Though not Portuguese himself, Garfield has been cast to play Father Rodrigues, a 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit who travels to Japan to tout the gospel of Christianity. Adapted from Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel, the film was once rumored to star Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal, and it's unknown whether they remain attached to the project or not. Japanese star Ken Watanabe ("The Last Samurai") will co-star with Garfield.
"Silence" has been on pause for years but has been a dream project of Scorsese's since he read the novel 25 years ago, according to an interview with the director in Variety.
Scorsese, currently wrapping up "The Wolf of Wall Street" starring Leonardo DiCaprio (allegedly the "Great Gatsby" star's last role for awhile), is still location scouting for the production, which is co-financed by Emmett/Furla Films and Corsan Films. Last year, "Silence" got backing from Cecchi Gori Pictures. The film will hit the Cannes international buyers' market this month, a first for Scorsese who has served on the Cannes jury and shown four films in competition.
With Andrew Garfield now officially cast, "Silence" will have a future, though given the film's thwarted past, it has a long journey ahead.