Even iconic filmmakers like Martin Scorsese have experienced major battles to get movies made (Picture: Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos/GQ/Columbia Pictures)
Martin Scorsese has argued that the film industry ‘is over’ – and certainly compared to what it was like when he achieved his first major successes in the 1970s.
The revered filmmaker, who has been nominated for an Oscar for best director nine times, winning once, has an impressive back catalogue that spans the likes of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York and The Irishman.
He has also been working in Hollywood for over 60 years, seeing many changes along the way with how films are funded and distributed, as well as interference that has upset Scorsese along the way.
The 81-year-old, who has previously attracted criticism for speaking out against Marvel movies, has been independently funded since 2016’s Shutter Island.
Discussing the frustrations he’s experienced at times trying to get his films made, including The Departed, The Aviator and Gangs of New York, he declared that the industry he has worked in ‘is over’.
‘In other words, the industry that I was part of, we’re talking almost, what, 50 years ago?’
Scorsese reckons the film industry, as he knew it, is now ‘over’ (Picture: Getty)
‘It’s like saying to somebody in 1970 who made silent films, what do you think’s happened?’ he mused in an interview with GQ.
According to Scorsese, his theory is that studios are not ‘interested any longer in supporting individual voices that express their personal feelings or their personal thoughts and personal ideas and feelings on a big budget’.
‘And what’s happened now is that they’ve pigeonholed it to what they call indies,’ he added.
Addressing his struggles over clashing views while making films, Scorsese remembered his passion project Gangs of New York in 2002 seeing him butt heads with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who poisoned the experience for him as they wrestled over length and budget, among other things.
‘I realised that I couldn’t work if I had to make films that way ever again. 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,’ he recalled.
On the Taxi Driver set with leading man Robert De Niro in 1976, ahead of troubles he’s faced with funding and interference in the 2000s (Picture: Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)
Scorsese bemoans the lack of big budget for films that ‘support individual voices’ (Picture: Bruce Gilden & Magnum Photos/GQ)
‘It was at times extremely difficult, and I wouldn’t survive it. I’d be dead. And so I decided it was over, really.’
Of course, that wasn’t to be ‘it’ for Scorsese, although 2004’s The Aviator saw him ‘forced into that position’ of working with Weinstein once more.
This time, everything was going well ‘until the last couple of weeks of editing’, when Weinstein’s company Miramax and Warner Bros cut off funding for the project, which Scorsese labelled ‘extremely mean’.
He finished the film with $500,000 (£409,000) of his own money.
Scorsese’s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, sees him team up once more with his frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, as well as Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow, Jesse Plemons and Lily Gladstone.
Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by journalist David Grann, the movie delves into the mysterious murders of a string of wealthy members of the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma, which sparked a major FBI investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.
Killers of the Flower Moon is set for release in cinemas on Friday, October 20.