“This is my dark movie and I’m going to make it”: Martin Scorsese Nearly Directed Steven Spielberg’s Most Personal Movie That Had Liam Neeson’s Greatest Performance

"This is my dark movie and I'm going to make it": Martin Scorsese Nearly Directed Steven Spielberg's Most Personal Movie That Had Liam Neeson's Greatest Performance
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Considered to be one of the greatest directors of all time, Martin Scorsese has earned so much praise with his movies that he has become synonymous with films. The legendary filmmaker has come up with some of the most memorable and iconic projects such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Cape Fear, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and many more.

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Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

With each film, he tend to push the limits of filmmaking, as he often came up with a new idea that has never been shown or used previously in other films. As a result, Martin Scorsese has several smash-hit films at the box office. However, there’s one film that he did not in his career which he believed would not have been close to the success it met critically and commercially. The film is none other than Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List which had won 7 Oscars and is considered to be one of the most moving dramas of all time.

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Martin Scorsese Feared Schindler’s List Would Spark Controversy 

The year was 1988 when Martin Scorsese came up with The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis about the life of Jesus Christ sparked a massive controversy. As he was depicted as a typical guy who battles temptations on his way to the cross, hence, it outraged numerous Christian groups started to criticize him. 

A still from The Last Temptation of Christ
A still from The Last Temptation of Christ

During an exclusive interview with Deadline, the Silence director stated that because of the 1988 drama film, misinterpretations could be made for Schindler’s List and he had “reservations at a certain point.” As a result, he gave the film to Steven Spielberg.

“In the case of ‘Schindler’s List,’ the trauma I had gone through was such that I felt to tackle that subject matter…I knew there were Jewish people upset that the writer of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ was gentile. I heard that there were people who complained about Schindler, that he used the inmates to make money off them. I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ I could, well, not defend him, but argue who he was. I think he was an amazing man, but I didn’t know if I was equipped for it at that time. I didn’t have the knowledge.”

Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg
Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg

Martin Scorsese added that back in 1975, he met Steven Spielberg on a plane, where he mentioned that Schindler’s List would be his film.

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“I remember Steve Spielberg, over the years, mentioning it to me all the time. He held up the book when we on a plane going to Cannes, and he said, ‘This is my dark movie and I’m going to make it.’ That was back in 1975. And I said, ‘Well, I have The Last Temptation of Christ, and I’m gonna make that.’”

Steven Spielberg did an outstanding job with Schindler’s List as the film had won 7 Oscars the film had also been a commercial success, as it earned $322.1 million at the box office. 

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Martin Scorsese Didn’t Intend To Offend The Viewers

In the same interview with Deadline, the director mentioned how he had worked on the script of Schindler’s List but he feared like his 1988 film, he would spark another controversy.

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“Don’t forget, this is 1990, I’d say. I did ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ in 1988. The whole point of that movie was to start a dialogue about something which is still important to me, which is the nature — the true nature — of love, which could be God, could be Jesus. The whole point of that movie was to start a dialogue about something which is still important to me, which is the nature — the true nature — of love, which could be God, could be Jesus. I’m not being culturally ambivalent here, it’s what’s in us. Is God in us? I really am that way; I can’t help it. I like to explore that. I wanted a dialogue on that. But I didn’t know about all that yet.”

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

Although Scorsese mentioned that the film questioned the true nature of love and arguments that were being made around the world. Despite taking on arguments around the world, he felt that if he directed Schindler’s List would be judged based on his previous film.

“So, I did ‘Last Temptation,’ I did it a certain way, and ‘Schindler’s List’ was scuttled by its reception. I did the best I could. I went around the world. Any arguments, I took ’em on. I may have been wrong, but I’m not sure you can be wrong with dogma. But we could argue it.”

While Scorsese was skeptical of Schindler’s List, it did exceptionally well as Steven Spielberg moved the audience into tears, making it his signature film.

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Schindler’s List can be streamed on FuboTV.

Source: Deadline

 

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Written by Tushar Auddy

Articles Published: 962

Tushar Auddy, Content Writer. He has been in the entertainment industry for 3 years and is always on the lookout for a captivating story. He is a student of Linguistics and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in the same field. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him capturing the beauty of language.