Is Filmmaker Martin Scorsese Opposed to Giving Women Larger Roles in His Films?

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During a recent interview, Martin Scorsese suggested that he doesn’t have time to write leading roles for women.

Martin Scorsese defend allegations that his films do not have enough female lead roles.
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Whether Martin Scorsese simply hasn’t felt the creative urgency to spend more time writing female characters or if the whole question as to whether his films are diverse enough is even valid became the center of debate at a recent Italian press conference covering his latest film, The Irishman.

‘That’s Not Even a Valid Point’

The debate ensued after one member of the Italian press asked Scorsese why his films’ leading characters are predominantly men. Scorsese responded, “That’s not even a valid point.”

After taking a moment to collect his thoughts, the legendary filmmaker then added, “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?”

One could argue that the allegation is simply untrue, including one of the producers of The Irishman who was at the press conference. Emma Tillinger Koskoff used the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore as an example of one of Scorsese’s films with a female lead role.

Scorsese sharply added, “Oh, that’s only one film. They don’t count that. … Age of Innocence – they don’t count that. Casino – Sharon Stone’s great in that. They don’t count that. Forget it. It’s all these men.”

‘I Don’t Have Time Anymore’

When asked if he would like to include more female characters in his films, Scorsese agreed that he would; however, went on to say, “But you know what, I’m 76 now. How am I going to have the time? I don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know. I don’t have time anymore.”

‘The Irishman’ Controversy

Although The Irishman is his best-reviewed film 1976’s Taxi Driver, it is being criticized for the lack of female characters and the minimal dialogue given to Anna Paquin, who plays an important role in the film.

The gangster film is a portrayal of real-life Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, spanning several decades of his life with Jimmy Hoffa. Al Pacino costars as Hoffa, and longtime Scorsese collaborator Joe Pesci costars as crime boss Russell Bufalino.

Regardless of whether Scorsese will write future films with heavier female roles, The Irishman has already been dubbed as a must-see by critics.