Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese quotes

Quotes by and about Martin Scorsese

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Scorsese: "Cinema has always been tied to technological development, and if we spend too much time lamenting what's gone, then we're going to miss the excitement of what's happening now. Everything is wide open. To some, this is cause for concern. But I think it's an exciting time precisely because we don't know what tomorrow will bring, let alone next week."

Scorsese: "We can't know where we're going unless we know where we've been - we can't understand the future or the present until we have some sort of grappling with the past."

Scorsese: "I love studying Ancient History and seeing how empires rise and fall, sowing the seeds of their own destruction."

Scorsese: "I'm often asked by younger filmmakers, 'Why do I need to look at old movies?' And the response I find that I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I've made in the past twenty years the more I realize I really don't know. And I'm always looking for ... something or someone that I could learn from. ... I tell the younger filmmakers and the young students that I do it like painters used to do, or painters do: study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand your canvas. There's always so much more to learn."

Scorsese: "I'm not particularly fond of shooting ... a film. It's not like there is anything especially fresh about a shoot. You come in, day after day and shoot something that you have already planned on paper. Improvising with my actors just adds a bit of interest to something that would otherwise be unbearable."

Timothy Rhys: "Scorsese speaks often of the past, but he has a surprisingly youthful outlook. He's always learning, always hungry for knowledge, still openly excited about the process of making movies."

Timothy Rhys: "He ... speaks like a guy trying to talk his way out of something. He'll cut you off, he'll step on your lines, he'll talk 'ahead of himself,' like his mouth is forever losing a footrace with his mind. He talks like he grew up in a neighborhood where people half-listen, where if you pause for a moment, your audience is gone. Maybe that's one reason his power of concentration is so remarkable. He can go off on tangents for paragraphs, but he always comes back to the point."

Graham King: "[He is] one of the most collaborative guys you'll ever meet."


On experiencing Scorsese on the set of 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Spike Jonze: "I learned from Scorsese even though I was only there for a day. The way he shot was that he had a plan for the day but then was willing to throw it all out and move very effortlessly. ... [He] was incredibly loose and incredibly confidently improvisational as a director. I think I would be too nervous on any movie to be making decisions that big in the moment. Very inspiring."

Spike Jonze: "He was running that set like improv. ... They had this giant budget set, huge crew, and when I showed up, they just wanted us to wing it. And he just had this sort of free-form [approach] - it was like watching a jazz master - he had this giant orchestra, but he was just improvising this movie."

Spike Jonze: "We did our scene, and we improvised it. Almost every take was different, and I just thought we were making a mess, and about halfway through the afternoon he was like, 'Great, I think we got it,' and I kind of thought, 'Is that going to cut together?'"


Adam Driver: "It's very inspiring to see someone at that point in his life and career still go into a scene and not know the answer. ... Not wilful ignorance, but openness to not knowing. There are shots that he's thought about for 28 years ... but at the same time, when scenes aren't working, he is open to anything on how to make the best answer."

Adam Driver: "You expect to go there and your impulse is to be, 'Tell me what to do, and I'll do it.' He doesn't want you to do that. He hires you for your ideas and wants you to take ownership of it. It's really inspiring to work with someone who's accomplished so much and is the tip of the pyramid and is still turning to you and wants your ideas and opinions."