Legendary director Martin Scorsese has spent the past two decades trying to get his passion project, Silence, to the big screen and now he’s finally working on making it a reality. Based on the novel by Shûsaku Endô, it tells the story of two Jesuit priests who face persecution when they travel to Japan in an effort to find their mentor and spread the word of Christianity.
While the filmmaker has been able to assemble an A-list cast over the past couple of years – including Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson – he has been unable to start production due to a lack of funding for the project. That, however, is no longer an issue, as Scorsese’s latest endeavor is fully funded and will begin shooting by the end of the month.
Deadline is reporting that production companies Fábrica de Cine and SharpSword Films will finance the film, and principal photography will commence on January 30 in Taiwan. Paramount will distribute the movie in the U.S. at some point in the future.
In a statement addressing the development, Scorsese seemed very pleased and relieved to have Silence come into fruition:
“I’ve wanted to make ‘Silence’ for almost two decades, and it is finally a reality. It is heartening to have adventurous partners like Fábrica and SharpSword to work with on this picture.”
Though Scorsese is more commonly associated with the gangster/crime genre thanks to the success of acclaimed films like Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street, the director is no stranger to faith-based works either. As evidenced by his 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ, stories about religion interest the director, and he should have a good handle on the material, especially after desiring to make the movie for all these years.
One can see how Silence may be a tough sell to moviegoers when compared to some of the auteur’s recent works, but there are still plenty of reasons to be excited for the film. Never mind the fact that it’s the latest Scorsese flick; it should be refreshing for audiences to see talented thespians like Garfield and Neeson dive into a thematically rich story after their time headlining poorly-received genre pictures. Both actors have displayed impressive dramatic chops in the past, so they should be able to deliver memorable performances for Scorsese as well.
Paramount had originally hoped to release the film during this year, but is now looking to distribute Silence in U.S. theaters in 2016. As always, Scorsese has a busy planner stuffed with several projects in development. Last year, he also became attached to helm a biopic of the rock band The Ramones, and the intention there was to have that film come out in 2016.
The status of Scorsese’s other impending directorial efforts is unknown at this point, so one can only guess how Silence will impact them. Maybe 2016 will see two theatrically released Scorsese films? We wouldn’t complain about that.
Silence will be in theaters at some point during 2016.