Martin Scorsese is the latest director to make the leap from the big screen to streaming platforms as he helms a crime epic based on true events for Netflix called The Irishman. It’s a biopic of Frank Sheeran, the mob enforcer who claims to have been the one who killed Jimmy Hoffa.
Netflix hasn’t announced a release date for the movie yet, but it will be hitting the streaming site – and possibly movie theaters across the world, at the behest of Scorsese – at some point later this year. So, here is Everything We Know About Martin Scorsese’s Netflix Movie The Irishman.
8 Martin Scorsese hasn’t made a gangster movie since 2006
Martin Scorsese is known as the guy who directs mafia movies, but the truth is that he hasn’t made a gangster movie since 2006’s The Departed. Over the past few decades, he’s helmed some of the most iconic and acclaimed gangster movies ever made – Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York etc. – but he’s been taking a break from them for a while.
The Irishman looks as though it will make up for the break from mob movies with a sprawling narrative structure, an epic scope, a star-studded cast of Scorsese’s respected peers, and a tantalizing take on true events.
7 It’s based on a true story
While Martin Scorsese’s last gangster movie The Departed was a fictional story inspired by true events, The Irishman is a direct adaptation of a real guy’s life story. It’s a biopic of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who was involved in labor unions and criminal organizations and claimed to be involved in the assassination of Jimmy Hoffa.
The film itself is based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, which was written by author Charles Brandt. Brandt wrote the book after engaging in a number of detailed conversations with Sheeran about his crimes towards the end of his life.
6 The whole first half of the movie features de-aged actors
Digital de-aging the latest trend in big-screen blockbusters. The MCU pioneered it by taking years off Michael Douglas and Samuel L. Jackson and now, Scorsese is trying his hand at it. The filmmaker’s long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker explained the whole thing: “We’re youthifying the actors in the first half of the movie. And then the second half of the movie they play their own age.
“So, that’s a big risk. We’re having that done by Industrial Light and Magic Island, ILM. That’s a big risk. We’re seeing some of it, but I haven’t gotten a whole scene where they’re young, and what I’m going to have to see, and what Marty’s going to have to see is, ‘How is it affecting the rest of the movie when you see them young?’”
5 The script was written by an Oscar winner
Steven Zallian, the writer behind the screenplay for The Irishman, has previously won an Academy Award for writing Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Holocaust drama Schindler’s List. He also wrote another crime epic for Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York, for which he also received an Oscar nomination.
His other work includes writing the Emmy Award-nominated scripts for the miniseries The Night Of, as well as the screenplays for the Brad Pitt baseball finance drama Moneyball and the Denzel Washington drug dealer biopic American Gangster. So, it’s fair to say that the script for The Irishman is in very safe hands indeed.
4 The shoot took five months
A typical movie shoot takes around two months. A really long one will run up to around 100 days. But the shoot for The Irishman took five months, so it’s on the longer end of the spectrum.
It will be a huge, sweeping epic that takes place across several decades and tells pretty much the entire life story of its subject Frank Sheeran, reportedly depicting him as young as 30 years old. The shoot took place in and around New York City, which is unsurprising for a Scorsese movie, since he’s a native of the Big Apple and most of his movies take place there.
3 Netflix was the only producer willing to fund the movie
Despite starring a cast of huge stars like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and being helmed by a heavyweight like Martin Scorsese, The Irishman struggled to find funding, due to the huge budget needed for its CGI.
According to Robert De Niro, Netflix was the only way to get the movie made at all as the streaming service was the only producer willing to offer up the money needed to fund the making of the movie: “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.”
2 The budget is enormous
Typically, crime movies don’t cost too much to produce. The budget for Scarface was $25 million, while the budget for Pulp Fiction was only around $8 million. But due to all the CGI effects needed to de-age the cast to tell the story over a number of time periods, The Irishman is costing up to $200 million to make.
The initial projected budget was $125 million, but this ballooned to $140 million, and then to $175 million, and now, it’s looking like the final total will be $200 million. It will be the most expensive movie of Martin Scorsese’s career by far.
1 It’s a Scorsese reunion
The cast of The Irishman stars a bunch of actors who have worked with Martin Scorsese before. Obviously, the director has worked with Robert De Niro on a few occasions, but the whole thing is a Scorsese reunion. Joe Pesci plays Russell Bufalino, having previously given acclaimed performances in Goodfellas, Casino, and Raging Bull.
Harvey Keitel from Mean Streets plays Angelo Bruno. Ray Romano and Bobby Cannavale from Scorsese’s short-lived HBO drama series Vinyl appear in the movie, too. Al Pacino also has a major role, but he’s never starred in a Scorsese movie before, as hard as it might be to believe.