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It's no secret that many actors tend to seriously commit to their roles when working with director Martin Scorsese. Let's not forget that Robert De Niro famously gained 60 pounds for his part in Raging Bull. Well, it turns out that Liam Neeson went in the opposite direction in that regard for his part in Silence, and actually dropped a full 20 pounds for his role in the period piece. You can get your first look at the results in the image from Paramount Pictures below:
Covering the Los Cabos Film Festival this past weekend, Variety got some details from Liam Neeson about his part in the next Martin Scorsese movie, and described the commitment that the Silence director expected from both himself and his cast. The actor mentioned that he wasn't alone in dropping serious pounds for the drama, as he was joined by his co-stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver in the weight loss as well. Said the Oscar nominee,
Martin requires a lot of commitment… All he requires is that you give 100%. He’s intimidating. He requires absolute silence on the set — if he hears one tiny sound, it shatters it for him.
Silence is based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo, and is set in Japan during the 17th century. The story centers on a pair of Jesuit priests who make their way to the Asian nation in hopes of both evangelizing their faith and locating their mentor. Rather than being welcome with open arms, however, they face consistent violence and persecution as they make their journey. According to Neeson, a central question contained within the film, and one of the reasons why it affected him personally, is to whether or not there is actually a god. Jay Cocks, who last worked with Scorsese on Gangs of New York all the way back in 2002, wrote the screenplay for the film.
Much like his Frank Sinatra biopic and his Robert De Niro reunion gangster movie The Irishman, Silence is a project that Martin Scorsese has been developing for a number of years now, and it's pretty amazing that it's now actually happening. The film went into production earlier this year, and has been in the editing room for some time already - but our wait for it is sadly going to be still a bit longer. Paramount Pictures will be distributing the feature, and it looks like they will be holding on to it for release until late 2016 (presumably so that it can make a big run during Oscar season). It doesn't have a release date yet, however, so stay tuned for more updates, and be on the lookout for a possible trailer in the coming weeks. You never know!