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Martin Scorsese responds to Cecchi Gori lawsuit

Directors' representatives call suit an 'absurd media stunt'

<p>Martin Scorsese</p>

Martin Scorsese

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has responded to a lawsuit regarding the unmade film "Silence."

Cecchi Gori Pictures' recent lawsuit claims that in 1990, Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions Inc. agreed to direct the film "Silence" as his next film after 1997's "Kundun." 

The suit alleges that Cecchi Gori invested more than $750,000 in the 22 years-in-the-making "Silence." In 2004 and 2011, Scorsese reportedly made two separate deals to further postpone "Silence" in order to make "The Departed" (2006), "Shutter Island" (2010) and "Hugo" (2011), which entailed the director paying "substantial compensation" to Cecchi Gori to make up for the ongoing delay. The plaintiff claims that Scorsese never paid the agreed-upon compensation for directing "Hugo."

Scorsese’s representatives issued a response today: 

"It is shocking to us that the lawyers for Cecchi Gori Pictures would file a suit pursuing such absurd claims considering the amicable working relationship existing between Martin Scorsese and the principals of Cecchi Gori Pictures.The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with, and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year.

The lawsuit filing on the eve of Mr. Scorsese starting another picture has all the earmarks of a media stunt.

Mr. Scorsese is confident that he will prevail in court should Cecchi Gori Pictures actually pursue this meritless action."

The aforementioned new film that Scorsese is starting is "The Wolf of Wall Street," starring Scorsese regular Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey and Jean Dujardin. 

"Silence," about Christian missionaries in 17th century Japan, was recently rumored to have drawn the interest of Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro. 

Meanwhile, another Scorsese-related lawsuit has been settled. The producers of an unauthorized "Raging Bull" sequel have relented under pressure from MGM to change the name of the project to "The Bronx Bull." Scorsese directed the acclaimed "Raging Bull," starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta, in 1980. 

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Dave Lewis
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Dave Lewis has been a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer and editor for nearly ten years. Originally hailing from Minneapolis, he moved to L.A. in 1996 to attend USC, before working for various periodicals and web sites including a lengthy stint at Variety.com. He joined the HitFix staff in 2011.
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