Oscar winning director Martin Scorsese’s long awaited film Silence is due out in theaters this year, although a release date has not yet been set. The story follows two Jesuit priests as they face violence and persecution while traveling to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity during the seventeenth century.
Jay Cocks adapted the screenplay from a 1966 novel written by Shūsaku Endō. Cocks previously wrote the screenplays for two Scorsese films (Gangs of New York and The Age of Innocence), which both garnered several Academy Award nominations. Silence is currently in post-production, and has generated considerable buzz surrounding the challenges of making this film.
Silence has been in development for nearly two decades with multiple production delays and casting changes. Cocks had written an early draft of the film in the 1990s with Scorsese intending to direct, however the production was put on hold because of the inability to find sufficient financing for the project. Three-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis (who worked with Scorsese on both The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York) was slated to play the lead role, but was forced to drop out when the production schedule came to a halt.
Production delays continued to plague the project with Scorsese busy directing an impressive list of Academy Award nominated films like Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, and The Aviator. Scorsese finally took home the Oscar for Best Director in 2007 for The Departed. It wasn’t until 2014 that Paramount acquired the distribution rights and decided to move forward with production.
Silence was especially difficult to shoot because much of the film required the use of remote locations throughout Taiwan and East Asia. The production started to take shape when Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson (who also worked with Scorsese on Gangs of New York) joined the cast and reportedly lost more than 20 pounds for the lead role. Scorsese quickly signed notable young actors Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) to help tell the story.
Scorsese has previously explored faith-based subject matter in films such as The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997), but Silence will most certainly prove to be a shining example of his commitment and dedication to the art of filmmaking. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the film in theaters late this year.