Movie Flashback: 10 Years Ago Martin Scorsese Shows Audiences The Origins of New York City
12.20.12 by Chris
This is a day for America.
Martin Scorsese was nominated for the Best Director Oscar six times before he finally won for 2006's The Departed. One of those failed attempts for an Academy Award statue was for directing The Gangs of New York, which was released 10 years ago today.
The road for Scorsese in making Gangs of New York
took more than 30 years, starting in 1970 when he came across Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld
. He bought the rights to the book in 1979 but it would take another 20 years to get the project into production. The biggest problem was how to re-create New York City in the mid-19th century. To do so, Scorsese actually shot the movie in a studio in Rome, Italy.
Even after the camera started rolling, the production wasn't smooth sailing. Production dragged on for three years, due to clashes between Scorsese and legendary producer Harvey Weinstein. The two mainly fought over the cut of the movie, with Weinstein fighting for a streamlined, more commercial vision. The delays forced Robert De Niro and Willem Dafoe to leave the project and caused the budget to go over by 25 percent, well over $100 million.
Scorsese would also cause some controversy by including the World Trade Center towers in the final shots of modern New York City, despite the movie coming out a year after the terrorist attacks.
The movie would be the first of five collaborations between Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (the two would later go on to work on The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and The Wolf of Wall Street).
Where to watch it: Gangs of New York is available on DVD and Blu-ray and is streaming on Hulu Plus and available on Amazon and Vudu.