The filmmaker, 80, has directed DiCaprio eight times, with their latest film, the drama Killers of the Flower Moon, scheduled for release next month. However, it seems he’s not so keen on the fourth film they made together – the psychological thriller Shutter Island.
Their first credit arrived in 2002 with Gangs of New York, a shoot that Scorsese struggled with due to the interventions of producer Harvey Weinstein.
In a new interview with GQ, Scorsese said Weinstein’s meddling, which saw him make demands over the film’s budget and runtime, made him “realise that I couldn’t work if I had to make films that way ever again”.
He added: “If that was the only way that I was able to be allowed to make films, then I’d have to stop. Because the results weren’t satisfying. It was at times extremely difficult, and I wouldn’t survive it. I’d be dead. And so I decided it.”
However, Scorsese was lured back by The Aviator, his second collaboration withr DiCaprio, in which he was “forced” to work with Weinstein again. The director said the shoot went well until the final few weeks of the edit when Weinstein’s company at the time, Miramax, “came in and did some things that I felt were extremely mean”.
While Scorsese seems to be generally happy with the results of both Gangs of New York, The Aviator and his 2006 film The Departed, it seems he doesn’t have the same feeling about his 2011 film Shutter Island – his fourth film with DiCaprio.
In the interview, Scorsese says he was “encouraged” to make another studio film after winning his first Best Director award at the Oscars for The Departed. However, the filmmaker said: “It turned out I should have gone on probably to do Silence”.
Shutter Island, based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, received generally positive reviews upon its release in 2011, and was even chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of the year. However, in recent years, it appears to be increasingly considered a lesser work of the director’s.
It’s unclear whether Scorsese’s comments were also alluding to the two films he made before 2016’s Silence – Hugo (2011) and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Killers of the Flower Moon is an adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction book documenting the string of murders that plagued the Osage Indian tribe in Oklahoma during the 1920s after oil was found on their land. The case was deemed the FBI’s first homicide investigation.
The Independent’s film critic Clarisse Loughrey, in her five-star review, said the film carries Scorsese’s “tradition fixations: the rotted core of man’s heart; how power breeds the impulse for destruction; the myths of cowboys and outlaws and the dirty truth to them”.
Killers of the Flower Moon will be the 80-year-old filmmaker’s first film since The Irishman, which was released in 2019. It’s set to be releaed theatrically on 20 October ahead of its premiere on Apple TV+ in November.