Legendary director Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has been in development hell for the better part of a decade now, since he first announced his plans for the film in 2008. Early last year, it looked as though the adaptation of Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses was finally coming together, as distribution rights were picked up by STX Entertainment (along with some others), and a 2018 release was planned. Unfortunately, that deal fell through, as Paramount backed out of the “risky” movie with the exit of studio chairman Brad Grey.
Now, it looks like things are going to start moving once more for the gangster movie starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, as streaming service Netflix has picked it up.
According to IndieWire, the massive streaming service is in the process of closing a deal for worldwide distribution, which would effectively cut out STX and Media Asia, who had previously picked up distribution rights for Asia.
This move by the streaming giant doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Netflix has been creating increasing amounts of original content every year – and doing it incredibly successfully. The company may have started out as a mail-order DVD rental service, but it has since shifted focus to creating as much as distributing, with hit series like the four Defenders shows, Orange Is The New Black, and The Crown making headlines. The streaming service has also been creating feature-length films, as well as reviving popular series from years ago. As IndieWire points out, it certainly says something that Netflix is in a better position than Paramount to take on a risky movie like The Irishman.
Scorsese fans are thrilled at the chance to see the director reunited with De Niro for the first time in over 20 years (since 1995’s Casino). The Irishman certainly has all the ingredients to be a smash hit, with mobster-movie royalty coming together in one place, and Scorsese’s 2013 film The Wolf Of Wall Street getting nominated for no fewer than five Oscars.
On the flip side, the film is going to be using special effects to de-age the stars, a move that many are concerned about, and isn’t going to come cheap – The Irishman is reportedly going to cost around $100 million to make. Although this may be a big risk for Netflix, it has the potential to be rewarding, and to launch the streaming service’s feature length original content to the same heights as its episodic shows. And whether or not it pays off for Netflix, we’re just thrilled that this film may finally make it out of development and onto the screen!
The Irishman does not have an official release date as of this writing.