Although Martin Scorsese is known for pushing deadlines when editing his films, the schedule for his first 3D feature, “Hugo,” seemed exceedingly lengthy even by the veteran helmer’s standards. When he spoke with Variety in early November, he was still tinkering with a few scenes in “Hugo,” and he marveled at how much time complicated scenes required to render.

“I didn’t know what that meant until a few months ago,” he says. “In some cases shots can take, depending on the complexity, 85 to 89 days to render. We started editing this picture in the middle of January. I haven’t seen anything; I haven’t seen anybody. I don’t even know where I am.”

In tackling his first family film, Scorsese didn’t necessarily intend to turn Brian Selznick’s illustrated novel “The Adventures of Hugo Cabret” into a 3D film. It wasn’t until his 12-year-old daughter and her friends began assuming the film would be in 3D that he started testing techniques with cinemato-grapher Robert Richardson.

“I just happen to like 3D a great deal,” Scorsese says. “I remember one of the great experiences I had as a child seeing movies was the first wave of 3D: Warner Bros.’ ‘House of Wax.’ My goal here was to use depth as narrative because most people see in depth.”

The film ultimately turns out to be a love letter to the magic of movies, a notion that Scorsese says is secondary to his initial intention of examining the power of storytelling.

“If it was (about) a painter or a writer, I don’t know if I would have had the same instinct to make the picture,” the director says. “But it wasn’t because of that. I like the idea that the story resolves itself through the invention of cinema.”

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