Despite James Cameron's best intentions, for the most part, the 3D format has primarly been utilized as a cash grab by studios looking to pad out the bottom line in an era when box office receipts appear to be on the decline. However, 2011 marked a bit of a change. At the arthouse, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders embraced 3D for their unique documentaries "Cave Of Forgotten Dreams" and "Pina" while Martin Scorsese brought true artistry to the format with "Hugo." One of the director's most visually dazzling efforts of his career, "Hugo" found Scorsese delivering a truly immersive 3D world, one that engaged the viewer without the need to make sure stuff is constantly flying at their face. And he may not yet be done working in three dimensions.
Last fall, during a presentation of "Hugo" followed by a Q&A with Paul Thomas Anderson, Scorsese said he viewed the format as another tool in his filmmaking arsenal, "I think ultimately with the right people behind 3D the way it is now, there are people working in 3D, and other filmmakers who are even more inventive with 3D, for me it’s just another element to tell a story.” So no surprise, as he gears up to shoot his next film, his long gestating passion project "Silence," he's once again thinking about 3D.
Variety recently asked the director if he was thinking three dimensions for "Silence" or his brewing Frank Sinatra biopic and he said, "Yes. I'm considering the possibility." Okay, not the most earth shattering revelation, but it does open up some potentially interesting visual avenues for the intimate period drama. The film is an adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel, a drama about two 17th century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. There is still no word on a start date for the film that will reportedly star Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal, but we presume it will have to at least wait until the former is done working with Steven Spielberg on "Lincoln."
As for the Frank Sinatra biopic, that picture is still a long way off, as a new screenwriter is still being sought for the Scott Rudin produced film. But Ol' Blue Eyes in 3D is certainly an enticing proposition. Either way, 3D is here to stay, but as long as folks like Martin Scorsese keep finding inventive ways to breathe life into the format, there is still hope it can be a true narrative device and not just a way to pad out ticket prices.