Silence: Liam Neeson Talks Martin Scorsese's Directing Style

Liam Neeson in 'Taken 3'

Few directors working today can maintain the consistency of Martin Scorsese. The New York auteur has been an omnipresent force in the film industry since the early 1970s, producing acclaimed urban dramas with startling regularity. Scorsese's upcoming film, Silence, is a historical drama that will take the director out of the city and across the Pacific, for a movie headlined by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

In addition to these two up and coming headliners, Scorsese's upcoming film will reunite him with a familiar face. Salty action hero Liam Neeson is returning to Scorsese's lens for the first time since 2002's Gangs of New York, and seems to maintain a genuine sense of excitement about working with the iconic director.

Neeson opened up about working with Scorsese again on Silence, during a recent press conference at the Los Cabos International Film Festival (hat tip Collider). Throughout the press event he emphasized the notion that Scorsese is very much an actor's director - one who always provides ample preparation and a suitable environment to deliver a performance:

Who’s going to turn down a job with Martin Scorsese... He’s a very special director and for actors he’s exceptional. His level of concentration and focus, what he prepares for the actors before you come on set is just wonderful.

However, with that excitement comes a certain degree of expectations. Neeson elaborated further on the regimented and rigorous style in which Scorsese conducts his sets:

Martin is intimidating.. He’s legendary — so as a performer you have to get over that. I had to get over that…He require[s] absolute silence on set, like everybody has to stop work when he’s giving a direction or explaining a scene. I mean everybody — the guy that’s painting 400 yards away has to stop. If he hears one tiny sound it’s shattered for him so he commands that respect. He commands that silence and especially for this film it was necessary.

You can get you first look at a twenty pounds-lighter Neeson in Silence, below (via Variety):

Liam Neeson in Silence

Scorsese has clearly fine-tuned his style down to a science over the last few decades. With literally dozens of films to his name, he has more experience than the majority of filmmakers working today -- quite literally commanding the respect of those working under him. However, Silence stands out from the rest of Scorsese's filmography; it has existed as his passion project for the better part of the last thirty years. Indeed, according to his producing partner Gaston Pavlovich, Silence is "[Scorsese's] true legacy."

The casting Neeson no doubt helped the production of Silence. Based on the 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō, Silence centers upon a Jesuit priest and his endurance of religious prosecution in 17th century Japan. It would most certainly be easy to argue that this is the least Scorsese movie the director has ever produced, and bringing Neeson in may've eased the burden of trying something new. Then again, at this stage in his career perhaps that simply is not a problem for Scorsese anymore.

Silence is expected to reach U.S. theaters in 2016.

Source: Collider, Variety

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