The film spanning decades in the lives of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), a World War II veteran-turned hitman, and notorious union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), is based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses” and has been a passion project for the director since 2008.
“The Irishman,” described by the studio as an “an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America,” will chronicle the legendary investigation into Hoffa’s disappearance. The real-life Sheeran reportedly confessed to killing Hoffa, which he says he carried out on the orders of the Bufalino crime boss, played by Joe Pesci in the film.
To bring the movie to life, Scorsese used digital de-aging visual effects with the help of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to capture De Niro and Pacino up to 30 years younger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Distributed by Netflix, which reportedly bought the film for a hefty price, “The Irishman,” is set for a premiere on the opening night of the New York Film Festival in September before landing in theaters and on the streaming service sometime in late 2019.
“People such as Netflix are taking risks. ‘The Irishman’ is a risky film. No one else wanted to fund the pic for five to seven years,” Scorsese said last year, noting the film languished in development hell for years at Paramount. “And of course we’re all getting older. Netflix took the risk.”
“The Irishman” also stars Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Sebastian Maniscalco and Harvey Keitel.