Fresh off last year’s conclusion to “Boardwalk Empire,” HBO’s Prohibition-era portrait of corrupt Atlantic City pol Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), Martin Scorsese’s showed no signs of throttling back in 2015. In addition to directing the pilot of HBO’s highly anticipated rock ‘n’ roll period piece, “Vinyl,” and wrapping production on the long-gestating “Silence,” Scorsese is back in the mob drama saddle, executive producing Nick Sandow’s second feature, “The Wannabe.”
Sandow, best known for playing Litchfield’s Joe Caputo on “Orange is the New Black,” wrote, directed, and co-stars in the film—with echoes of Scorsese’s own “Goodfellas”—which stars Vincent Piazza (“Boardwalk Empire”) as Thomas, a young man from the Bronx eager to get in with the mob in the early 1990s. When his attempt to fix John Gotti’s trial goes south, Thomas and his girlfriend, Rose (“Boyhood” Oscar winner Patricia Arquette), embark on a risky crime spree, robbing local Mafia hangouts. Co-starring “Sopranos” vet Michael Imperioli and co-executive produced by Dean Devlin (“Independence Day”), “The Wannabe” hits theaters and VOD December 4.
It’s part and parcel of Scorsese’s ongoing late-career interests. Last year’s lit doc “The 50 Year Argument,” co-directed with David Tedeschi, reveled in the mid-20th century intellectual hothouse of the New York Review of Books, and he still plans to bring “Sinatra,” his biopic of Ol’ Blue Eyes—in the works since at least 2009—to fruition. “Vinyl,” written by Terence Winter (“Boardwalk Empire”) and executive produced with Mick Jagger, features Bobby Canavale as record-label head Richie Finestra, who makes his way, with wife Devon (Olivia Wilde), through the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll world of 1970s music production. The series debuts on HBO next year.
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Though domestic distributor Paramount has pushed “Silence,” Scorsese’s adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel about Portuguese Jesuits facing
violence and persecution while on a mission to remote 17th-century
Japan, to 2016, the delay is minor compared to Scorsese’s two-decade pursuit of the project. And the director always likes to fuss in the editing room as long as possible. (Foreign markets will be handled by AI Films/IM Global.) The film, shot in Taiwan on the suggestion of Ang Lee, stars Andrew Garfield (“99 Homes”) as the agonized Father Rodrigues, and also features Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, and Ciaran Hinds.
Though 72-year-old Scorsese told film students in Marrakech in 2013 that he had only a few films left in him, it appears that he’s not ready to pull back quite yet.