By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire February 16, 2010 at 4:34AM
While Martin Scorsese and Lars von Trier met briefly here at the Berlin International Film Festival, the two filmmakers are not collaborating, a rep for Scorsese told indieWIRE today.
"Unequivocally false" is how Scorsese's frustrated publicist, Leslee Dart of 42 West, characterized the news reports and blog buzz that spread in recent days.
Industry papers here in Berlin were at odds over rumors of a Martin Scorsese - Lars von Trier collaboration on a new "Taxi Driver." Blogs began been buzzing about the possibility yesterday after a Guardian piece and then a thin Variety article, but today that speculation was challenged by Variety rival Screen Daily.
"Scorsese eyes new fare for Taxi Driver," reported the Guardian, in an article early Monday. Variety picked up the bait and lead with, "Berlin and the Internet have been abuzz with rumors of a Martin Scorsese-Robert De Niro-Lars Von Trier collaboration -- and, at least for the time being, they appear to be true."
Variety said that in the spirit of his 2003 film, "The Five Obstructions," von Trier would challenge Scorsese and "Taxi Driver" star Robert DeNiro to remake the 1976 film, setting up certain obstacles for their production, as he did with Jorgen Leth in "Obstructions." The Hollywood trade cited an unnamed Danish publication as the source of its speculation but then added obliquely, "another Danish source confirmed the collaboration."
The Variety piece, written by Gunnar Rehlin, didn't include comments from reps for either Scorsese or von Trier. Like a game of telephone, the story spread with other publications and blogs citing and tweaking the speculation and fueling links on Twitter.
With Martin Scorsese in Berlin over the weekend for his Saturday night debut of "Shutter Island" at the festival and von Trier apparently taking meetings here to raise money for his new film, "Melancholia," speculation intensified.
But today, Screen Daily countered by reaching out to Peter Aalbaek Jensen, von Trier's longtime associate, reporting, "Jensen confirmed the directors had met at the Berlinale but said rumours that von Trier wanted to re-make 'Taxi Driver' were 'rubbish'."
Word of a potential collaboration seemed to stem from comments by Jensen in Danish film magazine Ekko in which he neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, but said, "There will be a statement coming shortly." Today in Screen, though, Jensen was more direct about the situation.
"What is written there is not true," Jensen told Screen in today's report, referring to the Ekko story.
“I have seen it [the story] in the Danish film magazine and what is written there is not true,” von Trier’s business partner Peter Aalbaek Jensen told Screen.
"Thank god that Lars Von Trier/Martin Scorsese remake of 'Taxi Driver' is not happening," one Twitter user wrote today, while The Playlist tweeted, "So the Lars Von Trier/Scorsese 'Obstructions' 'Taxi Driver' is NOT Happening. Shocker."