Martin Scorsese is opening up about a breaking point in his career.
While filming his 2002 film “Gangs of New York,” Scorsese said he felt creatively strangled by the studio system, particularly by working with producer Harvey Weinstein with whom Scorsese fought over the length and budget of the period piece.
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“I realized that I couldn’t work if I had to make films that way ever again,” Scorsese told GQ in a cover story. “If that was the only way that I was able to be allowed to make films, then I’d have to stop. Because the results weren’t satisfying. It was at times extremely difficult, and I wouldn’t survive it. I’d be dead. And so I decided it was over, really.”
Only two years later, Scorsese reunited with Weinstein on 2004’s “The Aviator” which also starred “Gangs of New York” lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
“And I was against that,” Scorsese said of working with Weinstein again. “There was a meeting, and I was forced into that position. I’d already been, uh, made pregnant, as they said. And there’s no way you’re getting out of it.”
He continued, “But the shoot went well, the editing went well until the last couple of weeks of editing. And they came in and did some things that I felt were extremely mean.”
As GQ reported, Warner Bros. and Weinstein’s Miramax cut off funding for the film, forcing Scorsese to use $500,000 of his own private funds to finish it.
“I just said, ‘I’m no longer making films,'” Scorsese said of the experience. Yet it was “The Departed” in 2006 that led Scorsese to realize “I can’t work here anymore” after Warner Bros. tried to make it into a “franchise.”
The “Killers of the Flower Moon” director is, however, revisiting “Gangs of New York” 20 years later with a long-awaited TV adaptation. Scorsese is executive producing and will direct the first two episodes of a series based on rival gangs in late-1800s New York City. The show was developed internally at Miramax TV and written by playwright and TV writer Brett Leonard (“Taboo,” “Fear the Walking Dead”).
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