Films

Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver spent a week in silence in Wales to prepare for new Scorsese epic

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Emily Badiozzaman
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Martin Scorsese’s new film Silence looks like it might be a very tense emotional rollercoaster.

And a very long one. The film is said to be his longest yet, with a playing time of three hours and 15 minutes.

Based on the 1966 novel, also called Silence by Shūsaku Endō, it sees Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield play two Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan who go searching in the foreign land for their mentor, played by Liam Neeson.

Naturally, Driver and Garfield wanted to use their acting chops to do it justice. They spent over a year preparing and spent seven days at a silent retreat at St Bueno’s Jesuit house in North Wales, roughly an hour’s drive from Liverpool. 

Though that’s nothing on Scorsese, who spent the best part of 30 years working on making this film happen.

When it comes to method acting, they seem to have got a pretty good deal. No animal carcasses a la DiCaprio, or sending used condoms a la Leto. They just couldn’t have a chat. Their pledge to silence meant they just ‘waved when they spied each other in the refectory’.

But a year of prep wasn’t enough for Garfield, he told The New York Times:

“If I’d had ten years, it wouldn’t have been enough to prepare for this role.

I got totally swept up in all things Jesuit and very taken with Jesuit spirituality. The preparation went on for nearly a year, and by the time we got to Taiwan, it was bursting out of me.”

Garfield seems to have gone some way away from Spider-Man, sharing his experience of his new pal, Jesus:

“On retreat, you enter into your imagination to accompany Jesus through his life from his conception to his crucifixion and resurrection," he explained.

"You are walking, talking, praying with Jesus, suffering with him. And it’s devastating to see someone who has been your friend, whom you love, be so brutalized.”

Time will tell whether Garfield’s left-field efforts pay off on the big screen.

Silence will be released in the UK 1 January 2017

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Emily Badiozzaman

Emily is a freelance writer for Shortlist.com. She covers breaking news, entertainment, style and lifestyle for the site. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found eating and drinking or thinking about food and drinking. Follow Emily on Twitter: @ebadiozzaman 

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