At age 11 in New York City, Martin Scorsese’s imagination was already deeply entrenched in the cinema. The future director suffered from asthma and was unable to play sports or run around like the rest of the children in his neighborhood. Instead, he spent countless hours at his local movie theater with his family, where he developed an abiding love for film.
It was during this time that Scorsese developed an epic Roman film called The Eternal City, which he imagined would star Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Virginia Mayo, Alec Guinness and others. Scorsese even drew a series of storyboards for the drama, which Open Culture describes as a “Cecil B. Demille-like production.” The filmmaker called it “a fictitious story of Royalty in Ancient Rome.” In a 2011 interview with Phaidon, the director stated: “Storyboards express what I want to communicate, they show how I would imagine a scene and how it should move to the next. My storyboards are absolutely essential for my team meetings." He continued:
"To some degree, the storyboard has become superfluous. The process is still the same for me, I shall continue to make 'mini-storyboards' and notes at the edge of my screenplay. These drawings continue to serve as both a basis of my meetings with cameramen as well as any preparatory designs we need. These storyboards are not the only means of communication for what I imagine, but they are the point where I begin."
It’s clear from the compositions of these colorful storyboards that the future filmmaker was already in touch with a unique perspective and level of detail that is lauded in his work today.
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