Netflix officially releases a teaser trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. The film had been in development for a number of years, before finally gaining traction back in 2016. Based on Charles Brandt's book I Heard You Paint Houses, The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran, a mob hitman who possibly was involved in the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. Scorsese's old muse Robert De Niro stars as Sheeran, headlining a cast loaded with icons of crime cinema, including Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel.
One of the reasons why The Irishman has taken so long to complete is Scorsese's use of digital de-aging technology to make his veteran cast appear younger for half of the film. Obviously, post-production was an extensive and difficult process, but now cinephiles finally have an opportunity to see what Scorsese has in store. Shortly after the first official Irishman images were released, there's a teaser trailer available online.
Today, Netflix unveiled the Irishman teaser. You can watch it for yourself in the space below:
Smartly, the teaser slowly builds up to the big reveal of a close-up on the digitally de-aged De Niro, and it's safe to say the end result looks very impressive. Scorsese's approach here was a massive risk, but this particular technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. Nowadays, Marvel uses digital de-aging on a regular basis (see: Nick Fury in Captain Marvel) to excellent effect, and there's no way a perfectionist like Scorsese would have gone this route if he had any doubts about the CGI. There's always a danger of stumbling into the uncanny valley, but the effects team took their time to make sure the younger faces looked right. Granted, this is just a brief glimpse, so it'll be interesting to see how seamless the effects are when the full movie is online to view. The Irishman will premiere at the New York Film Festival in September, so fans will have a greater idea in a couple of months.
As for when the general public can see The Irishman, that's still a mystery. The trailer ends by saying the film will be released in the fall, with no specific date mentioned. Netflix is also planning a limited theatrical release, so The Irishman will be eligible for the 2020 Academy Awards. There was some talk that it would get a proper wide release, but the preview notes it'll play in "select theaters," suggesting it'll be on the big screen in large markets only. While it would be nice for it to get a nationwide run in theaters, the fact that The Irishman exists at all after all these years and will soon be out is enough reason to celebrate.