Martin Scorsese’s Weirdest Projects

Over the holiday weekend, Martin Scorsese directed a new film featuring his longtime collaborator Robert De Niro, his current collaborator Leonardo Di Caprio, and Brad Pitt. But don’t mark your calendars just yet to see Jimmy the Gent, the Wolf of Wall Street, and Aldo Raine face off under Scorsese’s direction on the big screen — it was all for a commercial. Well, to be clear, it’s a “casino-themed short film,” written by Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter and produced by Brett Ratner (OK, there we go), for next year’s opening of the Studio City resort hotel in Macau, China. In other words, Marty gotta eat — and the whole weird story is a nice reminder that even the most respected of contemporary filmmakers has taken on a lot of very strange jobs between his cinematic masterworks.

Michael Jackson’s “Bad” Video

For all the influence his snappy editing and jazzy camerawork had on his younger contemporaries, Scorsese has done surprisingly little in the way of music video work. The 1988 “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” video he directed for Robbie Robertson makes sense — he and Robertson have been pals for years, since Scorsese directed the Band’s magnificent 1978 concert movie The Last Waltz. But his 1987 Michael Jackson video… well, that one’s a little harder to explain. Jackson loved hiring big names for his videos (John Landis, John Singleton, Francis Ford Coppola, and Spike Lee among them), and you can see Scorsese attempting to put his stamp on the clip — less in the “Beat It”-imitative main section than in the less-seen, moody, black-and-white prologue, written by hardboiled screenwriter Richard Price, shot by Scorsese’s Raging Bull cinematographer Michael Chapman, and co-starring a very young Wesley Snipes.