Thursday, February 12, 2009

Martin Scorsese's "Silence" one step closer to becoming a reality

by Chris MaGee

Only about a week ago we told you about how Martin Scorsese was bound and determined to make a remake of Masahiro Shinoda's "Silence" his next film project. Now according to the Asahi Shimbun the "Taxi Driver" and "Goodfellas" director is another step closer to making this happen.

Producer Bennet Walsh and art director and frequent Scorsese collaborator Dante Ferretti are currently in the middle of a week long trip in Nagasaki where they are scouting locations and making visits to both the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture and the Endo Shusaku Literary Museum for inspiration. The novel by Shusaku Endo on which Shinoda's 1971 film was based was set in 17th-century Nagasaki and tells the story of of two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to investigate the apparent apostasy (renunciation of faith) of their mentor. What they discover when they arrive is that the Tokugawa Shogunate has just defeated a Christian uprising and that the faith has been driven underground. Ferretti (above right) was especially intrigued by a plaque depicting Chritian images that the Tokugawa Shogunate forced believers to step on to renounce their faith, and both men will be visiting the nearby Goto Islands where Christians secretly practiced their religion during this time of persecution.

The very good news in the Asahi report is that filming is apparently already set to begin in New Zealand in August with the "Silence" slated for a 2010 release. Both Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro are in talks to star in the film, as well as "Blindness" and "Babel" star Gael Garcia Bernal. Apparently the cast will be rounded out by Japanese actors although no names have yet been announced for what will undoubtedly be highly coveted roles.

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