We’re still four days away from Martin Scorsese’s new 3-and-a-½-hour opus The Irishman being released in the United States, but the press tour for the filmmaker’s latest has already been immensely fulfilling. First there were Scorsese’s comments on hating Marvel movies, and then there were all those Twitter memes about how The Irishman is a prime “short person event.” Now there is news of an intriguing art-related project by him that never came to be.
On the latest episode of the podcast The Director’s Cut, Scorsese is joined by director Spike Lee, with whom he discusses The Irishman and a whole lot more. One topic of discussion is an unrealized film by Scorsese from the 1980s: a biopic of the Italian modernist Amedeo Modigliani, who was known for painting people with long, angular bodies.
According to Scorsese, the actor Al Pacino had at one point been set to play Modigliani, whose work has been hot at auction in recent years. (In 2015, a Modigliani nude became one of the most expensive works sold at auction when it was bought for $170.4 million by Liu Yiqian.) “It never came off,” Scorsese tells Lee of the project. “I couldn’t get the financing in the 1980s. Then he went with [directors Brian] De Palma and [Sidney] Lumet, so it’s a whole other thing.”
Well, so much for that. But hey, Scorsese is now well into his 70s, and he’s still making 3-hour-long films that get great reviews, so here’s to hoping that he eventually gets his Modigliani project off the ground. For now, however, we’re stuck with that really bad Modigliani biopic from 2004.