OK, try to follow this … it gets a little complicated.
For years, Martin Scorsese has wanted to do a movie. It’s called “The Irishman,” it’s a gangster film and it would star Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Let’s not forget Harvey Keitel, too. It’s been labeled a clear sign in the power shift in Hollywood, as Netflix has swooped in to steal the flick from Paramount Pictures, since the studio’s 12 year chairman Brad Grey is departing. As someone close to the deal put it, “Scorsese’s movie is a risky deal, and Paramount is not in the position to take risks. This way, he can make the project he wants.”
As IndieWire stated, “We now live in a world where Netflix is in a better position than any major studio to make a Martin Scorsese-Robert DeNiro gangster film.”
So, let’s tallk about the story for a moment. Steve Zaillian adapted “The Irishman” screenplay from Charles Brandt‘s book, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which details the life of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a mob hitman whose illustrious career is today best known for a supposed involvement in the death of Jimmy Hoffa. The movie was first announced in 2008.
Paramount hedged its bets by picking up North American rights while foreign sales company Mexico’s Fabrica de Cine (“Silence”) put the movie up for auction at Cannes. In a bidding war with Lionsgate, Fox and Universal, “The Irishman” sold for $50 million to rising studio STX Entertainment. That was the price, because Scorsese’s Leonardo DiCaprio-headlining “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was a global hit ($392 million).
Now, per their usual custom, Netflix is acquiring all world rights. That means STX is likely out, as is Media Asia, which picked up distribution rights for China. The movie has no official start date, but sources say it is aiming for 2019 release day-and-date with a limited Oscar-qualifying release.
Scorsese still has an overall feature deal with Paramount that runs through 2019. The studio released his last film, “Silence.”
In “The Irishman,” De Niro will be made to look 30 again by the effects masters at ILM, “Benjamin-Button”-style.
According to multiple reports, Pacino, Pesci and Keitel are still in negotiations.
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