Martin Scorsese Talks Cognac & Cinema
By JARETT WIESELMAN
April 09, 2012
At the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy introduced The Scorsese Drinking Game and America hasn't been the same since. Mostly because we're still hammered after Hugo turned into an award seasons juggernaut.
In a lovely twist of fate, the iconic director is now fronting a new ad campaign for Hennessy, the number one Cognac brand in the world, called Wild Rabbit. Centered on the notion of pushing the limits of one's potential, the director is a perfect choice to remind people how to maximize their potential.
ETonline recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the Oscar-winner to talk about his passion for Hennessy and plans for the future!
ETonline: How did you come to partner with this brand?
Martin Scorsese: Over the years, Hennessy Cognac has become a ritual with me. Particularly if I'm traveling or meeting other filmmakers. It opens up a conversation and I do need to talk to people who generate ideas – or just engage in interesting conversation: literature, art, politics, whatever. It could go on for five hours, so it's become a ritual in a way. It's interesting because you nurse the drink – it's the aroma and the holding of the glass. The idea, of course, is that it is conducive to something I crave: good conversation – or a structured argument. I don't live in Los Angeles. I don't often see my friends out there. I just saw Steve Spielberg when I was there for the Academy Awards – we had lunch and ended up in his screening room. We sat in his screening room and talked for three hours [laughs]. Which is the way it was when we first started. And I miss that.
ETonline: So it's just a coincidence that you ended up promoting a liquor after The Scorsese Drinking Game was invented?
Scorsese: Yes. And wasn't that just amazing? I thought it was so brilliant. But so bad too [laughs]. And then they did it at The Oscars. Spielberg was sitting across for me. And honestly, if you're promoting a movie for 5 months, if somebody says your name, you jump to attention. So I was looking around. I kept asking Steve if he had anything to do with it [laughs].
ETonline: Have you played?
Scorsese: [laughs] I'm a little too old for the drinking game part of it, but if you're going to play, you've got to do it with Hennessy. The only way to go! But nurture it. Sip, sip, think, talk. That's the thing too – it's all about taking time. As I get older, I notice how fast everything has gotten. I even talk faster now. You do have to take the time and think about what you're doing – family, life, work and the world. That's why I was so pleased Hennessy also made a contribution to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research -- it's so important to me.
ETonline: I loved Hugo -- do you think all your films will utilize 3D from now on?
Scorsese: I would like to, but I don't think I'll be able to. The only thing stopping you is the flexibility of the camera and the cost. And as more filmmakers utilize 3D, it will equal out. You just have to support the mindset that it's not just a gimmick. I had just been in Egypt the year before [Hugo was made] and I started talking about 3D. They were hesitant because in their minds, it was equated with gimmicks. A certain kind of picture. I remember 3D in 1953 – noirs in 3D, Dial M For Murder was in 3D. I knew it could work for every film. But they pointed out to me that it needs to be in the script. It has to be in the narrative to use space to tell the story. Not just throwing things at the lens. Imagine seeing "To Be Or Not To Be" in 3D? The figure of Hamlet coming towards you and then fading away? It would be so much more powerful. It made for a very arduous shoot, but we were in a big studio and able to deal with it for the most part. It makes the set exciting though. We had these big playback monitors, and every time we put the camera down, everyone would gather around and brainstorm about ways to go further, to push ourselves more. It was really the excitement of making movies all over again.
ETonline: That said, do you know what your next project will be?
Scorsese: It looks like it's time to do The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leo [DiCaprio]. We're aiming to start later this summer. It's such an exciting story. Even though it's set in the early 90s, the attitude is there. The actions are the same. Our values are the same. It's not like we had solid values until 1998 – the issue is that we were founded on certain values, and tried to maintain them. The film has more to do more with human nature and not guiding or inhibiting some people when nature gets away with them. As if to say, "Hold it, this is morally wrong because look at all these people suffering!" It's a riotous story because of the humor and the madness and how these characters just run wild. You have to remember what the real drug is: money. [laughs] Money's good, it's just that thing of what you do once you have it all?
ETonline: There's also been talk of you directing a Sinatra biopic -- any truth to that?
Scorsese: Oh very much. I'm talking to one or two writers now. The problem is the biography. Where do you start? Hugo took up so much time that I now have to settle in. I met this writer who I think could do a lot with it, but [we] have to get a hold of the story. It's too unwieldy. I'd love to tell the whole story, but the idea of art is to figure out where to start because we can't tell his whole life story. If we told the whole story of Sinatra, it would be 15 hours – then you've got something like a miniseries, along the lines of Boardwalk Empire.
ETonline: Is that a possibility?
Scorsese: Yes. That's the other thing. I love the idea of a miniseries – particularly working with HBO because as long as you stay reasonably on budget, you have freedom which is very difficult to find in the cinematic marketplace. It's something I find challenging and love trying at.
ETonline: A lot of people think DiCaprio would make an excellent Sinatra -- any thoughts on casting?
Scorsese: Leo's always talked about doing it, but what if the story takes you in a completely different way? We could go for an unknown. Maybe the person who plays him isn't important. Maybe it's distracting to have a star in that role. Yet, you can't have someone else sing! It's got to be Sinatra's voice. It's tricky. It's filled with problems – and whatever you do, there's always going to be people who don't like it, so you have to find something special. And I think I've found it. Now's the time to execute it on the page.
For more on Wild Rabbit, click here!