Even though Leonardo DiCaprio has been named as Martin Scorsese’s first choice to play Frank Sinatra, he seems like he’s still looking around.
“When I see the new script soon, and meet with Tina Sinatra, we’ll start to think about it,” Scorsese told me last night. “He has to age from a teenager to his 70s, so we may have to have a few people play him. I don’t know.”
Scorsese also talked to me about his upcoming BBC documentary about George Harrison. “We’ve talked to everyone. We did Paul and Ringo, and Olivia Harrison. She’s the one who gave us the rights for this.” Scorsese has also interviewed Ravi Shankar and most of George’s friends. BBC will air the film in the U.K. but it may have a theatrical release in the U.S., he says.
The reason for Scorsese’s appearance last night was the restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 masterpiece, “The Red Shoes.” The film has been painstakingly restored and will now have a run at the Film Forum in New York starting Friday. The restoration is amazing, as demonstrated by Thelma Schoonmaker, Powell’s widow, before the screening. Now Scorsese and Schoonmaker will continue to release more Powell films on their crusade to re-establish his and Pressburger’s reputation.
In fact, “The Red Shoes” is mesmerizing. In 1949 it won two Oscars and was nominated for three others including Best Picture. With the Film Foundation’s restoration, you can see why. Powell’s film is epic and so richly textured you wonder how they pulled off such an accomplishment in 1948. Even though most of it was shot on sound stages at London’s Pinewood Studios, the story of a ballet dancer, her producer, and her lover feels real. Every scene is involving. And the production values are startling down to the smallest detail.
“Even the musical scores ‘ the sheets of paper have tape on them,” Scorsese marveled. “You can see they were used scores.” Scorsese told me that the main antagonist, Boris Lermontov (played by Anton Walbrook) has appeared in his own movies over and over. “He’s been a big influence on me,” he said. Scorsese is next going to restore another Powell movie, “The Life and Times of Colonel Blimp,” also starring Walbrook.
And what of “Shutter Island”? Scorsese’s film with DiCaprio was supposed to be released now, but Paramount has pushed it off to February. “It’s something to do with money.” he told me. “But whenever they release, I know they’ll do a good job.” He told me that DiCaprio does his best work yet, “going deeper” than he ever has.