When we last reported on Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, it looked like the film was headed for legal troubles over who controlled the distribution rights to the story. The upcoming film, based on the Charles Brandt’s 2003 book, I Heard You Paint Houses, follows the career of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who was supposedly involved in the death of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
However, it looks like those troubles have been resolved, or at least resolved to the point where producers are confident enough to start rolling cameras. According to Indiewire, filming is slated to begin this August with Netflix planning a day-and-date release in 2019 along with an awards-qualifying run.
If you’re wondering why we have to wait over a year to get this film, it’s because Sheeran will have to be digitally de-aged so that De Niro can play a 30-year-old. On the plus side, there’s plenty of reference material since De Niro has been acting in movies since he was 20. That being said, Industrial Light & Magic, who will be handling the effects, still have a tough task ahead of them. There’s certainly been progress on the digitally de-aging front, but the last time a digitally de-aged character was put front and center in a movie, we got Clu in TRON: Legacy.
The cast also includes Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, and Harvey Keitel. It will be interesting to see if actors like De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci will be back at the top of their game working with Scorsese, or if The Irishman should have been the hit film of 1992.
Here’s the synopsis for Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses:
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 including those of Joey Gallo and JFK, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that has become a true crime classic. [Amazon]