It’s been 15 years since director Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro made a film together (1995’s Casino), but it looks like the famous duo will soon be reunited. Speaking at the BAFTA’s Life in Pictures Q&A, the director said that he and De Niro hope to shoot the long-in gestation gangster film The Irishman next year. We first told you about the project back in 2008, and then got an update from De Niro back in April of this year. The film is based on the non-fiction novel I Heard You Paint Houses, from author Charles Brandt. The book chronicles the life of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who supposedly murdered Jimmy Hoffa.
Al Pacino and Joe Pesci have been rumored to be involved with the film as well, and Scorsese said that the project is currently going through financing. Digital Spy reports that Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and Cape Fear screenwriter Steven Zaillian is working on the script. Hit the jump for more on the project.
While Scorsese’s collaborations with Leonardo DiCaprio have been nothing short of fantastic, I’m beyond thrilled to see the director reunite with De Niro. No matter what you may think of some of their less than successful films together, they were always pushing boundaries. Besides, it’s been a while since De Niro took on a project that wasn’t afraid to pull punches (I’m looking at you Little Fockers).
When De Niro provided an update on the project back in April, he mentioned that he and Scorsese were talking about turning The Irishman into two films, the second being an homage of sorts to Fellini’s 8 1/2:
“We have a more ambitious idea, hopefully, to make it a two-part type of film or two films…using the footage from ‘Paint Houses’ to do another kind of a [film that is] reminiscent of a kind of 8 ½.”
He mentioned that the second film would be semi-autobiographical, focusing on things he and Scorsese have experienced over the years. No word on whether this is still the plan, but I wouldn’t put it past the duo to attempt something as ambitious or off-the-wall as a companion film.
While mentioning that The Irishman was currently being financed, Scorsese said that it could start shooting as early as next year. Not unlike most other directors of his caliber, Scorsese has a litany of projects in various stages of readiness. He has the long-in-the-works adaptation of Silence, which follows two Jesuit priests in 17th century Japan (Daniel-Day Lewis and Benicio Del Toro were previously attached). He’s also been working on the Frank Sinatra biopic that was announced earlier this year. Whatever his next project may be, any Scorsese flick is a much-welcomed event in a Hollywood climate filled with films like Vampires Suck. The director is currently filming his first 3D project The Invention of Hugo Cabret with Chloe Moretz and Ben Kingsley. The family film is set to be released on December 9, 2011.