Paramount Pictures is in talks to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Silence, and the tentative plan is to release the film November 2015, right in that holiday corridor where awards-bait pictures dwell. Silence is one of those pictures on Scorsese’s bucket list, an adaptation of the Shusako Endo novel that Scorsese has longed to make for more than a decade. The project finally came together when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films principals Randall Emmett and George Furla committed the production financing, with Corsan Entertainment co-financing. Shooting will get underway in Taiwan. The film takes place in the 17th century, where two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread Christianity. The script is by Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York scribe Jay Cocks, and the filmmaker has pulled together a cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver.
Emmett and Furla are producing with Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Irwin Winkler. Paramount seems a logical landing place for Silence. While Red Granite funded The Wolf Of Wall Street, Paramount released the film, which was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture. The studio also distributed Shutter Island and Hugo. Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions is Paramount-based and the filmmaker has a strong relationship with Brad Grey, a producer on The Departed who didn’t get a Best Picture Oscar because Grey took the top Paramount job.
EXCLUSIVE: Liam Neeson will star with Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe in Silence, the Martin Scorsese-directed adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about 17th century Jesuits who to try bring Christianity to isolated Japan. The film is being financed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis, Corsan and A1. Emmett/Furla/Oasis just funded Lone Survivor. The script is by Jay Cocks and Scorsese and production will begin in Taiwan later this year.
Related: Martin Scorsese Tests Out Script For Mob Drama ‘The Irishman’, But ‘Silence’ Is His Next Pic
Neeson is scheduled to reprise in Taken 3, but while Neeson has remade himself as an action star, Silence brings him back to the kind of work he did in Schindler’s List and in the Scorsese-directed Gangs Of New York. The film is produced by Irwin Winkler, Randall Emmett and George Furla, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Checchi Gori, Barbara DeFina and Paul Breuls, with Niels Juul exec producing. Neeson, who next stars in the action film Non-Stop, voices a role in The Lego Movie, and stars in the Seth MacFarlane-directed A Million Ways To Die In The West and A Walk Among The Tombstones, is repped by CAA.
Related: Martin Scorsese Settles ‘Silence’ Suit
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More than a year and a half after Martin Scorsese was sued by producer Cecchi Gori for not directing Silence, the two sides have worked out a deal. “The matter has been settled in its entirety,” said a 1-page order from LA Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis. The January 17 order (read it here) offered no details of the settlement. On August 22, 2012, Gori Pictures went after Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions for breach of written contract for allegedly constantly pushing back his commitment to direct an adaptation of Shusako Endo’s novel about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who travel Japan to investigate reports of Christians persecuted and tortured by the Emperor of Japan. Claiming that they had invested more than $750,000 in the project, Cecchi Gori wanted millions in producer fees plus credits and 20% of Scorsese/Sikelia’s backend participation on “each feature film that Scorsese should direct after Hugo and before Silence (including without limitation Wolf of Wall Street),” said their complaint. In response, the director said the “meritless action” suit had “all the earmarks of a media stunt.” The two sides kept grinding away and after various filings put a stop on the court clock to work on a settlement.
Related: Liam Neeson To Star In Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ Read More »
Doing something he says he has never done in his entire career, director Martin Scorsese has come to Cannes to personally sell a film to foreign buyers. But it is not just any film but rather a passion project called Silence he has been hoping to bring to the screen for 23 years. The adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about Jesuits and the dawn of Christianity in 17th Century Japan is not the kind of thing studios are rushing to make but Scorsese, who actually toyed with becoming a priest at one time, is determined to make it.
