Long before Johnny Depp and Tim Burton began their long string of cinematic collaborations, there was another famous actor/director team whose work was generally held in high critical regard.
That duo — Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese — have joined forces on eight films, including Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and Casino. They are now poised to work together for a ninth time, in what sounds like a fascinating project titled The Irishman.
You might recall that we reported back in February that De Niro and Scorses would re-team for a new mobster movie. Well, MTV interviewed De Niro this past week and got the following bit of information from him about said mobster film.
According to De Niro, the flick is based on the novel “I Heard You Paint Houses:” Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa, by Charles Brandt. It tells the story of Sheeran, a man who supposedly killed Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Gallo, and several other Mafia figureheads.
It’s with the next few details De Niro spilled that things get really interesting:
“We have a more ambitious idea, hopefully, to make it a two-part type of film or two films. It’s an idea that came about from Eric Roth to combine these movies using the footage from ‘Paint Houses’ to do another kind of a [film that is] reminiscent of a kind of ‘8 1/2,’ ‘La Dolce Vita,’ [a] certain kind of biographical, semi-biographical type of Hollywood movie — a director and the actor — based on things Marty and I have experienced and kind of overlapping them.”
For those unfamiliar with 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita, both films are the work of the acclaimed Italian filmmaker, Federico Fellini. The film 8 1/2 is of particular interest here, as it is a partly autobiographical tale about a movie director who retreats into his memories and imagination as he struggles to produce his latest project (interestingly, last year’s musical flop Nine was based off 8 1/2 as well).
That said, it sounds as though De Niro and Scorsese could be taking on a very post-modern project that would reflect on their history making pics about mobsters and gangsters, while at the same time telling Sheeran’s own Mafia tale.
Personally, I’d be excited about any new project involving these two cinematic legends — after all, they have quite the impressive track record. This idea of a self-reflexive project sounds especially fascinating and would be a really big treat for anyone familiar with their on-screen history.
De Niro further revealed that Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List) has written the screenplay for the first part of The Irishman and that Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) would set to work on the second. Of course, it looks like Scorsese is directing The Invention of Hugo Cabret next — not to mention that he still has a Frank Sinatra biopic in the works — so we may have to be patient before any real work begins on this new mobster venture.
That said, we’ll keep you updated on any relative news about The Irishman in the near future.