'Silence' news, release date: Martin Scorsese film to debut at the Vatican

Promotional image for the Martin Scorsese film "Silence" | Facebook/Silence Movie

"Silence," the latest film from award-winning director Martin Scorsese, will debut at the Vatican on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The premiere will not be a glitzy red carpet affair, The Guardian has learned. Instead, it will be a more muted event, with Scorsese set to be joined by about 400 priests and other guests. The premiere for the upcoming film will be held at the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

The outlet says that Pope Francis is not expected to be in attendance, though Scorsese could meet with the pontiff at a later date.

"Silence," which stars Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, is based on the critically acclaimed 1966 novel of the same title by Shūsaku Endō. It follows the story of two 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit missionaries — Rodrigues (Garfield) and Garrpe (Driver) — who travel to Japan to find their mentor, Fr. Ferreira (Neeson). Christianity was banned in Japan during this time and Ferreira had been forced to commit apostasy after he was tortured. In their search for Ferreira, Rodrigues and Garrpe also face persecution and violence.

The film's Vatican premiere marks the culmination of Scorsese's 27-year project, which he once called "an obsession." In a 2013 interview with Deadline, Scorsese said, "'Silence' is just something that I'm drawn to in that way."

"It's been an obsession, it has to be done and now is the time to do it," he added. "It's a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions," Scorsese continued.

"Silence" was filmed in its entirety in Taipei, Taiwan, between January and May 2015. Around this time, fans of the film's three main cast members expressed concern after the actors were snapped looking emaciated and frail. They later revealed that they had to lose a lot of weight for their roles in the film.

"Martin wanted us all to look a bit more gaunt, which [Driver and Garfield] did as well," Neeson said at the 4th Annual Los Cabos International Film Festival in November 2015. "I know Adam went to the extreme. He's an ex-Marine, and when he's given an order, he follows it through. He was like something out of Auschwitz," he added.

"Silence" hits theaters on Friday, Dec. 23.