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Entertainment

Scorsese’s next two films to be ‘Life of Jesus’ and biopic on Sinatra

Scorsese played a key role in the Hollywood New Wave of the 1970s.

In the pipeline is a collaboration between Scorsese and Steven Spielberg on a Cape Fear television series for Apple TV+. (Photo credit: Getty images)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

After garnering 10 Oscar nominations for last year’s historical crime epic Killers of the Flower Moon, the 81-year-old director Martin Scorsese has charted his next several projects. Sources reveal he plans to shoot two films in succession: one centred on the life of Jesus and the other a biopic about Frank Sinatra.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker, who played a key role in the Hollywood New Wave of the 1970s, is aiming to circumvent the studio system and independently fund Life of Jesus, based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1973 novel. This approach mirrors his 2016 film Silence (also adapted from an Endō novel).

Scorsese aims to reteam with Silence star Andrew Garfield for the Jesus project, though it’s unclear whether the 40-year-old actor will portray Jesus or one of the disciples. Scholars estimate that Jesus died between the ages of 33 and 38.

Miles Teller is also in consideration for the project, with production expected to begin later this year and filming planned in Israel, Italy, and Egypt. Filming in Israel could pose logistical challenges due to ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The Sinatra project may face its own obstacles: the legendary crooner’s daughter, Tina Sinatra, controls her father’s estate and hasn’t yet approved the film. Despite this, Scorsese is assembling a star-studded cast, including frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio as the singer and Jennifer Lawrence as his second wife, actress Ava Gardner, sources say.

Gardner is known for her role in ending Sinatra’s marriage to Nancy Barbato, Tina’s mother. With two major movie stars in the lead roles, the film is drawing interest from major studios and streaming platforms. Apple, which financed the £172 million Flower Moon, is eager to continue its partnership with Scorsese, though Sony is reportedly the front-runner to secure the project.

Also in the pipeline is a collaboration between Scorsese and Steven Spielberg on a Cape Fear television series for Apple TV+. The two icons will executive produce the project, which is based on the 1991 and 1962 Universal films.

Scorsese isn’t the only veteran director making ambitious moves. This year’s Cannes competition lineup features three of his peers: 85-year-old Francis Ford Coppola (Megalopolis), 81-year-old David Cronenberg (The Shrouds), and 77-year-old Paul Schrader (Oh, Canada).

Directors Martin Scorsese (L) and Steven Spielberg attend the 12th Annual AFI Awards held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Their productive later years are noteworthy, as Hollywood hasn’t always been accommodating to ageing auteurs—Billy Wilder, for instance, struggled to get a movie made in his final two decades.

“I’m sure most artists want to keep working, but sometimes you’re not fortunate enough, lucky enough, good enough to stay in the arena,” says Schrader, who wrote the screenplay for Scorsese’s seminal 1976 film Taxi Driver. “

At 86, Ridley Scott is also keeping active in the industry. Footage from his long-awaited return to the Colosseum for the Gladiator sequel emerged as a highlight at CinemaCon, where Paramount showcased epic scenes to theatre executives, making headlines out of Las Vegas.

“We wanted to make sure you were the first to see this footage—and to give you the very first look, what we’re showing you today is unfinished, but an inspiring piece,” Paramount CEO Brian Robbins told the crowd at the April 11 presentation.

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