by Chris MaGee
How long have the rumors of Martin Scorsese helming an adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel "Silence" been floating around? Seems like forever, or at least since the beginning of 2009, which was when we started to post about this potential project for the award-winning "Taxi Driver" and "Goodfellas" director. (Read our previous coverage here.) Now, after nearly three years of waiting, it looks as if Scorsese is finally ready to to take on this historic tale of the martyrdom of Christians by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 17th-century Nagasaki.
According to Collider.com Scorsese, whose 3D family film "Hugo" is currently packing theatres, has been quoted as saying, “I’m hoping to do Endo’s book next, 'Silence'… Not hoping, we’re literally pulling all the elements together at this point.” Elements for this production have actually been slowly being pulled together for a while now. Back in 2009 producer Bennet Walsh and art director Dante Ferretti both made trips to Nagasaki to do research and location scouting for the film; plus two big name actors have long had their names attached to the film -- Benicio Del Toro and Daniel Day-Lewis. It was just this past week that Del Toro hosted a screening of Kaneto Shindo's 1960 film "The Naked Island" at Los Angeles' Silent Movie Theatre. Del Toro is an ardent fan of Shindo, as the clip of an interview between the two from last year (below) can attest. Of course, many of you will know that Shindo directed his own adaptation of Endo's novel in 1971. This would strongly indicate that Del Toro is still connected with Scorsese's "Silence". The question remains, though, is Day-Lewis also still on board? The infamously rigorous method actor is currently prepping to portray Abraham Lincoln for Steven Spielberg, and many are asking if he can switch gears so quickly from a historic president to a Jesuit priest in Nagasaki.
The big question for Japanese film fans is who will be cast in the Japanese roles for "Silence"? It's here that we move into pure speculation, although one name keeps popping up again and again -- Koji Yakusho. Besides the 55-year-old star of "Shall We Dance?" and "13 Assassins" though any of Japan's current crop of A-list stars could be in the running for roles in Scorsese's production. We will continue to monitor this developing story and bring you more on potential Japanese casting for Martin Scorsese's "Silence" as news comes out.