Since when he announced, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman became immediately one of the most hyped releases of last years. Which is quite justified, for several reasons: it is the return to that genre of movies that the world loves about Martin Scorsese, gangster stories, which made the fortune of the Italo-American director, and it will potentially continue a personal path of great modern films that started with Mean Streets and proceeded through The Departed, Goodfellas and Casino, among the others.
The main reason of the hype is of course the cast: there are Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together, as it happened only three times in the past, and also Joe Pesci, whose involvement was in doubt until a few weeks before filming. Moreover, given the young age of the character interpreted by Robert De Niro, the movie will make use of a special de-aging technology, that will make De Niro look thirty years old again. “Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in The Godfather Part 2 days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again”, as producer Gaston Pavlovich said.
The budget of the movie is quite big, estimated now in $175 million, Scorsese’s most expensive movie so far. The idea is to prevent the commercial failure linked to the latest film by Martin Scorsese, Silence, which, despite being very much appreciated by critics, didn’t manage to attract many people in the theatres, grossing only 7 million dollars in US against the 46 spent for making the movie (result that seems to have been the main reason of the abandonment of Brad Grey as Paramount CEO). For the distribution, however, Netflix has already bought the rights, and this means that the main media where we will be able to watch the movie will be the American streaming platform. There is still the possibility that we will also watch it on the theatres, even though Netflix recently declared that “it’s premature to say anything at this point”. One thing is sure: this is the biggest investment Netflix ever made on a single movie.
The plot comes from the novel by Charles Brandt I Heard You Paint Houses, which tells the story of Frank Sheeran, an American labor union official who had tight connections with mob and, before dying in 2003, confessed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa, the President of the Union. A history of corruption and gangsters that promises an impact close to The Departed one.
Filming is officially done, as Scorsese announced in beginning of March. The movie won’t be ready before 2019, though, as the director wants to take all time needed for post-production. The release date is not known yet then, but 2019 seems to be very likely.
The story is written by Steve Zaillian, another name that triggered the hype, already author of the scripts for the award winner Schindler’s List, Mission: Impossible and Hannibal. After confirmation about filming, we basically have to wait the end of post-production, then we will know when we can watch the movie that will bring back Martin Scorsese at his peaks. Perhaps even on commercial point of view.
Cover image by movieweb