Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Many of us, in our preteen years, conceived stories in crayon and pencil, but most of us did not grow up to be among the most significant directors to work in the medium of film. Martin Scorsese did, of course, and that makes his preteen doodles a bit more interesting than most others. Here we have storyboards created by a very young Scorsese for The Eternal City, a Roman epic about “royalty in Ancient Rome,” for which he dreamt of casting Marlon Brando, Virginia Mayo, Alec Guinness, and Richard Burton.
One full-page illustration underlines the obsessive cinephilia that characterised Scorsese, even as a child. It is an intricately drawn and calligraphed set of images for The Eternal City, an imaginary widescreen epic that Scorsese dreamed of making as an 11-year-old. “A fictitious story of Royalty in Ancient Rome” is how he characterises it. The storyboard images are very carefully drawn and coloured in. It is striking that he has given himself a bigger credit as producer-director than any of the stars (who include Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Virginia Mayo and Alec Guinness.) —Martin Scorsese: You talkin’ to me?
Scorsese has not yet gone on to make a Roman epic, and clearly his dream casting could never come true at this point. But there’s a lot to be said for looking at the very early concepts of someone who went on to realize very similar ideas in significant form throughout the rest of his life. Practice and persistence are more important than genius, and Scorsese clearly has got those two disciplines covered. And maybe one day, after he finishes Silence (another example of persistence!) he can go to Rome.