Related: Martin Scorsese To Make Noise On ‘Silence’ At Cannes
Today Emmett/Furla Productions threw a reception with Scorsese on the Johnny Walker And Sons Voyager Yacht where the Oscar-winning film icon basically pitched his wares. When I sat down to speak with him he said he was starting to lose his voice after two days in Cannes meeting buyers and convincing them that he was really going to finally roll cameras on the movie he has had in development longer than any other. “I think this is the first time I have done this, to sell a movie, but it’s a special picture. I have been working on it since 1989. Everytime it started to move away from me I went back to try to get it. It’s one I really want to make and I … Read More »
CANNES: Below I’ve compiled this year’s list of what Cannes films are most often being mentioned by potential buyers. But already there’s been a bit of action in the marketplace, with Warner Bros acquiring domestic on the Ryan Gosling-directed How To Catch A Monster. Sellers feel a good appetite for deal-making is in the air. “This has been the busiest month we’ve had going into a Cannes Film Festival. The frenetic activity has never been this intense,” said Roeg Sutherland, who runs CAA’s independent film operation with Micah Green. “It’s not that a lot of new companies are jumping in like they did last year. But we’re seeing those companies coming back here with good slates, which is the healthiest thing for everybody.” I can tell you that sellers this year are cautiously optimistic this Cannes market will be closer to 2011′s when sales were made on the basis of sizzle reels. (Harvey Weinstein made a big bet on The Iron Lady after watching seven minutes of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Rian Johnson’s Looper sold on the basis of preview reels as well.) Not even rain in the forecast for the next couple of days can depress the upbreat attitudes here. After all, at last Cannes, the sellers market on the Croisette belonged to the umbrella salesman getting 40 Euros a pop in a nonstop torrential downpour that put a figurative damper on the entire market. We all known you cannot measure the success of Cannes the way you can Toronto and Sundance. If buyers don’t buy, sellers are in trouble. Here, a chance conversation with a high net worth individual can make the whole Cannes experience worthwhile. This is a festival of intangibles, and players have to make the time to hustle at the Hotel Du Cap where the billionaire investors roam and the movie stars are stashed until they have to come to the Croisette for premieres. That’s as glitzy as it gets here, but sellers and buyers tell me they do most of their business over a drink at the Carlton and Majestic Hotels, and to a lesser degree the Martinez. Agents especially have “how I won the war” Cannes stories of unexpected encounters that turned into game-changing deals.
Related: Hammond: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years
“Beyond the competition and the exposure that is so good for the careers of your clients, it is an important place to create a moment that leads to films getting financed,” said UTA’s Rich Klubeck. “Two years ago, we met with the guys at Studio Canal who’d said they missed being in business with Joel and Ethan Coen. We had another meeting in New York and they wrote the check for Inside Llewyn Davis, which premieres here. It could not have been a better situation. They have proven to be perfect partners.” That deal allowed the Coens and producer Scott Rudin to shoot the 1960s folk movie without pressure to find early domestic distribution. The picture went to CBS Films after the filmmakers showed the finished product to a crowd of buyers. “We got to take our time, hear the marketing plans offered by each distributor, and pick the perfect situation,” Klubeck told me. “This is a good place where a lot of stuff happens.” Read More »
Martin Scorsese has his Jesuit. Andrew Garfield will play the lead role of Father Rodrigues in the director’s upcoming Silence. Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr first broke the news of the project on April 19. Variety first reported Garfield joining the long in the works film today. Silence is an adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about 17th century Jesuits who to try bring Christianity to isolated Japan. Inception’s Ken Watanabe is also joining the film as the Jesuit’s interpreter. Financing is coming from Emmett/Furla Films and Paul Breuls and Corsan Films. Shooting from a script by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, the intention is to shoot Silence in Taiwan in July 2014. Wantanabe is repped by WME and ROAR. Garfield, who has also signed up for another stint as Spider-Man, is repped by CAA stateside and Gordon and French in the UK.
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese will finally realize his long-held dream to direct Silence, an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel about 17th century Jesuits who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan. Financing for the film has been secured by Emmett/Furla Films and Paul Breuls and his Corsan Films. The plan is to shoot in Taiwan in July 2014, depending on cast, from a script by Jay Cocks and Scorsese.
