Lifelong collaborators Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader have plenty in common: an enduring adoration for the cinema, shared experiences in the hard-living 1970s and ’80s, and most importantly, devoutly Christian upbringings.
Schrader’s background may be in hardline Midwestern Calvinism while Scorsese was raised to be a good Roman Catholic boy, but judging from the films they’ve made together and separately, they see eye to eye on the big topics of guilt, penance, and redemption.
So it’s all too apropos that for their first joint effort in over twenty years, they’ll be turning to the Lord. In a sense… The duo are set to team up to for a multi-year streaming series called The Apostles and Apocrypha, making reference to the lesser-adapted excised section of the Bible.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Schrader spilled the beans that he and Marty – the dynamic duo that brought us Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Bringing Out the Dead, and most pertinently, The Last Temptation of Christ – are working with Netflix on a “three-year” series that will dramatise the origins of one of the planet’s dominant religions. And like their most controversial feature, in which they dared to portray Jesus Christ as a fallible man, it’s sure to ruffle some feathers among dogmatic types.
As Schrader explains: “…people sort of know the New Testament, but nobody knows the Apocrypha. And back in the first century, there was no New Testament, there’s just these stories. And some were true, and some weren’t, and some were forgeries.” In other words, they’re taking the word of the Bible as less than absolute, an unreliably narrated story not so far from, say, Jordan Belfort’s self-aggrandizing voiceover in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Both Scorsese and Schrader are currently in the thick of production on their respective next films, so it’s likely to be a good long while until they blow the lid off this whole divinity thing. But for both men, this sounds like an ambitious and personal late-career undertaking, guaranteed to produce at the very least fascinating results, illuminating to the career of either man.
Published 23 Apr 2021
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