Martin Scorsese is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential directors in cinema history. With a career spanning over 50 years, Scorsese has created some of the most iconic films of all time including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Even in his late 70s, the acclaimed director shows no signs of slowing down. Scorsese remains an active and prolific filmmaker continuing to take on ambitious new projects across film and television. So what exactly is the legendary Martin Scorsese up to now in the later stages of his storied career?
Scorsese’s Recent Film Projects
Despite his extensive body of work, Scorsese has stayed very productive in recent years, sticking to an active film directing schedule. Some of his most notable recent projects include:
- The Irishman (2019) – Epic crime drama for Netflix starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Displayed Scorsese’s mastery of the gangster genre with advanced deaging VFX.
- Silence (2016) – Passion project adapted from a historical novel about Jesuit priests in 17th century Japan. Shot in Taiwan, it represented a departure for Scorsese stylistically.
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Black comedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio based on the true story of Jordan Belfort. Full of Scorsese’s signature energy and style.
- Hugo (2011) – Family adventure film paying tribute to the early days of cinema. Demonstrated Scorsese’s versatility with a move to 3D.
- Shutter Island (2010) – Psychological thriller starring DiCaprio as a U.S. marshal investigating an asylum. Vintage Scorsese paranoia and tension.
As this sample shows, even late in his career, Scorsese continues to command major budgets, assemble all-star casts, and explore new genres. He has lost none of his passion for bold, cinematic storytelling.
Upcoming Projects for Scorsese
Never one to rest on his laurels, Scorsese has several highly anticipated films in various stages of development:
Killers of the Flower Moon
- Adapting the bestselling nonfiction book about the mysterious murders of Osage Native Americans in 1920s Oklahoma that shocked the nation.
- Will reunite him with frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
- Scheduling was delayed by the pandemic but filming reportedly began in 2022 for a likely 2023 release.
- Scorsese is attached to direct this biopic of President Teddy Roosevelt starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
- The script is still being worked on, so this one may not film for a couple years still.
- Another chance for Scorsese to make a historical prestige picture.
- Set to direct this period piece about two shipwrecked men surviving in brutal conditions in the 1700s.
- Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
- David Grann, who wrote Killers of the Flower Moon, is adapting the book into a screenplay.
- Sci-fi thriller based on a novel about a futuristic prison colony.
- Set to re-team him with The Departed writer William Monahan
- Would mark Scorsese’s first true sci-fi project showing he still wants to expand his horizons
Though his projects can face long development periods, Scorsese remains highly driven to bring ambitious stories to the screen even into his late 70s. Do not expect him to deliver a retirement film anytime soon.
Directing and Producing Television
In addition to features, Scorsese has also become very active in producing and directing television in recent years:
- Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014) – Scorsese directed the pilot and remained an executive producer of this acclaimed HBO Prohibition-era drama he originally conceived.
- Vinyl (2016) – Short-lived rock n’ roll drama on HBO that Scorsese directed the two-hour pilot for. Despite hype, show was cancelled after one season.
- The Age of Innocence (TBA) – Passion project for Scorsese, an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel he previously adapted into a film. Will direct the pilot and produce.
- Gangs of New York (TBA) – Developing a TV series adaptation of his 2002 film of the same name. Will serve as an executive producer on the series.
Though some projects fizzle out, Scorsese clearly has an appetite these days for long-form prestige television. It allows him to revisit past works and explore historical eras he loves.
Scorsese has also always had a passion for documentary films and has been very active with nonfiction work in recent years:
- The 50 Year Argument (2014) – Profile of The New York Review of Books and its history over decades. Done for HBO.
- Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (2019) – Netflix special exploring Bob Dylan’s famed 1975 tour. Wildly inventive with fictional elements.
- Pretend It’s A City (2021) – Netflix series where Scorsese interviews friend Fran Lebowitz about life in NYC. More straightforward.
- David Johansen/New York Dolls (TBA) – Upcoming Showtime doc about the influential glam punk band and its singer. A musical passion project.
Scorsese clearly enjoys the freedom of documentary filming where he can cover cultural subjects he cares about deeply from Dylan to NYC culture. Fans can look forward to more eclectic nonfiction projects from him.
Preserving Film History
One of Scorsese’s biggest passions has become preserving cinema history and restoring classics through his non-profit The Film Foundation:
- World Cinema Project – Launched in 2007 to restore and preserve neglected films from around the world. Has helped save hundreds of at-risk titles.
