For better or worse, it could be argued that Martin Scorsese's been operating within his comfort zone in recent years: "The Departed" and the HBO pilot "Boardwalk Empire," while both terrific, were both within the gangster genre that Scorsese's always been most at home in, and the divisive psychological thriller "Shutter Island" wasn't too far off either. But the director's next film, the book adaptation "Hugo Cabret," marks a real stretch for the filmmaker -- not only is it his first family film, but it's also his first to be shot in 3D.
The film's been shooting since the summer, and Scorsese emerged for the first time since then to talk about the film at a recent satellite Q&A with Leonardo DiCaprio, which Screen Crave were in attendance for. Scorsese describes the picture, which follows a young boy (Asa Butterfield, of "The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas") who forges a friendship with silent film pioneer George Melies while living in a train station, as "a fable," and praised the cast, which also includes Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law and Ray Winstone, as 'quite a group."
Most importantly, however, Scorsese was asked how filming was going, and responded in somewhat ambivalent terms: "It's going, it's going. It's an experience. The geometry of it, everything, you're really redefining. You're trying to figure out how to tell the story again in pictures with this 3D, which is really interesting."
This gels with something we'd heard about the project from a source close to the production a little while back: namely, that production was moving very slowly due to Scorsese's adjustment to shooting in 3D. The film's been shooting since July, and was meant to be wrapped by now, but shooting's been extended until February -- a fairly significant time-shift. Naturally, the additional shooting means that the budget is over the original plan in a big way -- we were told that the film now looked likely to cost "more than 'Inception.'"
We were a little reluctant to report what we'd heard -- not because we don't trust the source, who's extremely reliable, but more because the knee-jerk reaction on film sites when they hear of something like this is to claim that the film's in trouble. While the added budget is undoubtedly a worry to backers Sony and GK Films (particularly with the film being a relatively risky venture in the first place), but we're hearing that all concerned are extremely happy with the footage that's coming out -- let's not forget that the likes of "Titanic" were hugely over budget and schedule.
If anyone can convince us of the benefits of 3D, it's Scorsese, and we'd rather he took his time getting it right than rushing the job. We'll find out if he's pulled it off in just over a year, on December 9th, 2011.