Martin Scorsese has specific rules actors must follow when starring in his movies
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Featured Image Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo / Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Please join us in wishing one of the greatest directors of all time a very happy birthday.
Martin Scorsese turns 80 today (17 November) and to celebrate we’re taking a look back at some of his most interesting directing techniques.
One of Scorsese’s first rules is that plot is secondary to his relationship with the actors in his films.
Speaking in 2020, DiCaprio told the New York Times: “He’s always focused on what the actor gives, and that one-on-one dynamic. Plot to him is secondary. His focus is finding the heart of the story through the actors that he works with.”
Speaking in 2014 to The Hollywood Reporter, DiCaprio emphasised just how much Scorsese hones in on the bond between actor and director.
The Titanic star shared: “He respects the actor’s process. I mean, you know that from seeing the movies that he does, but there really is nobody better.
“Your performance is paramount to him, and the film is structured ultimately around what you do as an actor, and what he brings out … that’s a process that needs to be nurtured and that’s something that is a talent unto itself because it’s difficult to get us as performers to feel comfortable on set and be our best.”
Actors working under Scorsese’s direction can also expect to get stuck into ‘very long, private rehearsals’.
When cinematographer Michael Nie was interviewed about his time working with Scorsese on 2010’s Shutter Island, he told Story First: “His [Scorsese’s] time with the actors is spent during very long, private rehearsals.
“By the time camera rehearsals occur, the actors are extremely prepared. Scorsese will give small notes to an actor while the crew is present, but if there are any substantial adjustments, the crew is excused for a short private rehearsal.”
In a recent interview, screenwriter Terence Winter backed up just how dedicated to his craft Scorsese is, revealing the director ‘fought’ to make sure one of Wolf of Wall Street's most famous scenes appeared in the movie.
Winter revealed that the movie’s yacht sinking scene almost didn't make the cut because it was so expensive to bring to life.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: “Because [the script] was so long, you know, the fear was there were going be things that we were gonna have to cut — like the sequence where the boat sinks and they get rescued at sea.
“It was on the chopping block for the longest time because it was so wild and so expensive. To his credit, Marty just kept fighting and said, ‘We have to have that. I have to have that.'”