SALEM — Ziad Akl has more than 60 tattoos, but it was the latest addition to his back that impressed film director Martin Scorsese.
Scorsese asked Akl to add a few temporary tattoos for a role in "Shutter Island," which is based on a Dennis Lehane book. But Akl asked his friend Tom Sardinha of Pelham to give him the biggest one in permanent ink.
Akl later found out he is the only person Scorsese ever asked to get a temporary tattoo who came back with the real thing.
"Scorsese was floored he did it for real," Sardinha said. "He had the whole film crew checking it out."
The Methuen, Mass., resident earned a small role — as an insane inmate — in Scorsese's latest production.
The film is Akl's first, but he quickly learned Scorsese's expectations on the Hyde Park set earlier this month.
"(Scorsese) is a very nice person to work with; he was very patient," he said. "But when he says, 'I want this done,' 100 people are jumping to get it done."
When Scorsese wanted Akl to get even more tattoos, Sardinha got the job. He's a tattoo artist at Dragon's Lair Tattoo in Salem.
"Tom did the lightning bolt (tattoo around my eye)," Akl said. "So when I got the part, I told Tom if they needed someone for the tattoos, I'll recommend you to them. But I didn't think it would happen."
A few days after Akl got the part, the "Shutter Island" crew ventured to the tattoo shop on Route 28, checked out Sardinha's work and hired him to do the art on Akl.
For three days this month, the two men woke up at 6 a.m. so Sardinha could add four temporary tattoos to Akl's back, chest and stomach.