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Martin Scorsese is a legend, arguably the most celebrated, talented American filmmaker who is still working today. He came along in the ’70s, when the cinematic tide was changing and filmmakers were allowed to take risks.
Aside from his storied career with Robert De Niro, and his new muse Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese has had an interesting journey from childhood to Hollywood royalty…
1. Scorsese suffered from serious asthma as a child, which kept him from being able to play with neighborhood kids a majority of the time. Instead, he spent his days inside the theater, watching movie after movie.
2. His wonderful cameo in Taxi Driver was only by mistake, as the actor who was originally set to play the jealous husband in the backseat of Travis Bickle’s cab was sick on the day of production.
3. He has spent some time teaching at NYU in the film department. Among his students in the past were Oliver Stone and Spike Lee.
4. He directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Bad” in 1987. The full-length video runs 16 minutes and is in both black & white and color. It is usually shortened down to just the color segment for television.
5. Scorsese has famously collaborated with Robert De Niro in 8 films. Scorsese has said that his creative collaboration with De Niro is very deep and that they can often understand each other without even talking. Their collaboration has had many dry spells (including recently), but Scorsese says he shows almost every script he writes or considers directing to De Niro to see what the actor’s thoughts on them are even when De Niro ultimately has no involvement in the film.
6. Of all the films Scorsese and De Niro worked on together, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, Scorsese says his work in King of Comedy is his favorite performance from De Niro.
7. He is listed as one of 50 people barred from entering Tibet after his film Kundun was released.
8. Scorsese almost died in the late ’70s from a cocaine overdose – he collapsed at a film festival and was rushed to the hospital. Robert De Niro visited Scorsese in the hospital and implored him to work on a film project with him. Scorsese reluctantly agreed, and teamed up with De Niro on Raging Bull, one of his masterpieces.
9. He had a funny appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he played a shrill version of himself who comes to regret his decision to cast Larry David as a violent gangster in a movie after David repeatedly ruins the suit he needs to wear as the character.
10. Both The Last Temptation of Christ and Gangs of New York were personal passions of his that he had wanted to make since the 1970s. When he first starting considering them, Robert De Niro intended to play the lead characters in both. De Niro ultimately turned down the part in Temptation and by the time that Gangs finally went into production, he was too old to play Cutting. The part went to Daniel Day-Lewis.
11. He was voted the 4th greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly, making him the only living person in the top 5 and the only working film director in the top 10. Ingmar Bergman is in the top 10, but has retired from filmmaking.