Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson to star in Silence

Filming is set to begin on Martin Scorsese’s new film about a Portuguese Jesuit priest who travels to Japan in 1638 to spread Christianity there.

The legendary director of Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver will be in Taiwan to begin shooting Silence from September.

According to reports, Scorsese has involved a number of religious experts in the production. He is said to have sought advice from US Jesuit James Martin, who writes for America magazine, and Renzo de Luca, an Argentine Jesuit who is director of the Museum of the 26 martyrs of Nagasaki.

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Silence, is an adaptation of an award-winning novel by Shusaku Endo which is based on true historical events.

Andrew Garfield will play the lead role of Fr Sebastian Rodriguez, a character based on an Italian priest named Giuseppe Chiara. In the film, Fr Rodriguez investigates reports that his spiritual mentor, Fr Cristóvão Ferreira (a historical figure played by Liam Neeson), has committed apostasy.

Garfield, who was born in Los Angeles but raised in Epsom, has been studying Fr James Martin’s Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, an overview of Jesuit life and spirituality, to aid his preparation for the part. The actor was photographed clutching a copy of the book as he left a New York café with his girlfriend Emma Stone last month.

He is best known for starring in The Amazing Spider-Man, Never Let Me Go and The Social Network.

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