'Wolf' nominees Scorsese and DiCaprio move forward on separate prestige projects

Posted by · 10:35 am · February 4th, 2014

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio look to be going separate ways again with upcoming projects after the two have consistently collaborated on a number of projects over the last decade. With only 2011’s “Hugo” as a brief reprieve, the director and star have cranked out five films since 2001 and there is surely more where that came from, but in the meantime, Scorsese’s “Silence” is moving along with casting while DiCaprio has kick-started a new vehicle for his “Wolf of Wall Street” co-star Jonah Hill.

The news on Scorsese’s “Silence” is that Liam Neeson has joined Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe on the cast of the Shusaku Endo adaptation, which details the story of 17th Century Jesuits struggling to bring Christianity to isolated Japan. It could end up being one of Scorsese’s most towering achievements, of a piece with a definitive thematic streak of faith and religion that has permeated his work. In an interview last year, Scorsese’s long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker noted that, along with 1988’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” and 1997’s “Kundun,” “Silence” will be part and parcel of a “trilogy of religiously-based films,” and Scorsese is certainly stacking the cast in favor of an epic drama so far.

Elsewhere, it was announced today that Leonardo DiCaprio has acquired the rights to Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” which tells the true story of 1996 Olympic bombing hero-turned-suspect Richard Jewell. The project is being developed for actor Jonah Hill, who recently nabbed his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, for his work in Scorsese and DiCaprio’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Brenner’s 1996 Vanity Fair article “The Man Who Knew Too Much” became the basis for Michael Mann and Eric Roth’s “The Insider” in 1999, which landed seven Oscar nominations.

You can tell throughout the season that DiCaprio is proud of Hill’s work and seems almost more excited for him than for his own success on the circuit. “He was my first phone call this morning,” DiCaprio told me at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 16, the day the Oscar nominations were released. And now he’s developing what could be a baity role for Hill, one that could, conceivably, catapult him into the leading actor award circuit (that is, unless the upcoming “True Story” doesn’t do that first). It’s an intriguing story, one that could resonate in an internet-led society where, more and more, myth takes hold quicker than fact. No director has been announced, but who knows? Maybe it’ll end up being Scorsese.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is up for five Oscars at the 86th annual Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Scorsese and DiCaprio, meanwhile, will be feted at a Cinema Vanguard Award tribute on Thursday, Feb. 6.

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