Screen legends Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have collaborated successfully for decades. Over time, Scorsese has seen something of himself in the characters De Niro has played, he told the BBC today.

Speaking on the Radio4 Today program, the Killers of the Flower Moon director praised De Niro for “touching a truth about what it is to be a human being and the acceptance of not only the good but the bad and the evil, to the extent where you may deplore his behaviour but as a character you still feel for him.”

Responding to a question on whether “there is a bit of you” in the characters that De Niro has played, Scorsese said: “I’m sure. I would think so. To deny it is something that is a lie.”

He added: “And so if there is an element of it then let’s explore it in myself if I can, and I’ve been lucky enough to find these muses like De Niro, and Harvey Keitel, to a certain extent.”

Scorsese has directed De Niro in a number of classic movies down the years including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. Most recently, the two combined for Killers of the Flower Moon, for which both are Oscar nominated.

Both men grew up in New York’s Little Italy district, and both have Italian and Catholic heritage.

During the interview, Scorsese, who won an Oscar in 2007 for The Departed, also touched on concerns he has about immersive and 3D movies, which he said are “almost not films anymore.”

Scorsese noted there is an “intimacy of character” that is missing in what he termed “archetype” movies that focus on “the good and the bad.”

“I think of younger people seeing [those films] and thinking cinema may only be that,” he said.

The comments add to critiques Scorsese has made in the past of Marvel movies and other modern franchises.



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