Martin Scorsese on the making of 'The Irishman'

The director talks to Peter Travers about reconnecting with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and working with Al Pacino for the first time.
27:04 | 11/22/19

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Transcript for Martin Scorsese on the making of 'The Irishman'
If hi everybody this is Peter Travers of pop Gordon tell you what's happening at the movies and. The big happening right now is Martin's courses the irishman which to me. Is the best movie that you can see out there this year and so it's my pleasure to sit here talk with the man himself. Mr. Martin's score says. We've taken a field trip we've come to your screening. Days and I've seen so many now yes and yes it always to treat it here where you show all the marvel films right yes yes I'm I'm getting bigger screen. Another round but yet it's athletic physique that yeah that particular sound system that affect going to direct connect. We've gotten a lot of flak from the hands do you care ES in the sense that. I know those pictures and some of the people making them. Two beautiful work. And I really mean that I know what goes into that stuff the non work the amount of our history that goes into it I just find that ultimately. For me. There was concern when I did dumb irishman for Netflix. Is possibly. Altering war affecting negatively theatrical experience there is B that's Netflix only gives you couple week. In the lobby about three weeks on this month. The problem here is that I appoint an out. That I made a number pictures battle in the last we can happen at the anyway canvassers in a comedy was considered the flop of the year and entertainment but now yet but not OK so get in said bat. And also having pointed out that that. No studio in Hollywood would make the picture. Netflix stepped up it was a trade off a trade gap report 234 weeks in a theater. Stays in the theater meantime and string. So this in the way the speaker had to be made. Wayne and when the issues he oath really says it. I'm not gonna do this gets it they give you reason for it yeah. A couple of reasons and period of nine years. One of the reasons was who's you know the city. It's delicate issue but you know. On the box office issues. The names. Oh no well of course you had nobody in while that's what they're good they're out pitched well they're saying at this time we really want to see this guy thing. Having said that I now having said that. There was also the issue that. Pet mauled by almost half the picture they younger they couldn't play younger in the interest TGI economy. And that's closely. At cost in what was it inexperienced. You know. It was an expert so afraid of. No no no but but people to give you money they think they do have we give him they have a right to question. Marty to millions of dollars are you sure are you sure absolutely were dragged but the thing about it too is that it that. It may be then think about what is the theatrical experience. When I was accused him of endangering a theatrical experience by bank making this film Netflix. And then I looked at the theater's most at Peters of playing superhero films has had so what's left. We have eight it is left for a movie. You know how many dozen movies a fine into that it's not my thing and they. I tried over the years to watch some of the stuff and I've lost interest great deal of interest. But many event. So it was time for suspect the think about. What constitutes cinema. Well now the idea we talked about this over the years. The idea of people watching the movie that you've made to me the irishman an epic and size. It justice so to watch it on my phone and Smartphone about an doesn't often very small that I've got a private sort of like. There's certainly jackets and later make I made a film and made the past twenty some odd years in the film spoke for. Television and fourth in terms of the screen size and the theater. Never for a phone and I don't know how to do it. I wish I could well that you know I don't think they take it and reduce until all the talk. I don't want to know I I don't get to light it and I mean I'd you know what films will be made the phone she's endorsing. So it made for the even if they're not because that's where they can eventually wind up. You're well. I would suggest if you wanna see where my pictures and most films plea comes here Marty will elect a black. He looked at our own pleaded and I pay at a big iPad may be you know. But they the essential thing and it goes to the irishman to me completely known the last time. That we talked about this kind of thing was the departed and I've been deceived you win the Oscar last for it known that he did. So I'm predicting and other all of my god but you know so lot you know if you lose you know I owe you twenty. I you'd hope so they had to pay up I know people get to know I don't nobody that I am so happy that they're here are you talking are. But I do I still think people with they have a gigantic screen in their thing Betty have banned the decision making. T decide to go to the bathroom or to desist three and a half hours long yes. So they can say well I I I yeah. I understand until like one on one of the things about a film three and half hours and what this Netflix venue afforded us was wasn't sure bow our ship. Four theaters for home viewing. Looking at in the sections. Looking at it for the and looking at the end first and going back the big fat kind of a picture I think I find that when I was running here in this room. I cannot unite to see the whole thing again to figure out an after the first five minutes and is enjoying watching it. I'm not saying because alike made it just has an interest. To uninteresting. It's narrative structure. And it got me involved each time and so I funny and made it. To cover all the bases in terms of how he could watch this picture ideally I'd like it to go to with theater look there are big screen from beginning to hand. And I know what's long because you you gotta get up you have to go to the bathroom that's something I get it. But. Also went home I think if you could make a night of and afternoon bailout. You know and know that he not an answer the phone or you're not gonna get up too much and