Martin Scorsese refutes accusations over his lack of female characters

Martin Scorsese at Rome Film Fest 2019. Rome (Italy), October 21st, 2019 (photo by Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Rocco Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Martin Scorsese (Credit: Rocco Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

There's no getting around the fact that Martin Scorsese's movies are weighted heavily towards male performances.

Outside of Sharon Stone's Oscar-nominated in Casino, the Goodfellas director creates notably masculine worlds.

But it appears that the Goodfellas director is pretty unrepentant about it.

Speaking at a press conference at the Rome Film Festival, he was asked why this is case by an Italian journalist, but refuted the accusations out of hand.

“That’s not even a valid point,” Scorsese said (via Deadline). “That goes back to 1970. That’s a question that I’ve had for so many years. Am I supposed to... If the story doesn’t call for it, then it’s a waste of everybody’s time. If the story calls for a female character lead, why not?”

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Scorsese was defended at the conference by Emma Tillinger Koskoff, a producer on his current movie The Irishman, who noted that Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, from 1974, features a strong female lead in Ellen Burstyn.

Sharon Stone in Casino (Credit: Universal Pictures)
Sharon Stone in Casino (Credit: Universal Pictures)

She also cited The Age of Innocence, which featured Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Miriam Margolyes, and Casino.

But Scorsese has come under fire for The Irishman's lack of female characters, and for Anna Paquin's character, Peggy Sheeran, daughter of Robert De Niro's Frank Sheeran, having a scarcity of lines.

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The movie is told from the point of view of Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran, a war veteran and union official who revealed he was a mob hitman in the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses, a memoir penned by Charles Brandt.

Sheeran was said to have been involved in the suspected murder of mob-connected Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, played in the movie by Al Pacino.

It lands on Netflix on 27 November.

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