Martin Scorsese is aiming to make his next film Silence, an adaptation of the novel by Japanese writer Shusaku Endo, according to Production Weekly.

This is a long-gestating project for Scorsese, who together with Jay Cocks wrote a first draft of a screenplay around a decade ago. He had originally intended to direct it after Gangs of New York but instead decided to make The Departed.

Silence is set in sixteenth century Japan, where Portuguese missionaries must contend with traders from rival European nations and the persecution of Christians by Japanese feudal lords. The feudal lords want to drive Christianity out of Japan, and try to do so by torturing priests into apostasy, denying their faith. This is done symbolically by stepping on a "fumie," a Christian image, like a picture of Mary or a crucifix. Two Portuguese priests, Sebastian Rodrigues and Francis Garrpe, make a dangerous journey to Japan, both to locate and comfort Japanese converts, and to discover the truth about a supposed apostate priest, Ferreira.

The project is likely to shoot in Vancouver next summer.