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(Credit: David Shankbone)

Martin Scorsese refutes claims that his films lack female characters: “That’s not valid”


Martin Scorsese has passionately defended himself against criticism claiming that the director’s films have a lack of female characters.

Scorsese, currently on a heavy promotional campaign in support of his latest film The Irishman, arrived at the Rome Film Festival on Monday alongside producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff as the film headlined the event.

The film, which stars the likes of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a “mob hitman and World War II veteran who develops his skills during his service in Italy” and reflects on his life in his now older years.

Running at three-and-a-half hours and with a budget of  $159 million, the film has been met with positive reviews upon initial screenings. Now though, as Scorsese hits headlines for all the wrong reasons, he has been drawn into yet another controversial topic after a member of the Italian press questioned his lack of female characters in his films. “No. That’s not even a valid point. That’s not valid,” the Scorsese replied.

“I can’t…. That goes back to 1970. That’s a question that I’ve had for so many years. Am I supposed to?” he continued according to The Hollywood Reporter. He added: “If the story doesn’t call for it… It’s a waste of everybody’s time. If the story calls for a female character lead, why not?”

Responding in defence of Scorsese, producer Koskoff began naming films and blurted out “Alice Doesn’t Live Here,” a project which resulted in Ellen Burstyn winning best actress at the Academy Awards: “Oh, that’s only one film. They don’t count that. Age of Innocence, they don’t count that,” said Scorsese said while clearly frustrated.

Casino,” Koskoff again chimed in.

Casino. Sharon Stone’s great in that. They don’t count that. Forget it,” Scorsese replied. “It’s all these men,” he said sarcastically as a large applause broke out in support of the filmmaker.

“Sure, I’d like to do,” Scorsese concluded. “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.”