Robert De Niro is re-teaming with “Goodfellas” and “Casino” director Martin Scorsese for a project that is equal parts mob movie and Federico Fellini-inspired dream reality. Called “The Irishman” and based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” De Niro told MTV’s Josh Horowitz in April that some plans were cooking to perhaps divide the film into two parts. There’s been no additional news on that front, but the project is inching closer to reality with today’s possible casting news.
Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are reportedly “circling” roles in “The Irishman,” according to a Deadline report. Scorsese is currently working on the 3-D film “Hugo Cabret,” which stars Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer and Ben Kingsley. “Irishman” is one of several possible projects he could move on to next.
The book “I Heard You Paint Houses” focuses on the life of mob assassin Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, the supposed killer of Jimmy Hoffa and Joe Gallo. The movie’s script comes from Steve Zaillian, though De Niro told MTV in April that Eric Roth (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) is also writing because the concept could be split over two films.
In De Niro’s words: “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.”
“La Dolce Vita” and “8 1/2″ are works of the late, great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. The latter film is a semi-autobiographical work about a director who is laboring over an elaborate sci-fi production. The story is peppered with flashbacks and dreamscapes that enter into the director’s present-day reality. MTV speculated in April that a similar plan could be in the works with Roth, particularly given the long history of mob films that Scorsese and De Niro have done together.
Pacino and De Niro have teamed before, for Michael Mann’s “Heat” and Jon Avent’s “Righteous Kill.” Pesci and De Niro have worked together as well, with Scorsese, on the classics “Goodfellas,” “Casino” and “Raging Bull.” “The Irishman” would mark the first time the foursome have worked together in one movie.
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