Martin Scorsese has spoken about how “anxiety” set in during lockdown, after an initial “relief” that his heavy 2020 workload had been temporarily lifted.
The director has shot a new home-made short film about his experiences of isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will premiere on Thursday’s edition of Lockdown Culture on BBC Two.
Scorsese, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Irishman earlier this year, said he “didn’t realise that the lockdown was going to be so intense”.
The 77-year-old film-maker said: “We had been working so hard on so many different projects, and things were spinning and spinning and spinning, and suddenly it was a crash, and a stop.
“At first, it was a day or so of a kind of relief. I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. I mean, I had to do everything, but I didn’t have to do it then.
“It was a kind of relief. And then the anxiety set in.”
Lockdown Culture host Dame Mary Beard tweeted a video including a clip of Scorsese. His full five-minute film will be shown in the programme from 19:00 BST.
Scorsese added: “Ultimately I found I was… you’re with yourself, and time takes on another aspect.
“Experiencing that time, meaning, whereas before I thought, you’re sitting there doing nothing. But, no, you’re existing – that’s one thing.
“I have been in this room, basically, with no end in sight – still in a sense with no end in sight, for me anyway, [and] a sense of relief settled in and a real sense of freedom,” he went on. “Because you can’t do anything else.”
‘Over the moon’
Dame Mary said Scorsese’s film “makes a wonderful end to the series”, noting how it views isolation “through the lens” of classic movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man.
“What’s really clever is that this great Hollywood luminary also gets us to look at Hitchcock again afresh through the lens of our current predicament,” she said.
“I was absolutely over the moon when he agreed to do it for us.”
As well as old film footage, the interview is edited together with shots of photographs and ornaments in Scorsese’s home, using shaky handheld camera work (by the director himself, mostly in portrait) and haunting music.
‘The people you love’
Until the film industry was halted by the effects of the coronavirus, the Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and Wolf of Wall Street director had been working on his first-ever Western, called Killers of the Flower Moon.
The film is due to bring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro together on screen for the first time in decades.
“I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna be in this room,” the director reflected. “I don’t know when we are gonna be able to start production on this film.
“I do know that given the grace of time and life we will be in production somehow. What that production is gonna be like, I’m not quite sure.”
Deadline has reported that Apple has bought the rights to Killers of the Flower Moon.
Scorsese continued: “What I look forward to in the future is carrying with me what I have been forced to learn in these circumstances.
“It is the essential. The people you love. Being able to take care of them and be with them as much as you can.”
Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard airs on Thursday at 19:00 BST on BBC Two.