After months of anticipation and an outstanding official trailer, Martin Scorsese’s religious epic “Silence” is finally getting ready for release in just under a month, which means the publicity tour for stars Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield is ready to take shape. Driver, who has Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” also coming out this holiday season, recently sat down with his “While We’re Young” director Noah Baumbach for Interview Magazine (via The Film Stage) and opened up for the first time about the grueling “Silence” shoot.
“[Scorsese] asked us to lose weight,” says Driver, who reportedly lost up to 40 pounds to play the role of a Portuguese priest on a mission in 17th century Japan to locate his mentor. “I don’t think I’ve ever taken it to the extreme before. It’s an interesting thing. You’re so hungry and so tired at some points that there’s nothing you can do—you’re not adding anything on top of what you’re doing. You only have enough energy to convey what you’re doing, so it’s great. There are other times where a scene’s not working and you don’t have the energy to figure out why it’s not working.”
Driver teases that as the film begins, the characters, Driver’s Francisco Garrpe and Andrew Garfield’s Sebastião Rodrigues, have already been traveling for two years from Portugal to Macau, noting that disease and shortages of food have taken their hold. “They’re already kind of depleted when they get to Macau before their last leg to Japan,” he says. “When we come in, the stakes are already so high, and then we continue to lose weight.”
The trailer showed off a shockingly thin-looking Driver, so it appears he did at least part of the job very well. The actor also talked about working with Scorsese at large, comparing him to Jarmsuch and the freedom the two allowed him to create and mold his characters. Driver expected an icon like Scorsese to have instructions set for him, but the surprise of working with the director was just how rebellious he wanted him to be.
“He hires you for your ideas and wants you to take ownership of it,” Driver said. “It’s really inspiring to work with someone who’s accomplished so much and is the tip of the pyramid and is still turning to you and wants your ideas and opinions.”
“Silence,” which has been an obsession for the director to make for the last 28 years, world premiered at the Vatican yesterday. It previously screened for members of the National Board of Review, who apparently adored it considering it won Best Adapted Screenplay prize and naming it one of the year’s best films. Paramount releases it in theaters December 23.