Following the Cannes premiere of his film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorses met with Pope Francis in Rome, which inspired the acclaimed director to announce plans to make a new feature film about Jesus Christ.
“I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: By imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus, and I’m about to start making it,” Scorsese told reporters at a Vatican press conference, according to The Guardian.
If he follows through on these plans, it would be Scorsese’s first film about Jesus since his famously controversial 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which starred Willem Dafoe as the son of God as during his ministry and crucifixion, when he’s tempted with a vision of the life he could have had instead of dying for the world’s sins.
Along with meeting the Pope, Scorsese was in Rome with his wife, Helen Morris, to attend a conference called “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination.” The conference was co-organized by Antonio Spadoro, editor of Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica, who posted pictures of the 80-year-old director’s meeting with the pontiff on Twitter.
“This is your work as poets, storytellers, filmmakers, artists: to give life, to give body, to give word to everything that human beings live, feel, dream, suffer, creating harmony and beauty,” Pope Francis was quoted saying to Scorsese and other attendees in Spadoro’s tweet. “Will they criticize you? All right, carry the burden of criticism, also trying to learn from criticism. But still, don’t stop being original, creative. Do not lose the wonder of being alive.”
This is not the first time that Scorsese and Pope Francis have met. In 2016, the director gave the Pope, along with an international group of Jesuit priests, a private screening of his film “Silence” starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.
The film is based on Shusaku Endo’s novel about the Japanese Christians and Jesuit priests who were persecuted by the Tokugawa Shogunate for their Catholic faith and follows a pair of Jesuit priests who go to Japan to find their mentor, whom they have heard has renounced his faith after seeing his followers tortured for refusing to do the same. The film was praised by the Jesuits in attendance, a markedly different reception from “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
Scorsese’s latest film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” tells the story of the murders of dozens of Osage Native Americans by white men looking to take over the land given to the Osage as a reservation and which was discovered to be oil-rich. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons and will be released by Paramount and Apple this October.