Martin Scorsese's next movie, The Irishman, has been jokingly referred to as The Expendables of gangster movies – and with good reason. The legendary filmmaker's return to the seedy underworld will not only reunite him with long-time collaborators Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci, but will also bring in none other than Al Pacino, one of the most famous actors of the crime genre.
The movie is currently in production, and some passers-by were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of what could be one of the biggest gangster movies ever made. As you can see from the reactions on Twitter, fans are struggling to contain their excitement for Scorsese's return to a genre he defined. Check them out below!
Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, #TheIrishman chronicles the vanishing of union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) in 1975. The movie will be told from the point of view of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran's (Robert De Niro), the hitman who claims to be responsible for Hoffa's disappearance. The Irishman shows the events that led up to the infamous cold case and its lasting impact. Pesci will portray the crime boss Russell "The Old Man" Bufalino, while Keitel will take the role of the crime boss Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno.
The Irishman will reunite #MartinScorsese with De Niro and Pesci after 22 years, with their last collaboration being Casino. Pesci actually retired from acting in 2010, but Scorsese was able to convince him to come out of retirement after many failed attempts. On the other hand, Keitel's last work with Scorsese was in the Biblical film The Last Temptation of Christ. Gangster movie veteran Pacino, who worked with De Niro in The Godfather Part II (although they were playing characters in different time periods, and therefore never met) and Heat, will be making his debut in a Scorsese film, fulfilling the dreams of many fans.
Despite the hype surrounding The Irishman and the high caliber names attached to it, major studios refused to produce the feature. This was partly because of Scorsese's plan to use costly CGI to de-age the actors, since his movie will take place over multiple decades. Producer Gaston Pavlovich explained the decision to digitally show the cast's youth instead of casting younger actors, saying that today's technology will show new sides to the cast's already impressive acting capabilities.
"You don’t use prosthetics, make-up; they have acting and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So we’ve seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Bob and just do a scene. We saw it come down to when he was like 20, 40, 60, so we’re looking forward to that, from that point of view, for The Irishman … Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in 'The Godfather: Part II' days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again."
The movie's expected R-rating didn't help satisfying studios either, as they're normally hesitant about bankrolling expensive R-rated movies that are not based on popular pre-existing material. Netflix ultimately rescued the movie, giving Scorsese an estimated $125 million dollars to bring the circumstances surrounding Hoffa's disappearance to life. De Niro credited the streaming giant for saving the picture, which he believes would never have happened if Scorsese tried to get it financed through more traditional channels.
"I think that’s good also because we need the money to do it right and it just wasn’t financeable in another way, in the traditional film way, if you will."
The Irishman is slated for a 2019 release, and will be made available on Netflix. The movie will also be Netflix's first Oscar bid, marking yet another achievement for the groundbreaking entertainment service.
Will you watch The Irishman when it hits Netflix? What are you expecting from it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.