Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel all star
The Irishman is creating a lot of buzz for many reasons: not only is it Martin Scorsese’s first film since 2016, but it also unites several cinema greats (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel).
It’s set for release in 2019 via Netflix and fans are already excited for a movie that – thanks to CGI – will see De Niro, Pacino et al playing younger versions of themselves.
Here’s everything we know so far.
When will The Irishman be released on Netflix?
A firm release date has not yet been confirmed, but an announcement video released by Netflix in late February stated that the movie was “coming this Fall”, so expect it to drop during Autumn 2019.
It’s also been suggested that the film will arrive at some point in October. Actor Sebastian Maniscalco (who will play “Crazy Joe” Gallo, a member of New York’s Colombo crime family) revealed the news on the Joe Rogan podcast, affirming: “It’s coming out in October.”
Is The Irishman going to be in cinemas too?
Netflix has tended to avoid traditional big screen releases for its original films, famously falling out with Cannes Film Festival in 2018 for failing to show its movies in cinemas. However, the streaming service recently adjusted its policy to ensure that Roma would be eligible for an Oscar nomination.
The announcement video for The Irishman confirms that it will get a theatrical release, with star Robert De Niro previously stating how the compromise was made.
“We’ve talked about it with Netflix. They are going to do a presentation of our film the way it should be, in a theatre, in certain venues, the best theatrical venues there can be,” De Niro said at the 2018 Marrakech Film Festival.
He added: “They will show it on the big screen, we’re talking about big venues where it would play, where it should play, and what happens after that I’m not sure.”
Has a trailer been released?
A full-length trailer has not yet been released, but the initial announcement video features a snippet of dialogue presumably between Al Pacino’s character Jimmy Hoffa and De Niro’s Frank Sheeran.
“I understand you’re a brother of mine,” Hoffa can be heard asking Sheeran, to which the latter replies: “Yeah yeah, glad to meet ya.”
The exchange then makes reference to the book the film is based upon, I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. Hoffa says “I heard you paint houses”, while Sheeran responses simply: “Yes, I do.”
Has an official poster been revealed?
An alleged film poster for The Irishman circulated in early 2018, but Netflix later confirmed it be a fake.
A tweet from Netflix read: “Sorry for the dad joke but…this poster is an IM-POSTER! Real art to come in the near-ish future.”
Are there any photos?
No official photos yet, but several snaps have emerged from the set. See a collection of those below.
What’s the plot for The Irishman?
An official synopsis hasn’t yet been released for The Irishman, but it’s based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, which told the true-crime story of Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran, a self-confessed hitman for the mob.
A WW2 veteran, Sheeran was a labour union official who claimed to have been hired by the Mafia – particularly the Bufalino crime family – to conduct over 25 murders. He also confessed to killing his close friend and mentor, Jimmy Hoffa, the head of the Bufalino mob who mysteriously disappeared in the mid-70s.
The film is said to span several decades, including flashbacks to 1959 when Sheeran was around 30 years of age.
Who’s part of the cast for The Irishman?
Robert De Niro stars as Frank Sheeran, the titular “Irishman”, in the film. It’s his ninth film with Scorsese, following on from Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Guilty By Suspicion, Shark Tale (in which both lend their voices), Casting By and The Audition.
De Niro has said of starring in the film: “I think when you get older sometimes you get more sentimental. You realize where you’re going and this could be the last time.”
Al Pacino plays Sheeran’s mentor Jimmy Hoffa, making it the fourth time that both De Niro and Pacino have starred in a film together (after The Godfather Part II, Heat and Righteous Kill). It’s also the first time that Pacino has worked with Scorsese.
“It was great to be back with Robert. I love Robert. I have known him for so long. It’s always fun to work with people you trust and know,” Pacino has said. “And of course, Martin Scorsese is a maestro, and he was just a pleasure to be with.”
Joe Pesci will make his big screen return as mob boss Russell Bufalino. Goodfellas and Home Alone star Pesci had previously been semi-retired from acting since 1999, only starring in a handful of films since, including 2006’s The Good Shepherd, 2010’s Love Ranch and A Warrior’s Tail in 2015. He is said to have turned Scorsese down 50 times before finally accepting the role.
Longtime Scorsese collaborator Harvey Keitel will star as Philadelphia mobster Angelo Bruno, True Blood star Anna Paquin will portray Frank Sheeran’s daughter Peggy, Bobby Cannavale (who worked with Scorsese for Vinyl) will appear as Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio, while Ray Romano will also star.
There will also be appearances from Stephen Graham (This Is England, Snatch), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad, Black Mirror), comedian Jim Norton and rapper Action Bronson.
Bronson posted a photo of himself with De Niro and Scorsese in January 2018, along with the caption: “Religious Art.”
Bronson later explained how the cameo came about: “Me and Marty go way back, you know?” Bronson joked to host Peter Rosenberg around the 16:45 in the video up top. “I just got a phone call saying that they wanted me to come in and fucking try out, whatever that’s called, an audition. I went over there and I totally fucking bombed. It was terrible. I’m not good reading off paper. I’m good naturally, you know, like going off myself and doing what I do. First of all, I couldn’t see the fucking words on the paper because I need glasses which is crazy in itself because I thought I had fighter pilot vision. I’ve been saying this for the past 10 years and I’m fuckin’ lying to everyone.”
The rapper-turned-actor also said of working with De Niro: “It’s me and De Niro… Me and De Niro, a minute or two on film forever? I’ll take it. We spent a good amount of time. He would fuck with me a lot.”
How will De Niro and Pacino play younger versions of themselves?
The Irishman is the most expensive movie of Scorsese’s career, with a budget estimated to be as high as $200 million. The film also includes many of its stars digitally altered to appear younger for its extensive flashbacks.
Producer Gaston Pavlovich has said: “You don’t use prosthetics, make-up; they have acting and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So we’ve seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Bob and just do a scene. We saw it come down to when he was like 20, 40, 60, so we’re looking forward to that, from that point of view, for The Irishman … Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in The Godfather: Part II days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again.”
Scorsese’s editor Thelma Schoonmaker told Yahoo meanwhile: “We’re youthifying the actors in the first half of the movie and then the second half of the movie they play their own age. So that’s a big risk. We’re having that done by Industrial Light and Magic, ILM. That’s a big risk.”
“We’re seeing some of it,” she continued, “but I haven’t gotten a whole scene where they’re young, and what I’m going to have to see, and what Marty’s going to have to see is, ‘How is it affecting the rest of the movie when you see them young?’”
Author Brandt has also spoken of the “youthifying” process, saying: “I had the privilege of being on set when they were using this technology… this de-aging technology where Robert DeNiro can play the Irishman in his 70s and in his 30s. The same is true for Pacino. The technology they use in this film involves a process that involves special editing. Once the film was wrapped, they had 18 months to do this special editing with this de-aging technology.”