In an extensive interview with GQ ahead of the October 20 release of his Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese explains why he turned his back on the studio system.
As an anecdote, he says the film for which he won his only Oscar, 2006’s The Departed, would have been quite different if studio execs had their way: Notably, the shocking deaths of both an undercover cop played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon‘s rat of a detective never would have happened.
Instead, after a successful test screening, Warner Bros. execs apparently asked Scorsese if they could both survive to live on in a sequel.
“What they wanted was a franchise,” Scorsese says. “It wasn’t about a moral issue of a person living or dying. They wanted the franchise. Which means: I can’t work here anymore.”
It wasn’t long after that, that Scorsese decided to only direct films he can finance outside the studio system. “I thought I was in a Hollywood group. It didn’t work,” he says.
The New York City-born and bred filmmaker behind classics like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas adds of the Motion Picture Academy, “I don’t really belong there. I don’t know if I think like them. I just mind my own business here.”
As for the future, the 81-year-old notes he doesn’t have a lot of time left. “[I]f I could just muster up the energy, God willing, to make a couple more [films], one more maybe, and that’s it, OK? That’s as far as I got. You keep going until you can’t.”
He adds, “I’m gonna try until they pick me up off the floor. What can I tell you?”
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