I’m told that things are moving fast on this and that they are all making plans for Scorsese to come to Cannes and launch the picture. Talks are underway with Graham King for his ownership stake in the script. Numerous sales companies have been vying to handle foreign rights, but that task will fall to Len Blavatnik and Stuart Ford, who’ll jointly handle foreign on the film for Emmett/Furla through their respective Axis Films and IM Global.
The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler, Emmett and Furla, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Checchi Gori, and Barbara DeFina, with Niels Juul exec producing. Scorsese will jump into the film after he completes The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Scorsese has wanted to make Silence since 1991. He has gotten close numerous times, with actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal among those mentioned over the years. But the pic has always gotten pushed, and there was even a lawsuit over how long it all took. Even that didn’t dampen Scorsese’s passion. It is not the easiest or most commercial project, but when a master like Scorsese is so passionate about a movie that it sticks with him more than 20 years, he’s going to find a way to make it, and now he has. He’s repped by WME and Rick Yorn. This is another big step for Emmett/Furla, which has films upcoming that include the Peter Berg-directed Lone Survivor and the Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg-starrer 2 Guns. Getting in business with Scorsese is a prestige play, and with the reticence of major studios to take big chances on proven filmmakers, it shows the opportunity for an indie company with backing and balls. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: For my part, Martin Scorsese can’t make enough movies. But he’s trying. Scorsese, who is completing The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, just held a reading of Steve Zaillian’s script at the Tribeca Film Center for The Irishman, the mob drama based on the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses. The film is about mob hit man Frank Sheeran. Robert De Niro, who’ll play the lead character, was there, as was Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, also expected to take part. Project is set up at Paramount, but several financiers were there looking to invest.
I’m told by Scorsese’s camp that this is something Scorsese likes to do to make sure the picture is making proper progress. But they assure me he’s not making The Irishman next. Scorsese’s holding fast to his dream of making Silence the next film he directs. Scorsese, who almost had the Shusaku Endo book project together several times, is auditioning actors and is looking to start production on the film in mid-2014. Given De Niro’s resurgence in Silver Linings Playbook, how can we wait that long to see the actor get back in business with Scorsese?
BREAKING: Martin Scorsese has fired back at Cecchi Gori Pictures after the company sued him for not directing Silence, the long gestating adaptation of the Shusako Endo novel. Cecchi Gori filed sued suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday claiming that Scorsese breached his agreement by not making it his next film. The director’s next is The Wolf Of Wall Street. I’ve followed Silence for years and while Scorsese had hoped to make it several times, getting funding for a film about a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th Century Japan hasn’t been an easy sell to financiers. Here’s Scorsese’s reply to the lawsuit:
“It is shocking to us that the lawyers for Cecchi Gori Pictures would file a suit pursuing such absurd claims considering the amicable working relationship existing between Martin Scorsese and the principals of Cecchi Gori Pictures.The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with, and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year.
The lawsuit filing on the eve of Mr. Scorsese starting another picture has all the earmarks of a media stunt.
Mr. Scorsese is confident that he will prevail in court should Cecchi Gori Pictures actually pursue this meritless action.”
You can read the lawsuit here. Cecchi Gori Pictures and Cecchi Gori USA filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court today against director Martin Scorsese and his production company Sikelia Productions. Cecchi Gori says it invested more than $750,000 to develop the book Silence into a feature film based on contracts and assurances by Scorsese and Sikelia that it would be Scorsese’s next project. Scorsese initally agreed in 1990 to co-produce and direct Silence after he completed Kundun (1997). But the lawsuit alleges Scorsese and Sikelia arranged to postpone starting on Silence so the director could make The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and Hugo (2011). Earlier this year, Deadline reported that Scorsese planned to make The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio. This was news to Cecchi Gori, which notified Scorsese/Sikelia of their alleged breach of contract on Silence and for not paying the agreed-upon financial and production credit consideration for Hugo. Silence is based on the novel by Shusako Endo about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries who are sent to Japan to investigate reports of Christians persecuted and tortured by the Emperor of Japan.
Related: Martin Scorsese Commits To ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’