What’s Next for Scorsese? It’s Definitely Not a ‘Taxi Driver’ Remake

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver

Based on how the most recent “Lars von Trier challenges Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro to remake Taxi Driver” rumor panned out you would think a lesson would be learned in jumping to silly conclusions based on nothing but speculation. Even Variety got in the game yesterday as the rumor began to swirl and they saw a moment to get in on the hit-counting frenzy.

The rumor began at the Danish site Ekko, which said the film would be made in the same vein as Jorgen Leth’s The Five Obstructions, which was a challenge offerd up by von Trier to have Leth remake his own to do 1967 film The Perfect Human, but only under certain stipulations. The film was to be remade as five short films, each with a different (and seemingly impossible) challenge such as remaking the film in 12 frames or less or making the film animated.

The truth of the matter is that while von Trier and Scorsese did take a meeting together, Zentropa sources have been busy denying the rumors. “I have seen [the story] in the Danish film magazine and what is written there is not true,” von Trier’s business partner Peter Aalbaek Jensen told Screen Daily calling the rumors “rubbish.” Instead, Screen Daily confirms von Trier’s next film as Melancholia which is set to start shooting in Sweden in June.

Jensen commented on the highly secretive disaster film saying, “It’s a beautiful story about the end of the world, [and] as always with Lars Von Trier, it will be extremely cynical but also extremely emotional. It’s a little bit like Breaking the Waves in terms of the flavor.” Casting on that film has not yet been announced, but it is known the earlier Penelope Cruz rumor is untrue as she will be starring in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which shoots this summer in Hawaii.

So with all that said, what is Scorsese up to next?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret will be the director’s next film with shooting expected to begin in May. The film is an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s best-selling children’s novel, centering on an orphaned boy who secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and looks after the clocks. He gets caught up in a mystery adventure when he attempts to repair a mechanical man. The film is Scorsese’s first film for a younger demographic and Variety suggests it will be shot in 3D. No casting has been announced.

The confirmation Hugo will be his next film comes from an interview with Le Monde in which he also details what may be on the horizon. Here is the Google translation of the French text when he’s asked what his next film will be:

Everything was ready for Silence, but the film was shifted to be shot immediately after this project. My next film is an adaptation of a book by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I’m working on is another challenge, another way. I was supposed to do three years ago, I left and I returned. After Hugo Cabret, then I will play, hopefully, Silence and then a project with Robert De Niro, The Irishman (The Irish), it is interesting to chain Silence and The Irishman.

For those that missed the news on Silence, it was first reported back in February 2009 and is based on the Shusaku Endo novel and was adapted by Jay Cocks. The story is set in the 17th century as two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. The film was set to star Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gael Garcia Bernal. Listening to the Howard Stern Show on Sirius this weekend, Wolfman star Benicio Del Toro mentioned the film briefly to say it had been “pushed” but Stern didn’t probe any further.

As for The Irishman, The Playlist reminds us of the 2008 announcement of I Heard You Paint Houses, which is mob slang for contract killings. De Niro will play Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, who is reputed to have carried out more than 25 mob murders. This is simply a title change from the earlier announcement obviously reflecting Sheeran’s nickname. Steve Zaillian was last reported as the screenwriter adapting Charles Brandt’s 2004 book.

Elsewhere, there’s Scorsese’s planned Frank Sinatra biopic, a George Harrison documentary, a talked about Roosevelt biopic and any countless number of other Scorsese projects making the possibility of that proposed Taxi Driver remake even more of a pipe dream.

One thing I know for sure, is that Scorsese’s Shutter Island opens this Friday and I am checking it out later tonight. For more on that film click here.


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