Netflix acquires Martin Scorsese's Robert De Niro drama The Irishman
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s long-gestating collaboration — their first feature together since 1995’s Casino — is one step closer to being released.
After several trade reports indicated Tuesday key funds for The Irishman — from Mexican financier Gaston Pavlovich of Fabrica de Cine — had fallen through, EW has confirmed the Scorsese-directed film has landed a worldwide distribution agreement with Netflix.
IndieWire‘s Anne Thompson first reported the deal, which sees the streaming giant scooping up the roughly $100 million from Paramount, which was initially set to back the film’s North American distribution. On the 2016 Cannes market, however, the studio enlisted Mexican sales company Fabrica de Cine to structure an international package, which STX purchased on the Croisette for a reported $50 million.
With Netflix, which has distributed theatrical festival titles such as Beasts of No Nation and Tallulah in the recent past, now in the picture, Thompson notes STX and Media Asia, which was set to release the movie in China, are likely out. A release date has yet to be confirmed, though production is expected to begin later this year.
The Irishman will see Scorsese reuniting with De Niro after working with him on several films throughout their respective careers, including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
Written by Oscar-winner Steve Zallian (Schindler’s List), the film, adapted from Charles Brandt’s 2004 book, I Heard You Paint Houses, tells the real-life story of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a Teamster with connections to the criminal dealings of the Bufalino family in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Sheeran, who died in 2003, also allegedly confessed to his involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in addition to killing Jimmy Hoffa, a teamster leader who went missing during the summer of 1975.
Most of the film’s pricey budget will reportedly go toward special effects, which Scorsese is said to be using to make De Niro appear 30 years younger while he plays the lead role.
Scorsese, perhaps the most celebrated American filmmaker working today, has made additional attempts to court Joe Pesci to star in the film alongside De Niro, though the semi-retired actor, who’s only appeared in six productions since the release of Casino, has repeatedly declined to participate.
“Casino had Sharon Stone, Jimmy Woods, and Don Rickles, and it was the last time that… Joe and I did a picture with Marty. But, hopefully that is gonna change, Joe,” De Niro previously said at the 2016 Guys Choice Awards. “Marty and I are planning to get back together for a movie I think will be a future ‘Guy Hall of Fame’ entry, that is if Joe has any more f—s left in him. So far all he keeps saying is ‘Go f— yourself.’”