Interviews


Martin Scorsese


Occupation: Director
Date of Birth: November 17, 1942
Place of Birth: Queens, N.Y., USA
Sign: Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Aries
Relations: First wife: Laraine Marie Brennan; second wife: Julia Cameron; third wife: Isabella Rossellini; fourth wife: Barbara De Fina; fifth wife: Helen Morris (editor); kids: Catherine Teres Glinora Sophia (with Brennan), Domenica Elizabeth (with Cameron), Francesca (with Morris)
Education: New York University, B.A. in English, M.A. in film

 

MARTIN SCORSESE has been one of America's most critically acclaimed filmmakers for more than 20 years, and he achieved cinematic success with movies that reflect his own Italian-American Catholic upbringing. Scorsese was an asthmatic youngster who spent a great deal of time in movie theaters. He was studying to become a priest, but dropped out of the seminary after his first year, and eventually landed at N.Y.U. film school. He made several well-received student shorts, including It's Not Just You, Murray, his first gangster movie, and Who's That Knocking at My Door, which starred a young Harvey Keitel. With fellow Little Italy native Robert De Niro, Scorsese made the gritty and disturbing Mean Streets and the brilliant and terrifying Taxi Driver, the movie that supposedly drove John Hinckley Jr. to try to assassinate Ronald Reagan (he claimed he was trying to get the attention of Jodie Foster, who played a 12-year old prostitute in the film).

Scorsese tried a change of pace for 1975's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, a feminist movie about a single mother trying to make a life for herself and her son; the film later spawned the television series Alice. Scorsese's finest work from that period has to be Raging Bull (1980). Filmed in stark black-and-white, the film was based on the rise and fall of boxing champion Jake LaMotta and contained the performance of a lifetime by De Niro (he put on over 50 pounds to play LaMotta in his later years). Raging Bull earned an Oscar for De Niro and nominations for Best Film and Director. Scorsese followed with the urban black comedy After Hours and a sequel to The Hustler titled The Color of Money, which not only earned Paul Newman his first Oscar, but proved to mainstream Hollywood that Scorsese could handle big-budget productions.

Scorsese's adaptation of Nikos Katzantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ was called blasphemous by some religious groups, and many protested it. The film was a work from the heart, and though it is a beautiful picture with a soaring Peter Gabriel score, it didn't win the critical acclaim of Scorsese's earlier work. The Oscar-winning GoodFellas, adapted from Nicholas Pileggi's book, Wiseguys, about Henry Hill, a gangster turned informant, was a brilliant, bloody study of the Mafia and a return to classic Scorsese. He followed with the uneven Cape Fear, the beautiful but boring Age of Innocence, a film based on Edith Wharton's book and set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the ruthless Casino. Scorsese's 1997 Disney release, Kundun, an exquisite film about the life of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, so incited the outrage of the Chinese government that the studio hired Henry Kissinger as a consultant for its delicate dealings with officials. He reteamed with screenwriter Paul Schrader (who scripted Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Last Temptation) for the 1999 offering Bringing Out the Dead, which starred Nicolas Cage as a New York City paramedic driven to the breaking point by his profession.

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