Martin Scorsese Gets Defensive When Asked Why He Rarely Features Female Protagonists

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 3:15 PM
Martin Scorsese Gets Defensive When Asked Why He Rarely Features Female Protagonists

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese is the best in his class when it comes to making mob movies. But the mob, as you can imagine, is mostly made up of testosterone. Meaning that Scorsese rarely casts female leads in his films. That was a sore subject for press at the Rome Film Fest on Monday, where one Italian reporter demanded to know what the director has against actresses. 

Understandably, Scorsese got pretty defensive.

A member of the Italian press also asked Scorsese why his films’ protagonists are mainly men, showing few interesting female stories. The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film called The Irishman “very much a movie about middle-aged men, and you miss the electric female energy of great roles that Scorsese shaped for Lorraine Bracco, Cathy Moriarty and Sharon Stone, among others.”

A somewhat frustrated Scorsese immediately shot down the journalist's question. “No. That’s not even a valid point. That’s not valid. I can't…. That goes back to 1970. That’s a question that I’ve had for so many years. Am I supposed to?”

“No,” chimed in Koskoff.

“If the story doesn’t call for it…. It’s a waste of everybody’s time. If the story calls for a female character lead, why not?” (The Hollywood Reporter)

Scorsese was in Rome to promote his new film, The Irishman, which is based on infamous mob boss Jimmy Hoffa and stars a few of the usual suspects, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. The director has produced several critically acclaimed films in his decades long career, but it wasn't until his 2007 masterpiece The Departed that he finally won an Oscar.

Scorsese sparked another recent controversy by comparing Marvel superhero films to "amusement park" entertainment, as opposed to real moviemaking art.

Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke for all the offended directors.

“It seems so disrespectful to all the people that work on those films who are working just as hard as the people who work on their films," he said this week.

Some Scorsese fans did have to make note of a relevant statistic.