Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Irishman is an upcoming crime biopic based on Charles Brandt’s “I Heard You Paint Houses”. It stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, marking this film the ninth feature collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese.

It’s set to premiere at the 57th New York Film Festival on 27 September 2019 before it goes available for streaming on Netflix on 27 November 2019.

The story revolves around World War II veteran Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran who recalls his days as a mob hitman in post-war America, particularly his role in the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and his involvement with the Bufalino crime family.

The film explores how organised crime operates, the mob rivalries and their connections to mainstream politics.

Robert De Niro as an 80-year-old Frank Sheeran in a scene with a priest portrayed by Father Jonathan Morris.
Robert De Niro as an 80-year-old Frank Sheeran in a scene with a priest portrayed by Father Jonathan Morris.

From the way the story unfolds, there will be interweaving scenes of the present and past so we’ll see De Niro play both a young and old man. How, you ask? Well, Scorsese achieved this by using a de-ageing technology to make De Niro look the age he needs to be as Sheeran.

It’s definitely a big risk to take so Scorsese first tested the new tech by remaking the iconic “What’s the matter with you!” scene from the 1990 gangster film Goodfellas, his sixth collaboration with De Niro.

According to Empire, the test reel featured the Christmas party scene where De Niro reprised his role as Jimmy The Gent and repeated his original lines in front of Scorsese and Industrial Light & Magic’s Pablo Helman.

“We made a little set that looked a little like the original film, and then Bob got going. He did his monologues and soliloquies and different expressions. ‘Get rid of the fur coat! Get rid of the Cadillac!’ Then he went through a series of computer processes,” Scorsese said.

After Helman edited the footage, Scorsese sat down with De Niro and the others to watch the de-aged version. They all liked it and thought this would work for The Irishman.

To Scorsese, the de-ageing tech is a storytelling tool he’s been wanting to use in a film for so long. He knew the risk and now that he’s finally found a way, he’s gone on to create an entire new film with it.