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Martin Scorsese On Boris Lermontov

He picks five characters who laid it all on the line for their artistic vision.

Played by Anton Walbrook
The Red Shoes (1948)
Directors: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Ballet company director Lermontov is charismatic, warm, and brilliant. But since his art must come above all, he forces ballerina Victoria Page (played by Moira Shearer) into a tragic choice between love and her career.

"He was oddly appealing to me when I was younger, for these risks he took that led to his self-destruction. What's more appealing now is the kind of satisfaction or catharsis I feel watching him make the same mistakes and watching him know he's making the mistakes."

A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.