Joe Pesci Finally Signs on to ‘The Irishman’ as Martin Scorsese Solidifies Cast

     July 12, 2017

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[Update: Deadline has updated their story to note that Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale are not yet confirmed for the cast—they’re currently in talks.]

The cast is taking shape for Martin Scorsese’s next film, and a key piece of the puzzle has finally said “yes.” After months of badgering, Deadline reports that Joe Pesci has agreed to co-star in Scorsese’s gangster drama The Irishman, which will reunite him with many familiar faces. Robert De Niro stars as hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who confessed to the real story of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa on his deathbed. Pesci, who turned down a role in the film a rumored 50 times, will play mob boss Russell Bufalino, who has long been suspected of being involved in Hoffa’s disappearance. Pesci hasn’t been seen onscreen since 2010’s Love Ranch, and before that his last role was 2006’s The Good Shepherd, so him coming out of semi-retirement here is a big deal.

The Irishman is not only a major Goodfellas and Casino reunion; it’s basically an assembly of all-time great actors. In addition to De Niro and Pesci, Al Pacino’s deal is currently being finalized. Production begins in and around New York next month and will continue through December, and the film also reunites Scorsese with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto after having worked together on The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence.

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Image via Paramount

The film is being financed by Netflix, and indeed the streaming exhibition is less-than-ideal for cinephiles, but The Irishman is expected to get a small theatrical release to qualify for the Oscars. It’s unclear if the movie will hit theaters in 2018 or 2019, but Scorsese does tend to take his time in the editing room so a 2018 release isn’t guaranteed.

Scorsese will be using cutting-edge technology to de-age his actors so they can portray their characters in various time periods, much like the way Marvel’s done with Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. They went through various rounds of tests and Scorsese seems to have been pleased with the results, so this should be an interesting one.

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