Scorsese and De Niro’s new mob movie ‘The Irishman’ about NEPA hitman bought by Netflix
For years, there have been sporadic updates about “The Irishman,” the highly anticipated film that will reunite director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro, but now the mafia movie with real-life local connections is closer than ever to production thanks to Netflix.
The leading streaming entertainment subscription service has acquired the worldwide rights to the project, which will also star Al Pacino and possibly the retired Joe Pesci. The script, written by Steven Zaillian, is based on the 2004 true crime bestseller “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt about the life of hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran.
Employed by the Bufalino crime family, based in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Sheeran committed over two dozen murders for the mob and confessed to killing labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who was famously never found. The Bufalino family operated out of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Pittston, so it is safe to say that parts of “The Irishman” will take place in NEPA.
Scorsese and De Niro collaborated on some of the greatest organized crime movies of all time, including “Mean Streets,” “Goodfellas,” and “Casino,” along with other classics like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and “Cape Fear,” so “The Irishman” could be another legendary film in the making. It will mark their ninth movie and first full-length feature they’ve worked on together since “Casino” in 1995. De Niro (and possibly other actors) will be de-aged for the role using computer effects.
Work on “The Irishman” started in 2008 at Paramount Pictures, but after Scorsese’s “Silence” underperformed at the box office, it appears that Netflix is taking the reigns on this project, which is expected to finally begin production later this year.
A synopsis of the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” details the true story that will be retold in the upcoming movie:
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. Sheeran’s important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that is destined to become a true crime classic.