Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese’s new movie, The Irishman, carries a lengthy runtime of 3 hours and 30 minutes. That’s even longer than Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’s theatrical version (3 hours and 21 minutes). Considering its length, some might reasonably question whether The Irishman would have made more sense as a limited series not unlike HBO’s Chernobyl.
Scorsese has now responded to this, saying he never thought for a second about making The Irishman a TV show instead of a movie. “You could say, ‘This is a long story, you can play it out over two seasons’–I saw somebody mention that,” Scorsese told Entertainment Weekly. “Absolutely no. I’ve never even thought of it.”
Making The Irishman a TV show would have impacted its storytelling impact, Scorsese said.
“The point of this picture is the accumulation of detail. It’s an accumulated cumulative effect by the end of the movie–which means you get to see from beginning to end [in one sitting] if you’re so inclined,” he said. “A series is great, it’s wonderful; you can develop character and plot lines and worlds are recreated. But this wasn’t right for that.”
The Irishman was in development hell for years before finally releasing. Netflix was an attractive option for Scorsese to finally get the movie made, not only because the streaming company funded the very expensive film, but also because Scorsese was given more creative control than he might have had under a traditional distribution agreement. He told The Guardian that he might have preferred The Irishman to have a traditional release in theatres, but it wasn’t coming together, so he accepted the “trade-off” of coming to Netflix.
The Irishman is playing in some theatres and is available to stream on Netflix around the world. In addition to DeNiro, it stars Oscar-winners Joe Pesci and Al Pacino.
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