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Martin Scorsese talks retirement after a couple more films

Hugo, Martin Scorsese

Story by Jack Foley

LEGENDARY filmmaker Martin Scorsese has hinted that he could retire from directing after a couple more movies.

Speaking at the Marrakech Film Festival, where he served as jury president, the Oscar-winning director – whose hits include The Departed, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver – said that he expects to call it a day soon.

Talking candidly about the demands of the industry and his own life expectancy, the director said: “I have the desire to make many films but as of now, I’m 71 and there’s only a couple more left if I get to make them.

“I miss the time when I had the desire to experiment and try different kinds of films, I miss that time, but that’s done, it’s over. There is obligation as you get older, you have family. I’ve been very lucky in the last 10 years or so to have found projects that combine the desire [and fulfil] the obligation to my family and the financiers.”

Scorsese is due to release his latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, in January.

A three-hour black comedy about the notorious financial fraudster Jordan Belfort, the film is being seen as an Oscar contender and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute.

It marks his fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor he has long held a deep admiration for even when sceptics questioned his initial decision to work with him.

Referring to DiCaprio’s profile after Titanic, Scorsese said that it had been “tricky” casting him in films such as Gangs of New York and The Aviator because “people kept asking me, ‘Is he an actor’?”

“[But] I said yes. I saw What’s Eating Gilbert’s Grape, [and] the film he did with [Robert] de Niro, This Boy’s Life before Titanic. So there’s a stigma there which people still refer to. But we found that he regenerated my enthusiasm for making films… His enthusiasm and excitement really kept me going, for another five pictures now.”

Asked what his remaining films might be, Scorsese ventured that passion project Silence, about two New York Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution after arriving in Japan as missionaries, would almost definitely be one of them.

Alluding to the movie’s themes, which ‘dovetail’ with previous works such as The Last Temptation of Christ, he explained: “I’m just obsessed with this search for a spiritual core in life. And I’m sorry to have to talk in that way about these films, but that is what they are about. I don’t know how else to discuss it other than to make a film about it.”

The second film could well be The Irish Man, his reunion with Robert De Niro, which would follow the true story of Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran. The film would be an adaptation of Charles Brandt’s 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses.

De Niro said that work was ongoing on the project when he visited the UK in October to promote his own latest film, The Family.

He said: “We have another gangster film we’re going to do but it’s a very interesting one. I’m looking forward to it.”

When pushed on when that was likely to commence filming, he added: “We’re preparing it, we have a script and we’re going to… Marty has another film he’s going to do before that one, so we won’t be doing it for a while.”

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