Robert De Niro Casts Doubt On Making ‘Irishman’ Companion Film With Martin Scorsese

When Robert De Niro first told us of his plans with Martin Scorsese to shoot a sort of meta-companion film to their upcoming organized crime tale, “The Irishman,” we were stumped.

The idea, De Niro explained, was to make a second film that was “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.”

That sounded like a killer idea, even if we didn’t know exactly what he was talking about. That was back in April. When we caught up with the Oscar-winner this weekend, while he was promoting “Little Fockers,” however, De Niro cast doubt on the idea that the second film, which Eric Roth (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) was writing, would come to fruition.

“We have a very good script that Steven Zaillian wrote, and that we’re definitely doing,” he said of the straight-forward “Irishman” flick. “The other idea is more ambitious, to do one with Eric doing a flashback/flashforward kind of thing and to do two movies in one and then separate them as movies. I don’t know if that will happen.”

As Scorsese revealed recently, “The Irishman” is still on track, with financing currently coming together with an eye toward starting production next year. Based on the novel “I Heard You Paint Houses,” the story follows a World War II vet-turned-mob hitman with rumored ties to the assassinations of President Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa. In the same conversation, De Niro confirmed that Al Pacino and Joe Pesci will also be taking part in the first film.

“[W]e do have the one that we’re definitely doing. Me, Joe Pesci, Pacino and Marty Scorsese directing,” he said.

And while De Niro remains interested in making that Fellini-esque second film, he didn’t sound hopeful that it will kick into gear. “I would like it to happen if we can get it going,” he said.

Do you hope De Niro and Scorsese make “The Irishman” companion film a reality?