DETAILS: Your next project is another New York story, The Wolf of Wall Street, about Jordan Belfort—a 1990s finance guy who refused to cooperate with a securities fraud investigation and (among other things) ran up a $700,000 hotel bill. What about that story resonates with you?
Martin Scorsese: A lot of people have asked me, 'Don't you want to do something about the economic situation?' And Leo has a passion for the character. That and the film is able to make comments about the values in our culture—in terms of not caring about hurting other people and taking their lives, their houses, cheating other people constantly.
DETAILS: Do you think we're through with the worst of the economic crisis?
Martin Scorsese: For now, probably. But it will happen again. It's the history of the country, and it's happened many times all over the world throughout history.
DETAILS: Hugo was in 3D. Will Wolf of Wall Street be, as well?
Martin Scorsese: I don't think so. I'd like to!
DETAILS: Has making a film in 3D changed the way you work?
Martin Scorsese: I've always been interested in it. But I was never able to use it. I was never able to get it. First of all, it had fallen out of fashion and it took too much money.
DETAILS: What changed?
Martin Scorsese: When I saw James Cameron deliver an address—really, a speech to us—in San Francisco.
DETAILS: Was this a Ted Talk or something?
Martin Scorsese: No, George Lucas called together a group to talk about digital projecting. It was Oliver Stone, Spielberg, Michael Mann, Francis Coppola—all of us.
DETAILS: That's quite a room! What's that conversation like?
Martin Scorsese: When I walked into the room, Francis looks at me and the first thing he says is, 'You look like your father!' I said, 'You're right!' That's what it's come to. James Cameron didn't show up, but he sent a video, and he's talking on the video—in 3D. I said, 'Jeez, look at that. I bet you he's going to go there. That's what we should be doing.' It's just him sitting there talking—and it's as if he's in the room! This is exactly what we need. I thought I'd never get a chance to do it. Then Hugo came around. I'm hoping more directors use 3D for dramatic films.
DETAILS: Leonardo DiCaprio just shot Gatsby in 3D with Baz Luhrmann.
Martin Scorsese: Baz Luhrmann came and saw 15 minutes of Hugo. He got up and said, 'This is it! I'm going to use it.' I'm sure he'd decided before. But he wanted to see the system and how we were using it. He went down to Australia and that was it.
DETAILS: Is 3D going to save the film industry from the threat of piracy?
Martin Scorsese: Well, I think the audience has always wanted something to experience in the theater that they can't experience at home. That's what happened in the 50s with widescreen and stereophonic sound.
DETAILS: There are 3D televisions now.
Martin Scorsese: But we'll always need that audience experience—to share something with people around you. And 3D just seems natural. That's the way we experience life.
DETAILS: Let's talk TV. Will you direct another episode of Boardwalk Empire?
Martin Scorsese: I hope so. It's purely timing now. I'm going to do Wolf this summer. We should have started last week!
DETAILS: Where does Boardwalk Empire go from here? I was shocked when Michael Pitt's character was killed off.
Martin Scorsese: Well, the third season is pretty interesting. I don't want to give away anything. But you'll be surprised. Do you know what happened at the end of the 1920s? The worst economic crash in the world. You have all these people—bang bang bang—having a great time. Prohibition was a noble experiment, but you wind up nurturing the underworld. The whole story goes that way up until the market crashes.
DETAILS: Last question: You're attached to direct The Snowman—based on a kick-ass Norwegian crime novel. Why are the best crime stories coming from Norway these days?
Martin Scorsese: It's very dark there. There's hardly any sun!