It was 1989 when famed American filmmaker Martin Scorsese read Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel “Silence.”
The novel is about 17th century Jesuits who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan. Since that day Scorsese has been planning to adapt Endo’s novel. He quickly snapped up the film rights, but it was not until 2013 that he managed to kick together the finance and begin work on this epic.
Adapting the novel has long been a dream project for Scorsese and the project has been in the works for nearly three decades. Scorsese says that during those years, he re-read Silence, the novel, countless times. He has gotten close numerous times, with actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro, and Gael Garcia Bernal being attached to it. However, Silence entered a state of hiatus soon afterward, with Scorsese deciding to work on Shutter Island and Hugo instead.
Finally, in 2013 it was announced that Scorsese would begin shooting Silence in July 2014, with a new cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver. Paramount has now premiered the first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s religious epic Silence.
Andrew Garfield plays Father Sebastiao Rodrigues, a missionary joined by Father Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver) in his journey through Japan to locate his spiritual mentor, played by Liam Neeson. The Martin Scorsese film would be the second movie based on Shusaku Endo’s novel of the same name. It was previously adapted by Masahiro Shinoda into a 1971 film of the same name. Silence will be Scorsese’s first film since 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
In order to complete his dream project, Scorsese didn’t take a fee for it, and actors Driver, Garfield, and Neeson worked for much less than their usual quote. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver were mentored by a Jesuit just to get into character.
Adam Driver is reported to have lost nearly a third of his weight for the role during a four-and-a-half-month period. “It’s about control, and as an actor, you want to have control. But it’s also about suffering: It gives you information you can use in the role,” he told the Times.
Garfield spent nearly a year learning about the Jesuit faith to prepare for his role. “If I’d had 10 years, it wouldn’t have been enough to prepare for this role,” he said.
He even spent a seven-day silence retreat at St. Bueno’s Jesuit house in Wales. “You are walking, talking, praying with Jesus, suffering with him. And it’s devastating to see someone who has been your friend, whom you love, be so brutalized.”
The film was shot entirely in Taipei, Taiwan and the total number of cast and crew reached 750 people. Producer Irwin Winkler stated the choice to film in Taiwan was due to lower costs.
Filming was officially due to begin on 30th January, 2015, but not everything went as planned for Scorsese, when on the 29th of January a construction worker was killed and two others were injured when a ceiling collapsed on them.
The world premiere was at the Vatican on November 29. Silence will be shown on December 23 in the USA and on 1 January in the UK. You can watch the trailer below.