at the dozens more expected very. And you lose. To me you lose what you feed by seeing the movie on the screen. And you're in there and people with few like yes you the principal about all those wonderful people there is a dark. Are actually watching that's right here that you are part of the experience and I know I don't wanna go on like we seen changed that I know when it's going to be it's what's happening. That's what's happening so I took this chance to make picture. Knowing atom films to like Hugo should be seen in 3-D movement really shown in three particularly seeing on TV and. So I know that it's gonna have a subsidiary life in a sense of ancillary life. Here I said let's embrace them right way. Let's see what happens in many ways to look at this film. I think. And you know the other thing about you is that people say oh he's done another mob movie yet having nothing it's just wouldn't be done five or 65. That's it yeah I know still yet everybody is thankful likely. And a lot of people think that this one in the irishman EG saying goodbye. To the mob movie because I death. Everybody the actors that are in this art in the seven days so the idea is so we're USA copyright and so the idea is is this actually a good bye to that do you actually think I'm hoping not again I hope we hope not he's not because they're in what we tried to do that's why it took so want to get this project going. Engineer and I simply have to make another film is right after casinos 1990 funny says yes you know 25 years later I hear he's. You have to make another film Marty we have to do it and over the categorically kept out of the project's other things and finally we stumbled and trip in. Found ourselves back in where there was a comfort for him turned in terms as an actor. But primarily because he came appear we were talking about this book and he described this character to me and he became quite emotional describing. And I realized that. If this is. We've been looking for something we could really learn from each other again there's anything we go further with each other. In terms of our collaboration would we do this may be the one. This may be pike attack in ten. And so that was the that was the guy in a way and it just happens that the background. At that this may test the characters are placed against. Is the gangs familiar. You know it could be big business it could be willful Wall Street good politics. Assistant finance know the predators can come from any direction any direction what was fascinating to me about this war and we cuts were all getting older you basically that age. Is one of the villains. You know yes you can give up. His big cheese at the Teamsters union. And suddenly boom you know the you don't know you are one day or somebody shoots you or basically the clinical illness comes and by the. AB age and it's the Vickie films about time and mortality. Really it's that wouldn't about and we just found our way through it. We found our way through and something happened as we were shooting particularly in the scripting XT jailing that if something happened there. The very beginning said Obama ticket all the way to the end. National wanna go past their wild times and all the decisions they had to make it go past when he has to when he realizes. The price he has to pay for the life he's led. When he realized who she's in with no heat in this is something that's not and leave. To the end of his life and when Jimmy. Real Jimmy is told in in in this film Menendez in the book Charles print book he's told this is what idiots. It is waiting its. Watches what child's reaction he waits in any sense the babe we dare. Although they would all the way what is it goes to the U Bruce goes two and a man who think if you really. Seal those documentaries read about to happen all the documentary to. I mean he formed that union he fourth on the picket lines and he did all kinds of crazy stuff he really put himself on the line it is his union. But he was in with the wrong people and so that's another tale. And the passion little picket get off he didn't like people to be late. You know we don't like to be late in Hilton don't Wear shorts to. Don't do any of that is don't do it but it's it's fascinating to me this reunion that you I mean you would bobbed near I've seen each other through the years. But then what I've read everybody says well. They have they don't even see each other 25 years they all know we do we do you have now we but what did it feel like. Were directing him again in a movie. Back to launch uninteresting. Because the moment he came on set for raw. A makeup test them. He was in costume he was at the short sleeved shirt something in the shoulders and it's I think the shoes were little higher and I suddenly saw frank. Suddenly just passed all the cables and so that's that's the that's the guy that's the guy right peer I don't even have to take the test. Let's. And so just felt really I mean do we were doing a lot on set we talk a little bit but basically he was over their reading. And how much will be working on stuff that's it. Great and then it just happened militants are audited are ready go Bobby are readily. It's no you're not with. Ambition I think motivation noble we did a lot of over the bungled the before beforehand but even at. I gotta tell you when he had that emotional reaction having Red Bull Clinton. You knew it was there. We can't articulate. It just went and that would shall we did a lot of talking walk help passion that's another thing. He retired. What did you have to do. Make him an offer he couldn't refuse well look at how did you get that was hard avatar at what Bob actually kept. Bob is actually good he stays on you when stays on human stays on you until you can't tell you can't refuse him. But we also made it possible for Joseph to. Understands. That yes in May be seen me here but it's a very different character. That he place. Oh it's had it is a big difference from good felt that he. Also firm Casilla yes. So he really has the quiet down he's a quiet one and I of people I didn't even know about by the way until this book but we don't want them on the Manhattan person and help via Philadelphia if it there it upfield Pittsburgh I think I think it's somewhere in its