The Irishman producer rejects claims Martin Scorsese overlooks women in his films as ‘silly’

The producer of The Irishman, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, has dismissed criticism over Martin Scorsese overlooking women in his films.

Koskoff, who has made films with the director for more than a decade, rejected the notion that Scorsese does not give enough airtime to female characters in his movies after Anna Paquin had almost no dialogue in The Irishman.

“It’s silly,” Koskoff told The New York Times, adding that Scorsese “is responsible for some of the greatest female characters in cinema history”.

She cited the roles played by Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas, Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear and Sharon Stone in Casino, among others.

Koskoff also argued that Scorsese has supported female directors by helping to produce films such as Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir. “I could go on and on and on,” she said. “He’s not making Lady Bird but it’s not like he’s opposed to that.”

Many critics said the female characters in The Irishman are undeveloped and exist only to react to the male characters. Paquin – who plays Peggy, the daughter of Robert De Niro’s lead gangster character Frank Sheeran, has only one single line in the three-and-a-half-hour film.

In response to the initial criticism, Scorsese said: “Don’t go for the surface. The surface says, ‘I’m going to say something and there’s going to be two or three big scenes between me and my father.’ She doesn’t need to. She saw what he did. She knows what he’s capable of.”