Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers in cinema history, but he usually lets his work do the talking for him. However, he was recently a guest columnist for Variety and wrote a heartfelt tribute to late producer Brad Grey, who died from cancer on May 14.
Grey was the CEO of Paramount Pictures from 2005 to 2017. He formed a close relationship with Scorsese while producing the 2006 movie The Departed, the film that earned Scorsese his first Oscar for directing.
As Scorsese tells it, he was having reservations about making The Departed after struggling through constant fights with the studio on his last two films. Now, the studio wanted this film to only be 2 hours 20 minutes long — he didn’t like that and refused to sign the contract.
Grey eventually got him to come around. Scorsese recalled their conversation in his column, “But I had to ask, ‘You want me to sign the contract agreeing to deliver the movie at 2:20?’ ‘Yes, Marty, and I promise you this: The movie will run as long as it plays.’ I trusted him. I signed.” Grey kept his promise and it worked. As Scorsese wrote, “It won the Oscar for best picture. It ran 2 hours, 31 minutes.”
The famous director also managed to sneak in a joke and a compliment to Grey. He wrote of their close relationship, “Maybe it was because Brad possessed that rarest of qualities for a producer — he was my height.”
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