American film director Martin Scorsese has Shetland blood, he declared today.
New York-born Scorsese, who is of Sicilian and Italian parentage, said: “My family name means ‘The Scotsman’ but it’s spelt differently, it’s mis-spelt. But they checked my DNA and I do have Scottish blood, from Shetland. I really, really want to go up there. It’s a base of civilisation.”
Scorsese, 69, who is also a screen writer, producer, actor and film historian, has some of America’s most distinctive films to his credit, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island.
Growing up in New York’s rough Little Italy as an asthmatic child who could not do sport, Scorsese escaped into the movie theatre, becoming influenced by films such as Singin’ In The Rain and The Bicycle Thieves.
His new film, Hugo, is a children’s fable set in 1930s Paris and his first foray into 3D technology (and a family-friendly film that his 12-year-old daughter Francesca would actually be allowed to see, he said). Recently BBC2 screened George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Scorsese’s epic study of the Beatle.
Head of development at Shetland Arts Kathy Hubbard said: “We’ve had a number of famous names in the UK film industy at Screenplay, but we’re now looking at the international scene and no name is bigger than Martin Scorsese’s, so if he’s interested in coming to Shetland we’ll have to make sure he knows about Screenplay and that we let him know how very welcome he would be here.”