Entertainment news site Empire Online (which is the online version of British film magazine Empire) reports that Martin Scorsese’s much anticipated historical drama, "Silence," has just received its first trailer. The film will star Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.

Based on a true story

“Silence” is based on the critically acclaimed 1966 book written by Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo. A catholic himself, Endo explores in his novel the theme of a God that apparently remains silent to the suffering of His flock.

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The book is partly inspired by Endo’s own turbulent past experiences of suffering religious discrimination while living in Japan, racism while staying in France, and tuberculosis he coped with at one stage during his life.

The novel itself is set in 17th century Japan and is based on true events. It follows the story of two Jesuit missionaries that travel to Japan in search of their former mentor in order to find out if the troubling reports that say he may have apostatized (meaning he renounced the Catholic faith and belief in the Trinitarian God) are true.

Father Cristovao Ferreira, the said mentor, is based on a true historical figure. The real Ferreira famously committed apostasy after he was tortured in the anti-Christian oppression that took place during the Tokugawa shogunate. The main character of the novel and film, Father Sebastiao Rodrigues,is also based on a real life person that lived during this time period, Father Giuseppe Chiara.

An epic that has been years in the making

Martin Scorsese had wanted to adapt the novel since the early 1990’s.

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The project has been in development for more than 20 years and had been in various stages of development during this time. Now, after all those long years, Scorsese’s “passion project” will finally be released for all to see.

The film stars Andrew Garfield (who is best known as playing Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider Man” series) in the role of Father Sebastiao Rodrigues. Joining him is actor Adam Driver (best known for his role as Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but also for his recurring appearance in "Girls," a comedy series that runs on HBO), who will play Father Francisco Garrpe.

The two characters are searching for father Cristovao Ferreira, who will be played by well known Irish actor Liam Neeson. The rest of the cast is largely composed of Japanese actors. Martin Scorsese’s longtime collaborator Jay Cocks will write the script for the movie, alongside Scorsese. Mr. Cocks has previously written the screenplays for "Age of Innocence" and "Gangs of New York," two films also directed by Martin Scorsese.

"Silence" will be given a limited release beginning with December 23, which places it during the so-called “Oscar season.” It will receive a wide release on January 1st in the UK.

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In the US, the film will be released in theaters somewhere in January.