You might think that a filmmaking legend on the scale of Martin Scorsese wouldn’t have any trouble walking into any studio around town and getting a picture financed and made, but that’s not the case. At 73 years-old, the titan of American filmmaking still has to prove his projects are fiscally responsible investments, and when it comes to his long gestating dream project “Silence,” it’s easy to see why some executives might not be ready to hand over their cash. A movie we’re (prematurely) predicting to be a contender the 2017 Oscars in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor fields, the adaptation of Shüsaku Endō’s novel starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver, is set in the 17th century and follows two 17th-century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and spread the gospel of Christianity. In short, no superheroes, no special effects, no four-quadrant appeal. So how did Scorsese finally manage to get it made? He took a pay cut, along with everyone else.
“It was very, very expensive, and it was budgeted, because it takes place in 1670 in Japan. We got lucky and found out about Taipei, and in and around Taipei and Taiwan, we found great, great locations. The prices were very cheap, and we were able to make it for a price,” producer Irwin Winkler told THR about how the movie finally was able to go into production. “And all the actors, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, everybody worked for scale. Marty worked for scale, I worked for under scale. [Laughs] We gave back money.”
“…we all really decided, we’re gonna put all the money into the picture, so nobody got paid. So that’s how we got that made,” he added.
Currently in post, Scorsese and (99.9% guaranteed) Thelma Schoonmaker are editing the picture, and Winkler says the movie will “come out at the end of the year.” So get ready, awards season.