its touch with a. Yeah it I don't with a all your kids to help. At a white Knight that its New York wouldn't get but I'm a shot at new York and it sure everybody was pretending to hold the whole idea of shooting it too was that anonymity. And because these things take place in hallways table. You know somebody's somebody's apartment. Hotel room in Chicago. I mean just not spectacle that way and you know it's you know there's just a lot of people a lot of people but the chino is the first time. At what took so long for you how well you know to get together got to tell you. Back in 1970. Inference from print to Scotland had made mean streets yet but he came to my mother of this apartment on Elizabeth street. And was having dinner can be struck by god father have been talking about the cast and how Paramount didn't want Brando now Paramount. Didn't want this and and and he. And mentioned to my mother sent him this kid. Two playing Michael he said but he never never in a film before but he told my mother he sent to Katie since looks just like your son he's really good. And his name is that Al pitching. And it's but he never can films impairment as a mark. And so that might need to be done to the village. Of course the village patients and and there's a play by Israel Horowitz called rats that has been formed. And was directed by pitching one Al that night. None you know. And going from god for Arafat to. To work you've met Sydney Pollack I mean is on leveled and I know we can reach back in the eighties. Percent of an effective still making films and my friends. You know but in the eighties. We try to do from a mugging yeah. And the could get its. He Netflix wasn't around the state cannot do that the right now that I but how would you say they view. And the new year and Q has he changed over those years did you working process changed with no news nothing Bela. Same stuff although I must say that director. Joseph. Patter. It was no rehearsal really want to rehearse. So I had to telkom Julius read. Bring this to breed the same thing yeah. Read the Phoenix what's that about is him but actors and I know it's not right here yet. But if you read it or he's just getting oppression and weakened and but it is just getting very slowly back into it is what wise. Very very careful when he had to be very precise because you didn't want to repeat himself. And that was the key. You follow all we're picking a good they can't being casino you think I'm funny you have to get it now so until the whole thing became where had to prepare him. And make him feel comfortable. And Bob is really big help with him have waited to start talking that's exactly will be put that line and change at a perfect. You know keep going keep him going many teen recite something to get to let's do it but. How. Marty how do you indicate to an actor that what they just did it didn't work. I've never asked you this before I don't know if there's any yelling involved no no never yell only want to do that didn't work. Now it's terrible to work but. And also you lose patience and who the most important thing is to have patience. Patience. And not at that I. You know encourage them if I don't I don't think it works and coverage and to try to get it to which they can communicate to meet with the Obama do them now an up and then get their points I don't know. I'm sorry I don't think that's almost double by. So big if we're really try to work it out and that is an issue shooting time. We need to really worked at a mountain yet you know hang ups that we can't do it. But does work and persons are wise and ogre and you can too you know let's see where it's going you know and often I find that. Things at first until we're number I become very interest in which they least willing again. You do have the control for which take your uniting and now you're going to exactly gathered exit but I think when we've talked over the years. And often about just moments in movie and a lot of it comes to the actor we want -- about. William holding in the bridges that cocoa I was just standing area looking. They'll knock him out on the on the on the bridge of the Abu Bakr carrier and everything that it is just going on in his hat so you can you can make something epic but if you don't. That's soul attracts actually deterrent which goes to I think what you were saying in your New York Times piece. You were responding to the controversy over the idea of marvel movies but you're also Spain. Not what is cinema but what did it to you what this debate if you know might be cinema to the kids seeing those films or it might. But I don't get items or at least let me put it this way I've. A team won a two that's enough. Because it's the same thing over and Alton you know what would be essential Q what makes him I think will make cinema to me. I think ultimately it's something that some recent stays with you. So back a few years lady complexion again or ten years that he watch it again it's different. Edwards has more to learn about yourself or bond like he. That's interesting at first you may be efforts to make you may find that I'm affected by this film the temple with its amazing the actors a terrific. Great editing and that sort of did but a certain amount of time. If you get enough of that like Guidant for example and shoot the piano player and truthful at I thought that was the best. But after Weiler realizes jewels and Jim. It's got more debt you can watch it repeatedly and watch a different times life. And the films the same you've changed life and death of colonel blimp. Pretty much the films of Hitchcock in terms of like ours it's a cycle for example I was the in the third night. Midnight show Demille really midnight shift. It was a circus talk about a team of people think marketplace with a wild the place was going crazy. Over the years Abacha from over and over and really obsessed with it bought. It's this the be the shower scene it's not killing a mark Paulson it's not it's the scenes with the actors and how he's flamed out. And how they play off feature. And it's the mood and home. Of the picture along with the music of course and it's the framing the compositions. Which almost a kind of. Aesthetic quality. Freaky kind of quality to. And so in a way I've