Raging bull-terrier: did Martin Scorsese’s dog really eat Paul Schrader’s thumb? (2024)

Stephen Rodrick’s interview with Paul Schrader in Variety is a thing of great heft. Over the course of the piece, Schrader grapples openly with the looming spectre of death, contacts Kevin Spacey to star in a potential Sinatra biopic and revisits a decade-old feud he has had with his own interviewer. But that isn’t why people will remember it. No, they will remember the interview because, out of nowhere, Martin Scorsese’s dog eats Paul Schrader’s finger.

During one of their conversations for the piece, late last year, Schrader turned up for dinner with “a massive, bloody bandage” wrapped around his hand. Rodrick asks what happened, and then pastes in a transcript of the following exchange.

PS: So on Tuesday night, I had dinner with Marty at his place. He has these dogs. They were very cute. Two of them were bichon frisé. They’re really beautiful. But then, he has a scottie, which is a problematic dog. It was his daughter’s dog. He doesn’t like the dog, but they have to keep him and blah, blah, blah.

SR: Yeah.

PS: I tried to pet the scottie.

SR: Oh, man.

PS: The scottie not only took out part of my thumb, he ate it.

SR: Did you have to go to the ER? I mean, how bad is it?

PS: Marty has an in-house nurse.

Clearly, there is a lot to unpack here. First, it would be wise to worry about the state of Paul Schrader, a man who had two perfect thumbs until his encounter with Martin Scorsese’s devil dog. No photos of Paul Schrader where he openly displays both of his thumbs have been taken this year, nor is he the sort of person who readily posts thumb selfies on Facebook, so it’s hard to tell exactly how much of it was consumed by Scorsese’s dog.

However, as the Variety interview maintains, Paul Schrader is a man given to fits of self-mythologising. And while scrolling back through his Facebook feed – an entertaining, constantly updated chronicle of everything that happens in his life – no mention is made of Martin Scorsese’s dog biting off and eating his thumb. This seems like an error. If Martin Scorsese’s dog had bitten off and eaten part of my thumb, I would never shut up about it. There would be posts. There would be articles. I would introduce myself to people with the fact that Martin Scorsese’s dog had bitten off and eaten part of my thumb before I told anyone my name. This is either a sign that the thumb injury was actually relatively minor, or that my life is far more harrowingly empty than Paul Schrader’s.

skip past newsletter promotion

after newsletter promotion

Raging bull-terrier: did Martin Scorsese’s dog really eat Paul Schrader’s thumb? (1)

Second, we might have to worry about pushback from scottie owners in general. Certainly, when choosing a breed of dog to own, being able to trust it not to bite off your thumb and then eat it in front of you should be a major consideration. Were I to think about owning a scottie, my mind would immediately go to the sight of Paul Schrader covered in blood and screaming in pain while Martin Scorsese crawls around on his hands and knees trying to prise the dog’s teeth open with his fingers, and then I’d probably get a labradoodle or something.

However, the American Kennel Club states that Scottish terriers actually have “a dignified, almost-human character” and demonstrate an “aloofness toward strangers”. I have met some aloof people in my life, and almost none of them have tried to bite my thumb off my hand and eat it in front of me. Clearly, unless it wants the entire breed to be tainted by this one thumb-hungry outlier, the scottish terrier community has some restorative public relations work to do.

Also, it feels important to know that Martin Scorsese lives with a dog he doesn’t like. This does not mean that Martin Scorsese hates dogs. Far from it. His bichon frisé, Zoe, was a near constant companion throughout the 1980s and 90s, and there are several photographs of him posing with dogs online. But this one dog, this one thumb-eating dog, he has a problem with. Which makes sense, given that the dog has such a clear disregard for the history of cinema that it bit off and ate the thumb of the writer of The Yakuza. But still, I would very much like to see a reality television programme where Martin Scorsese and his thumb-eating dog chase each other around like Tom and Jerry. Paul Schrader could direct it.

Raging bull-terrier: did Martin Scorsese’s dog really eat Paul Schrader’s thumb? (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 5523

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.