? Isn't the point of amassing prestige and power the ability to finally do exactly what YOU want to do instead of what your "handlers" want?

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