- African Film Heritage Project – Aiming to locate, restore, and preserve African films with half the continent’s films lost. Supported by UNESCO.
- Directed by Women – Scorsese is playing a key role in this ongoing effort by The Film Foundation to spotlight restored films directed by women.
Scorsese is ensuring his legacy will extend far beyond just his own filmography by helping future generations have access to film history worldwide.
Advocating for Cinema
From writing essays to giving interviews to making personal appeals, Scorsese also avidly advocates for the future of cinema:
- Opposing Oscar category changes – Passionately campaigned against decisions to present some awards during commercials and to create a “Best Popular Film” category. Both ideas were scrapped.
- Advocating for theaters – During COVID, Scorsese loudly voiced support for movie theaters struggling to survive, arguing films belong on the big screen.
- Concerns about streaming – Has raised worries about the effect of streaming services on filmmaking and their lack of transparency with data. Still willing to work with them.
- Pushing film preservation – Beyond his own non-profit, Scorsese regularly promotes the cause of film preservation and easy access to cinema history everywhere.
While some decry him as an old fogey, Scorsese’s advocacy stems from a deeply held belief in cinema as an artform. He uses his platform as one of the greatest living directors to further these causes.
Teaching and Mentoring
Despite his busy schedule, Scorsese makes time to teach and inspire future filmmakers:
- His alma mater – Has taught semester-long courses on American and Italian cinema at New York University, where he got his degree.
- Identifying newcomers – Through his role presenting Academy Award nominees, Scorsese gets an early chance to spotlight promising new directing talent.
- Private mentoring – Takes aspiring directors like Joanna Hogg under his wing as mentees, providing notes on their early scripts and cuts.
- Public advice – Scorsese frequently pens essays, forewords, and commentary offering direction advice for young filmmakers just starting out.
While he rose through an apprenticeship model, Scorsese recognizes young directors today need mentors. He generously provides guidance whenever possible.
Approaching 80, Martin Scorsese continues to remain highly prolific across both film and television. He balances passion projects like The Age of Innocence series with ambitious narrative films like Killers of the Flower Moon. While Hollywood accounting may see him as a risky investment, Scorsese’s track record proves he is still culturally relevant, with The Irishman being one of Netflix’s most streamed originals ever.
Beyond his own filmmaking, Scorsese works tirelessly to advocate for the future of cinema and ensure the preservation of its history. He never hesitates to lend his experienced voice in service of the artform he cares so deeply about. Though he has already cemented his legacy as an all-time great director, Scorsese keeps looking ahead to tell more stories in new ways. Retirement does not seem to be anytime soon for the energized cinematic master.
FAQ About Martin Scorsese
What was Martin Scorsese’s first film?
Scorsese’s first feature film was 1967’s I Call First (later retitled Who’s That Knocking at My Door) which helped establish his style.
How many Oscars has Scorsese won?
Despite being one of the most acclaimed directors ever, Scorsese has only won one competitive Oscar – for Best Director for The Departed in 2007.
What actors has Scorsese collaborated with most frequently?
Scorsese’s most frequent actor collaborators are Robert De Niro (9 films), Leonardo DiCaprio (5 films), and Harvey Keitel (5 films).
What is Scorsese’s highest grossing film?
Scorsese’s biggest box office hit is The Wolf of Wall Street which grossed over $392 million worldwide in 2013.
Does Scorsese have a favorite film genre?
Scorsese has excelled across genres but is best known for crime dramas and character studies about anti-heroes pushed to extremes.
Where did Scorsese grow up?
Scorsese was born in Queens and grew up in New York City which has been a major inspiration on his filmmaking throughout his career.
Has Scorsese announced plans to retire?
No, at 79 years old, Scorsese remains very active and has multiple upcoming projects in development. He has never indicated wanting to retire anytime soon.
What recurring elements can be seen across Scorsese’s films?
Common Scorsese trademarks include voiceover narration, religious symbolism, graphic violence, machismo attitudes, complex morality tales, and Rolling Stones music.
How involved is Scorsese in film preservation?
Scorsese is deeply involved in film restoration and preservation efforts, founding The Film Foundation in 1990 to help save and restore cinema worldwide.
What upcoming projects is Scorsese working on?
Scorsese has Killers of the Flower Moon in post-production and is attached to direct Roosevelt, The Wager, and a TV series adaptation of The Age of Innocence.
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