The director tells a thought-provoking story of faith with Adam Driver, Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield. Alicia Powell reports.
After 28 years of false starts, Martin Scorsese is finally bringing "Silence" to the big screen. The film is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by late Japanese writer Shusaku Endo, who was a convert to Catholicism. Scorsese was given the book in 1988 by an archbishop. The drama is about two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries, played by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, who travel to Japan in the 17th century to search for their missing mentor, portrayed by Liam Neeson, who is rumored to have renounced the faith under torture. There the missionaries face a choice: they can save themselves and Japanese converts from death by crucifixion, burning and drowning if they trample an image of Jesus to show they have renounced their religion. Neeson said the film is both visually and mentally stimulating. SOUNDBITE: Liam Neeson, actor, saying (English): "I mean I think it's a beautiful film. It's incredibly thought-provoking. It's one of those films you don't just forget about when you leave the cinema, you know? Whether you're religious or not it's very, very questioning." This marks the second time Neeson has worked with Scorsese after a small role in "Gangs of New York" in 2002 and said the experience is always intimidating. SOUNDBITE: Liam Neeson, actor, saying (English): "He's quite a remarkable director. When you finish a scene he'll sometimes look at you and I know that look, it's like, 'I could have done better', or 'I should have done this or maybe I could have done that'. But, when he's happy he lets you know, you know? So you always breathe out a sigh of relief." The co-stars dropped roughly 20 pounds each for their roles, which Driver said helped him not only look the part, but also put him in the mindset of his character. SOUNDBITE: Adam Driver, actor, saying (English): "Well, you're playing a persecuted 17th century Jesuit priest. So, it's good to, I think, have a little struggle that, or you know, almost a discipline every day to kind of keep it in the world, maybe. Also you're very tired and very hungry, as are the characters so you're not adding anything on top of the screens." While the film deals with many unanswered questions about faith, Neeson said personally he has no answers for life's biggest questions. SOUNDBITE: Liam Neeson, actor, saying (English): "I don't think I'm 100 percent sure about anything. Especially, now with this new president-elect, however, we shouldn't maybe mention that sort of stuff." The film premiered with a screening at the Vatican in November and will have a limited release on December 23.