The director thanked more than a dozen producers, another 15 production crew members, and about the same number of cast members, then proclaimed, “Prepare to go into another world … for a little while.”
Producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff said the movie — set in 17th Century Japan and based on the Shusaku Endo novel about Jesuit missionaries — has been on her radar since 2002.
“This was always going to be the next movie,” she mused. “We almost got into it in 2009 and after ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ [Scorsese] said, ‘It’s either ‘Silence’ or nothing.’ So we shot 73 days and in five languages and I lost 25 pounds on the shoot. I was so overwhelmed and every day I’d say ‘I can’t believe we got through it.'”
On the red carpet, Andrew Garfield noted that he filmed “Silence” just before shooting “Hacksaw Ridge,” in which he plays a deeply religious World War II medic.
“I’ve always been fascinated by history and I got to make-believe I was a Jesuit for a couple of months,” he said. “I loved being immersed in that world from 400 years ago. I was kind of agnostic by default so this really allowed me to dive into something — and it was the right time of my life to do it.”
Producer Irwin Winkler, who won a best picture Academy Award for “Rocky” and was nominated for “Raging Bull,” “The Right Stuff,” and “Goodfellas,” said “Silence” turned out far better than he originally expected in 2009. “In terms of films I’ve done with Marty, this is the same category as ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Raging Bull,'” he added.
Issei Ogata, who plays the “Old Samurai” character, said through an interpreter that he was rendered speechless after watching the movie for the first time.
“There was a tide of emotions in the head and heart that’s very difficult to articulate,” he added. “It will stay with me for the rest of my life and will inspire me to ask questions.”
Paramount opened the film at four locations on Dec. 13 and plans a nationwide release on Jan. 13.