When word first dropped that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro were re-teaming for "I Heard You Paint Houses," the project appeared to be a straightforward adaptation of the book about the Mafia and Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Since that October 2008 announcement, the movie has been re-titled "The Irishman" and, as MTV News has exclusively learned, is being developed as just one of two Scorsese/ De Niro films, the second of which is to be based on the real-life experiences of the frequent collaborators.
"We have the script, and we have a more ambitious idea, hopefully, to make it a two-part type of film, or two films," De Niro told MTV News on Tuesday. "Steve Zaillian wrote the first script, which is terrific. The other part, Eric [Roth] is supposed to do it, and we're hoping to move these things together."
How the Oscar-winning actor described the proposed second film is -- in the best sense -- utterly perplexing: a mash-up of fact and fiction that apparently will owe a debt in subject matter and technique to Federico Fellini.
"I'm still not sure what I mean yet, because it's an idea that came about from Eric Roth," De Niro said, "to combine these movies using footage from 'Paint Houses' to do another kind of [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."
So there's that.
No word yet on when either film will shift into production. Next up for Scorsese is a 3-D adaptation of the children's book series "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." After that project, the director will tackle "Silence," a long-planned drama about Jesuit priests in 17th-century Japan, co-starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro. But De Niro is biding his time for the moment when he can reunite with Scorsese for the ninth -- and perhaps 10th -- feature since the pair first collaborated on 1973's "Mean Streets."
"Hopefully it will all come together," De Niro said of the new projects.
Are you intrigued by the film's semi-biographical concept? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out everything we've got on "The Irishman."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more -- updated around the clock -- visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.