The majesty of New York City can never be diminished. No one knows this more than Martin Scorsese, who tells complex stories about the inhabitants of the city better than anyone: "Mean Streets", "Taxi Driver", "The King of Comedy", "Goodfellas", "The Age of Innocence", "Bringing Out The Dead". There is a dark romance in all of these stories set in New York City, and Scorsese mines the city's history once again in "Gangs Of New York", which takes place in the early 1860s, at the height of the Civil War. "Gangs" tells the story of the epic clash between the "anti-immigrant" gang known as the Nativists, and the Irish Catholics, arriving in Manhattan by the thousands every day, who make up the "Dead Rabbits" gang.
Scorsese discovered Herbert Asbury's book in 1977, and never let go of his desire to film this story of New York City's roots. More than 20 years later, in September of 2000, principal photography began.
It's safe to say that everyone wants to work with Scorsese, be it actor, producer, writer, or designer, and the cast and crew that he and Miramax head Harvey Weinstein assembled includes some of the most highly-esteemed collaborators in the film industry.
Three writers are credited for the screenplay, Jay Cocks (Academy Award nominated for "Age of Innocence"), Kenneth Lonergan (nominated for "You Can Count On Me"), and Steven Zaillian (nominated for "Awakenings", Academy Award winner for "Schindler's List").
Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who worked with Scorsese on "Goodfellas", has two Academy nominations as well, one for "The Fabulous Baker Boys" and the second one for "Broadcast News".
Production Designer Dante Ferretti has 6 Academy nominations, including "The Age of Innocence" and "Kundun".
Costume Designer Sandy Powell has 3 Academy nominations and 1 win (for "Shakespeare In Love" â€“ a Miramax film).
Longtime 'Scorsese' editor Thelma Schoonmaker is now on her 15th collaboration with the director, and has been nominated by the Academy 2 times and won for "Raging Bull". It's easy to see from a production standpoint why anticipation is high for "Gangs Of New York."
Leonardo was one of many who grabbed at the chance to work with Martin Scorsese. The role of Amsterdam Vallon is that of a young man whose mission to avenge his father's death thrusts him into a leadership position way beyond his youthful years, and into the arms of a beautiful pickpocket, played by Cameron Diaz. It is a complex role that will certainly be appreciated by Leonardo's fans. Prior to his Oscar nomination for "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" Leonardo's performance in "This Boy's Life" established him as one of the finest actors of his generation.
Daniel Day-Lewis has not made a film since 1997's "The Boxer". He previously worked with Scorsese in "The Age of Innocence". He was nominated by the Academy for "In The Name Of The Father" and won his Academy Award for "My Left Foot." His intensity as an actor makes him the perfect choice for the role of Bill the Butcher.
Also in the cast of "Gangs" are Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Brendan Gleeson, and Henry Thomas.
In addition to all of these talented artists and to the interesting storyline, there is one more thing that increases our anticipation for "Gangs of New York"; it is that element of location: New York City.
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