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Martin Scorsese is singular in the world of filmmaking, America’s answer to the question of who is our best director. For five decades now, FIVE, Scorsese has made legendary films after legendary film, from his roots with Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, to his most recent wild ride in The Wolf of Wall St. Here are 11 things to know about Mr. Scorsese…
1. Just to clarify for everyone… his name is pronounced “Scor-sez-see.”
2. As a youth, and even in his older age, Scorsese suffered from crippling asthma, which kept him from paying outside with the neighborhood kids. Instead, he sat in the cool, dry movie theaters in New York and absorbed movie after movie.
3. He took a cameo in his film Taxi Driver (as a man about to kill his wife) only because the actor who was supposed to play the role was sick on the day the scene was to be shot. Scorsese says he is generally uncomfortable in front of the camera.
4. He 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 the film.
5. Apart from his legendary work as a filmmaker, he has been a vocal supporter of film preservation for almost three decades. His efforts to create a strong public awareness for the work of film archives include The Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation which he started together with other filmmakers.
6. He didn’t win Best Director until 2006 for The Departed, but says he was happy with the fact that it took so long for him to win Best Director, because if he had won it earlier, it would have affected his directing and films.
7. According to lifelong collaborator, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Marty’s favorite facet of the filmmaking process is the editing.
8. 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.
9. He directed Michael Jackson’s Michael Jackson: Bad music video 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.
10. Because of the backlash around his film Kundun, and the dispute with Disney and the Chinese government, Scorsese is one of 50 people banned from entering Tibet.
11. He was a teacher at NYU’s film school, and taught both Spike Lee and Oliver Stone during their time there.