enjoyed that picture and I still do because of the things that it's not famous for. You know you know because you're finding something happened what do you Spain where didn't pony right here in this room. That use the show a couple of movies every week yeah that would made between may be 1949. In 1952 with that's right that's it. But what was that period was that what made you would fight in about I think so and I think because you guys are sinners east. Term as missile took. And movies then and I spent a lot of time my passports. Experiencing these films it would come cheaply from 1946 from duel in the sun mountain to the parity in case to Robin heard team. Blood on the moon you know all these films and then going into the early fifties think they were formative years. The really formative years in May be created strong impression I think. The big change was seen of that 1950 Forbes 1213 years old on the waterfront and east to be. That was the big change and it hit me at the right time. Adolescents between Annapolis he said I want to make this I wanna do but I don't know what I know is that I don't know if I can do it but I know what was the air. That was me. Those movies when the and I lived in you know movement now on the waterfront yes they're people lives growing up with. It was almost as it was a home movie you know. East of being was Ian emotional. Conflict and turmoil of the family and the suns. The two Brothers I have a brother all the sort of thing comes from the father and Brothers that was all there. That was all there so somehow I became just stop those movies and gloomy place they don't like that idea. Was just didn't hit the. Oh he can't get a couple and hoped to. You have to go find exactly nobody would ask the patients that only know what it was they can have anything they want. Now what ever they want and that's the problem we see here I always hear enthusiasm whenever I've been in Arabic could you could at this point in your career say rock. I'm an arrest on my laurels instead you're planning your next movie you know I'm I'm. I think pillars of the flower Matt Lauer Mumia. I mean I'm trying to do is say. With the documentaries to rolling thunder revue the conjuring yeah I mean think is to try to find it and there's a kind of. Joy is a word it's true. Kind. The spiritual fulfillment. I must say in. Crafting something in making some working two EB a piece of art whether it's good bad or indifferent it's still a work of art and liked but I do. It's what I do when it curious about a lot of I'm curious how gonna get there again and no idea. People will say. Here are the best here's five best Martin's curses him in that happen you have your own five bath points concerns. It's hard to tell he talked to I just came from downtown I was doing the color correction on the film I did my mother father. Italian American he's going to be on criterion disc and and that was when I learned a great deal from. And I think a lot of it pays off an irishman in the sense that. There was a lot of styled was stripped away immediately and that. I still had to go through the the the genetic. Different landscapes of style and all the way up to wolf Wall Street. But. But the timing did silence and by the time we did the George Harrison. Living in the material world Reynolds we'll talk meet a lot about. Cutting away extraneous in a way. And often just staying in person the way my mother and my father told stories in that film. I found didn't have to cut way are movies that you made that people don't talk about a marina the debt we'll bring out the dead guests for some reason that's like that. It's a very strangely funny film at times but it is embedded reading is that that's a film about you know these guys EMS men and women go out there. And they like these angels of mercy in the street. You'll like Monday's seats they are way and I thought I will be a great story to tell. You know and it's got humor excellent crazy there's no doubt. He you know it's sad. It was a film that was completely ignored when it came right 1999. But I'm looking at kind of things happened and then movies get re discovered that I know killed possibly know what is it up that's still attack. So that's wiping the irishman can live and to do that I hope by hope and we really felt and on the set. We fell to re doing it. At a Tug crew kind of felt to me off felt that while we will watch and that's good yeah it's nice when the crew was doing that's good but to go back as we end to the music. I always after the end that there's a little song. Now the last time we wish and it did Haji baba Haji public so that was one of the best was not relation to that fall have to thank my key. Not as good as an -- kinkle but now but acting Cole isn't around anymore but in the movie you know you have. You have. He adds that playing Jerry vale accidentally and I know it is our optical and but it is a great. And I don't ask you convince him to do that you deal he does I'll do not a lot of its wonderful wouldn't she want a the end that did I do. Yes yes I can start. It's okay. Loud loud low. Now and then. That you take it. What was at what Ogden Lyle. And my brilliant. Italian version. How long do you had bad I think. I didn't. The and in I don't know the ring. In the words and it to. That all. God. That it could get asked it's great finally got it yes. How good you don't even have the Italian leader will I I hear is what kind of Italian American art he didn't get him memorize those lyrics. What are you aren't being used in Rome adventure right but don't change in Rome adventure another movie that goes with the adventures and Bob are true that no one else. But Gracie great use of technical. Great wealthy inept everything. It was it's perfect technical. Marty it's always great to tell you anti gay thing he kept pat I want you think in account. Okay well yeah you know what should be done in the still of the night instead could do that we get still have time they do it in a coma down. 1234. In this two. And then. Won't. 2.0 member of the war will be retired this but the feeling that if you in his everything yeah thinks it's. We got it we got.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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