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Martin Scorsese's Silence Has Lost One Of Its Stars

Since 1991, Martin Scorsese has been trying to make his passion project Silence into a reality. Unfortunately for the project, but fortunately for the public, the delay between the film's original inception and its current summer shoot dates has been due to a ton of great films coming across the acclaimed director's desk. With the film as an active priority for Scorsese, and with a cast set to go, some would say this is the perfect time for another snag to occur. And looks like they're right, as Silence has lost a rather prestigious cast member.

Deadline announced that Ken Watanabe has unfortunately backed out of his role as interpreter to Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver's priest characters. The report cites that Watanabe's schedule wouldn't allow him to make this summer's shooting window in Taiwan, as he'll be performing The King And I on Broadway at the same time. If Silence hadn't already been delayed for as long as it had, the option to further delay the project might have been available.

With the film being set for a November 2015 release date, it's good to see that this casting change up hasn't stopped the momentum that Silence has been building over the past couple of years. It's a shame that Ken Watanabe had to duck out of his part, but with Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver still on board, the film should have enough star power to draw the matinee crowd into the theaters.

If that's not enough, then Silence's plot line will definitely do the job, as Garfield and Driver's two 17th century Jesuit priests are searching for their mentor, played by none other than Neeson. Take Apocalypse Now and throw in some Kingdom Of Heaven, and you've basically got a rough idea what's going on here. So who's filling Ken Watanabe's role in Silence? It's Tadanobu Asano, an actor who might not have wide spread name recognition, but definitely has some big credits on his resume. Asano is best known for his role as Hogun, one of Thor's many Asgardian companions in the two Thor films. However, he's also had the honor of playing the role of Genghas Khan in the biopic, Mongol, as well as the Keanu Reeves flop 47 Ronan.

Despite its long wait and casting shake up, Silence looks like it's finally on a clear path to being made. Knowing Martin Scorsese's pedigree, as well as that of writer Jay Cocks, Silence looks to be another sure-fire awards contender for Scorsese in 2015. Considering Cocks delivered him a golden goose with 2002's Gangs Of New York, it's clear the pair know how to handle history, as well as Liam Neeson, with a certain amount of flair. Of course, as we all know with projects like these, there's a good chance that the film could fall into another pitfall that'll delay production further. Here's hoping that's not the case, as this sounds like it could be an exciting film.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.