NPR: Growing up in New York City’s Little Italy, as a kid, filmmaker Martin Scorsese spent a great deal of time surrounded by images of saints and martyrs at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.”Those images certainly stayed with me,” he says. As did the sermons, which often focused on “death approaching like a thief in the night. You never know when. You never know how.” Scorsese attended seminary school with the intention of becoming a priest but was expelled when he was 15 for being a class clown. Instead, he went on to become a noted filmmaker, directing Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Casino and more.
Scorsese’s latest movie, The Irishman, stars Robert De Niro as a truck driver and World War II veteran who becomes a hit man for the mob. Like many of the director’s previous films, The Irishman features backroom deals, shootings and explosions. But Scorsese says the film is also an expression of his “religious beliefs or concerns or obsessions” — particularly in the way it explores morality and what happens to gangsters at the end of their lives. “I realize gangsters are bad,” he says. But, he adds, “Can a person change? And can a person be redeemed? … What are we capable of?” MORE