Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating gangster picture The Irishman, which reunites the legendary director with his old muse Robert De Niro, will finally begin production this summer. The project has been in development for a number of years, but didn’t truly gain traction until 2016, when STX acquired the international distribution rights in a heated bidding war. Unfortunately, domestic distributor Paramount balked at the pricey $100 million budget and backed out. Earlier this year, streaming service Netflix swooped in to save the day and has agreed to release the film when it’s completed.
With The Irishman looking closer to being a reality than ever before, the one question on many a cinephile’s mind was when exactly the movie will come out. Scorsese has kept quite busy in his elder years and is attached to a number of films, such as a Mike Tyson biopic, Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle Devil in the White City, and an adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon. Despite having a full plate, it would appear The Irishman is next on the Oscar winner’s to-do list, as it’s slated to start principal photography in a few month’s time.
Per IndieWire, the plan is for the cameras to begin rolling this August. Sources indicated Netflix is targeting a 2019 premiere in conjunction with a limited theatrical run in order to qualify for awards consideration. The Irishman is going to rely on digital de-aging techniques in order for De Niro and co-star Al Pacino to appear as their younger selves in flashbacks, so post-production should be quite extensive. This would explain why there is such an extensive gap between filming and release. The creative team is obviously going to want to take their time to perfect the visual effects so everything looks as realistic as possible. It would be a shame if a master like Scorsese fell victim to the uncanny valley.
For those not in the know, The Irishman is based on Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses and covers the career of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro). Sheeran was allegedly involved in the mysterious death of Jimmy Hoffa, who will be played by Pacino in the film. Acclaimed screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who collaborated with Scorsese on Gangs of New York, penned the script. This will mark the ninth time Scorsese and De Niro have worked together and the first since 1995’s Casino. The two were a dynamic duo for a number of years, making such cinematic classics like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfelllas. One can only hope The Irishman lives up to that pedigree.
Right now, there’s no reason to believe The Irishman won’t be a success. Scorsese remains at the top of his game as a helmsman, given that several of his 21st century offerings have been nominated for Best Picture. And though De Niro and Pacino are no longer in their primes, both are still capable of delivering a knockout performance if the material is there, and the thespians are renowned for their work in the crime genre. This has been a passion project for the filmmakers for the better part of a decade, so they are going to do everything they can to enthrall audiences with another compelling look at life in the mob.
The Irishman does not have a release date at the time of this writing. We’ll keep you updated on the latest information.