First, the good news: after what feels like many, many years, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman (based on Charles Brandt's succinctly-titled "I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa) finally sounds like it's ready to roll, with Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino all reportedly interested in starring in the film.
And now, the bad news: nothing's set in stone and the deal could still fall apart. According to Deadline:
Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating The Irishman — which may bring together Robert DeNiro, Al Pacinoand Joe Pesci (amongst others) in one film — is coming together very quickly and could be made available to international buyers if Paramount, which currently controls the project, finishes a deal to sell international rights off to Fabrica de Cinein time before the Cannes begins on May 11.
Yes, Paramount's currently attempting to secure international financing for Scorsese's $100m would-be gangster epic, and if they can seal a deal, this thing might actually happen. How likely is it that the deal will go through? The in's and out's of this thing are both tedious and complicated, but to hear Deadline tell it, the odds are pretty much right up the middle: 50/50.
If you're unfamiliar with The Irishman, here's an official description of Brandt's book:
The first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran were, "I heard you paint houses." To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa.
Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually he would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures. When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, he did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself.
If Scorsese maintains the scope of the book (and, more importantly, if the film finds the financing it needs), that really does sound like an epic project. You've got mob hits, some WWII stuff, a little courtroom drama, the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. All of this stuff is right in the Scorsese wheelhouse, so obviously we're hoping this thing comes to pass.
And on a personal note, I'd love to see Pesci make a return to the screen in a new Scorsese joint.
Rumors about that de-aging technology of some sort might be employed in the making of the film, which I assume is a factor in that $100m pricetag. See Ant-Man (or, better yet, see Civil War this weekend) to get an idea how much Scorsese might be able to do with that tech and this cast.
Stay tuned for more on this as it develops, folks.