Director Martin Scorsese rejects the claim that his films lack prominent female characters. Scorsese has been popping up frequently in the news lately due to his new film The Irishman, which is primed to be a darling of the upcoming awards season. The film, starring Robert De Niro as hitman Frank Sheeran and co-starring Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, will have a limited theatrical run beginning on November 1 before debuting on Netflix on November 27.
As Scorsese promotes The Irishman, he has spoken out on a variety of topics, most notably being the current trend of comic book movies hitting movie theaters. He has gained both supporters and critics for these comments, with The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola agreeing with him and MCU cast members like Natalie Portman and Sebastian Stan disagreeing. This new statement from him has shaken up the conversation.
As reported by Deadline, Scorsese was asked during a press conference at the Rome Film Fest about the lack of leading female characters in his films. His response to the question was, "That’s not even a valid point. It’s a question I’ve had for so many years. It is a waste of everybody’s time." He then went on to say that his films feature female leads "if a story calls for a female lead," and referenced some of said films, including The Age of Innocence and Casino.
The Irishman itself mainly focuses on men, with the story following De Niro's Frank Sheeran throughout his life as he looks back on it. Pacino plays Jimmy Hoffa, Sheeran's boss and friend who disappeared in 1975. Reviews have mentioned a few smaller parts for women being featured in the film, with Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran the most prominent. Even then, however, it has been said she is not given much to do.
In this day and age, when audiences are pushing for more diversity in their entertainment, the lack of female roles in big films is a valid criticism to make. Women have often been relegated to supporting roles, and it is tiring to see it happen again and again. Scorsese's comments come off as rather insensitive, completely ignoring the concerns people have. Scorsese is a well-respected director who has made some of the most iconic films of all time. He has earned his right to share his thoughts on the filmmaking process, but he also should realize other people can criticize those thoughts.
Regardless, The Irishman has received positive reviews from film festival screenings. It is currently standing at a rare 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, though that will likely slip closer to the release as movies that achieve that incredible distinction rarely hold onto it. With awards season fast approaching, the buzz will only increase from here.
- The Irishman (2019) release date: Nov 27, 2019