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Julia Turner at Slate had the same question back in February 2003: Jay Cocks, a longtime Scorsese collaborator and one of film's three credited writers, told Explainer that most of the script was an original creation: "This is a world we conjured out of whole cloth, out of a whole lot of unassimilated historical research." He says Asbury's book, ...


Because it was "inspired" by it, not "based" on it. Herbert Asbury's book (as you've mentioned in your quote) is non-fiction. It was about the real and historic Gangs of New York. Now the movie was completely fictional, only loosely following the real historic events (which Asbury didn't author but reported), so it's considered to be a standalone screenplay, ...

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