Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His work has been praised, studied and emulated. He is a lasting influence and his films will be celebrated forever. But here are 10 things you might not know about some of his greatest movies.
10. "You talkin' to me" was improvised by Robert De Niro
In perhaps the most iconic scene in 'Taxi Driver', De Niro's character Travis Bickle looks into the mirror and asks "You talkin' to me?" repeatedly. It's become somewhat of a catchphrase, but it wasn't even in the script. De Niro took the line from Bruce Springsteen, who he had seen perform a few days before he shot the scene.
Apparently The Boss asked the audience, "You talkin' to me?" It stuck in De Niro's mind and he improvised the line into the famous scene.
9. Joe Pesci was running an Italian restaurant when he was offered his role in 'Raging Bull'
Joe Pesci had been acting since he was a child, but stopped in the late 1970s and started running an Italian restaurant. Robert De Niro had seen him in his first film, 'The Death Collector', and convinced Scorsese Pesci was perfect for 'Raging Bull'. They tracked him down at his restaurant and asked him to come out of retirement. He made the right decision.
8. Griffin Dunne gave up a lot to star in 'After Hours'
In the underrated 'After Hours', Griffin Dunne plays a word processor with depression and paranoia. In order to capture the essence, Scorsese gave Dunne specific instructions.
“I was at a symposium with Marty Scorsese and he said, ‘I really had to be hard on Griffin for this part. I said, no sex, no going out, none of it,’” Dunne recalled.
7. Paul Newman approached Scorsese about 'The Color of Money'
When the script for 'The Color of Money' was sent to Paul Newman, he wasn't satisfied with it and knew just the right man for the job. He took it to Scorsese as he was a big fan and convinced him to take the project on. Newman would win Best Actor for the role.
6. Steven Spielberg and Scorsese once traded movies
Scorsese was set to direct 'Schindler's List', but had some reservations about the film. Spielberg was going to direct 'Cape Fear', but decided he wasn't in the mood to direct a film about a maniac. The solution? They swapped projects. Worked out pretty well.
5. "Gimme Shelter" has appeared in many Scorsese movies
Martin Scorsese has been a Rolling Stones fan forever, so it's no surprise their songs have popped up in his movies. In fact, the Stones hit "Gimme Shelter" has appeared in more than one film. He has used in in three of his gangster films: 'Goodfellas', 'Casino', and 'The Departed'.
4. Scorsese wanted to cast Gwen Stefani after seeing her ad on a bus
Gwen Stefani was featured in a Marilyn Monroe inspired 'Teen Vogue' photoshoot, and it caught Scorsese's eye. Stefani recalled:
“Martin Scorsese’s driving in New York City and he sees my Teen Vogue cover on the side of a bus stop shelter. And he’s like, ’Who’s that girl? Let’s get her!’ I had Leonardo DiCaprio tell me the whole story in Martin Scorsese’s voice, so it was pretty bizarre.”
3. Daniel Day-Lewis was trained by real butchers for 'Gangs of New York'
Daniel Day-Lewis, the ever famous method actor, took his role as Bill the Butcher in 'Gangs of New York' very seriously as he trained with multiple professional butchers for authenticity. First he trained with two Argentine brothers in their Queens butcher shop and then a master butcher, who was flown in from London just to teach Lewis the art of cutting meat.
2. Scorsese avoided an X-rating on 'Taxi Driver' by making the blood less red
While 'Taxi Driver' is a bloody violent movie, it almost was even more so. In order to avoid a box office curse X-rating, Scorsese toned the color down in the blood, giving it more of a brown hue. It actually worked quite well with the tone of the film and the film avoided the X-rating.
1. 'The Departed' is a remake
Scorsese's Best Picture Winner 'The Departed' is actually a remake of the Hong Kong film 'Infernal Affairs'. The director Andy Lau said this about the remake:
“Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too.”