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Martin Scorsese Reveals Why He Never Made His Movie About Jesus in New York

At least he made "Silence."

Martin Scorsese


Nearly three decades after he first became interested in adapting Shusaku Endo’s novel, Martin Scorsese has finally released “Silence.” It’s far from his first overtly religious film, preceded as it is by both “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Kundun.” In a new interview with Commonweal, the director touches on another spiritual drama he never had the chance to make in which Jesus comes to present-day New York. (via The Playlist)

READ MORE: ‘Silence’ Featurette: Martin Scorsese and Rodrigo Prieto on the Religious Drama’s Arresting Visuals (Exclusive)

“The popular representation of Jesus in the mind of the average moviegoer was coming out of Cecil B. DeMille. Pretty much all films made on religious subject matter were biblical epics. And the best one, of course, was Pasolini’s ‘Gospel According to St. Matthew,'” explains Scorsese. “My original idea was in the early ‘60s. I had realized you could start making films with 16-millimeter black-and-white, because of John Cassavetes doing ‘Shadows,’ and I had a dream that I could maybe make a film someday. And immediately I thought of making a film of the Gospel, but set on the Lower East Side, in the tenements, in modern dress. And the crucifixion would be on the West Side docks, and in black-and-white.”

READ MORE: Martin Scorsese Reveals the Status of His Upcoming Film ‘Devil in the White City’ With Leonardo DiCaprio

Despite his inspiration, Scorsese says the bar had already been set too high for him to move forward with the project: “And then I saw Pasolini’s ‘Gospel,'” he continues, “and I said, ‘No, there’s no way for me to do it.'” Read the full interview here.

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