The film about two Jesuit priests in Japan is already expected to receive Oscar nominations

The first official trailer of Martin Scorsese’s much anticipated Silence has been released online.

The historical drama set in the 17th century follows the story of two Jesuit priests (Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) searching for their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) in Japan. The action takes place at a time when Christianity was outlawed in the Asian nation.

The film is based on a novel of the same name by Japanese author Shūsaku Endō. Although a work of fiction, the character of Fr Ferreira, portrayed by Liam Neeson, is based on historic Italian priest Giuseppe Chiara who served as a missionary in Japan in the same era.

Scorsese has been keen to adapt at the book for cinema since 1990. In an interview with Deadline earlier this year, he said: “The very nature of secularism right now is really fascinating to me, but at the same time do you wipe away what could be more enriching in your life, which is an appreciation or some sort of search for that which is spiritual and transcends?

“Silence is just something that I’m drawn to in that way. It’s been an obsession, it has to be done… it’s a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions.”

The film is scheduled for release on December 23 in the US and on January 1 in the UK.