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After a trip to Tokyo with Leonardo DiCaprio for the local premiere of The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese touched down in Taiwan earlier this week for a discreet few days of location scouting for his upcoming period film Silence.
Jennifer Jao, director of the Taipei Film Commission, accompanied the director and tells The Hollywood Reporter he was pleased with what he saw in Taiwan and has signed on to shoot much of Silence on the island, with a targeted start date in September.
Scorsese’s trip coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, and Jao says the 71-year-old director was visibly intrigued by the bustle and colorful traditions that transform the island during the festivities — with families packing out local restaurants for celebratory meals and fireworks exploding over Taipei.
Scorsese and his team spent some time viewing the capital but focused most of their scouting in Hualian County in eastern Taiwan, checking out temples, rivers, forests, a volcano and Japanese style-buildings from the wartime occupation period.
Silence is set to star Liam Neesen, Andrew Garfield, Japanese A-lister Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver, best known from Girls. Based on Shusaku Endo‘s 1966 novel of the same name, Silence tells the story of two 17th century Portuguese missionaries who undertake a perilous journey to Japan to search for their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. The script was adapted by Scorsese and Jay Cocks. Scorsese first began developing the project in 1990, but it was delayed numerous times over of the years for various reasons.
The most recent high-profile international film to shoot in Taiwan was Luc Besson‘s sci-fi thriller Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson — due out Aug. 8.
By Thursday night, Scorsese was already back in California, where he appeared at the Santa Barbara Film Festival to accept the Cinema Vanguard Award with DiCaprio.
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