Taking over twenty three years to develop, #MartinScorsese's "passion project," Silence is finally ready for its long overdue close up. Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Tadanobu Asano, this could finally be the ticket that sees Scorsese win the coveted Oscar for Best Picture which so far, has eluded him.
Based on Japanese author Shūsaku Endō's 1966 novel of the same name, #Silence follows the fates of two young Portuguese Jesuit priests (Driver and Garfield) who are sent to Japan to try to find their mentor (Neeson), spreading their Christian gospel as they go. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro, and Gael García Bernal initially tied to the project, when Scorsese decided to focus on making Hugo, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street, Silence was put on hold and consequently by the time filming began in 2015, the actors had other commitments.
However, after reshuffling his crew, Scorsese gathered together yet another all star cast and set off to scout for shooting locations — but where exactly did he end up filming his highly anticipated oscar-contending movie?
Silence Is Set In Japan, But It Isn't Filmed There
After taking a trip to Tokyo to attend the Japanese premiere of The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo Dicaprio, Scorsese added a few extra weeks to his schedule to go and check out a series of possible locations in Taiwan. Speaking to the Taipei Film Commission Director, he is reported to have said that he liked Taiwan very much and felt it was the perfect fit for Silence.
With its lasting architectural influences from its period of Japanese Colonial rule, coupled with the fact that it would be much easier to film in the quieter countryside of Taiwan rather than attempting to shoot a period piece in modern day Japan, Taiwan became the location of choice for the director. Choosing to film in Taipei, Taichung and Hualien, filming began on January 30 2015 and wrapped 14 weeks later on May 15.
But Tragedy Struck During Production
Tragically, while filming at the CMPC Studios in Taiwan, an unstable structure collapsed killing a man and injuring two others. They were working for a third party contractor and brought in to try and stabilize the structure which had been deemed unsafe, but the ceiling sadly fell through, resulting in tragedy.
If that wasn't enough, the production was also hit by natural disasters, with earthquakes frequently shaking the set. When a 6.1 earthquake ruptured through the country, which apparently barely affected the locals, Neeson stated:
Silence Is Going To Be Unlike Any Other Scorsese Film To Date
Speaking to Variety, Scorsese points out that filming a movie nearly entirely out in the countryside is a big step outside of his comfort zone:
“I’m known for making films that are urban, that take place mainly in apartments, hotels, bars or churches, for the most part, but to be able to sit and watch a scene with birds and animals has been an immersion into another world,”
With his intimidatingly impressive back catalogue including movies such as Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Casino and The Departed, the thematic nature of Silence in combination with its outdoor setting is going to provide us with an entirely new type of Scorsese picture and frankly, we can't wait.