Martin Scorsese has said he expects to retire after making a “couple more” movies.
Speaking over the weekend at the Marrakech film festival, where he was acting as jury president, the Oscar-winning director also revealed he had been reinvigorated by working with Leonardo DiCaprio on their series of five films. The pair’s latest collaboration, The Wolf of Wall Street, has just been completed in time for an awards season ahead of the Oscars in March.
“I have the desire to make many films, but as of now, I’m 71 and there’s only a couple more left if I get to make them,” said Scorsese. He added: “I miss the time when I had the desire to experiment and try different kinds of films, I miss that time, but that’s done, it’s over. There is obligation as you get older, you have family. I’ve been very lucky in the last 10 years or so to have found projects that combine the desire [and fulfil] the obligation to my family and the financiers.”
Scorsese said working with DiCaprio has been “tricky” at first because the actor was so well known for his turn in the James Cameron blockbuster Titanic. “When I did Gangs of New York and The Aviator, people kept asking me, ‘Is he an actor?’” revealed the filmmaker.
“I said yes. I saw What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, [and] the film he did with [Robert] de Niro, This Boy’s Life before Titanic. So there’s a stigma there which people still refer to.
“But we found that he regenerated my enthusiasm for making films. Mainly because, as you get older, it gets physically difficult and also the business especially — the financial issues. You’re responsible for a lot of money, if you get it. It’s all pressure, but can you do it? His enthusiasm and excitement really kept me going, for another five pictures now.”
The Wolf of Wall Street, a three-hour black comedy about the notorious financial fraudster Jordan Belfort, was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute. That announcement means the movie looks set to be nominated for the Oscar for best picture next year.
One of Scorsese’s remaining films is likely to be Silence, about two New York Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution after arriving in Japan as missionaries. The filmmaker said in Marrakech that the movie would dovetail with his previous work on spiritual matters, including films such as The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun and the George Harrison documentary Living in the Material World.
“I’m just obsessed with this search for a spiritual core in life,” he said. “And I’m sorry to have to talk in that way about these films, but that is what they are about. I don’t know how else to discuss it other than to make a film about it.”