Given The Irishman‘s epic-length (three and a half hours!) and distribution on Netflix, some have wondered if Martin Scorsese‘s journey through decades in the lives of union connected mobsters might have worked better as a limited series instead of a movie.
Scorsese has a firm opinion on that: Nope — and not because it would have been prohibitively expensive given all those de-aging effects.
“You could say, ‘This is a long story, you can play it out over two seasons’ — I saw somebody mention that,” the director says. “Absolutely no. I’ve never even thought of it. Because the point of this picture is the accumulation of detail. It’s an accumulated cumulative effect by the end of the movie — which means you get to see from beginning to end [in one sitting] if you’re so inclined. A series is great, it’s wonderful, you can develop character and plot lines and worlds are recreated. But this wasn’t right for that.”
The director is referring to his film’s final 20 minutes or so where an elderly Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is impacted by all the decisions he’s made over the course of his life, embracing a life of crime and alienating his family. The emotional impact of the film’s final minutes would have suffered if not watched in tandem with the rest of the film.
Previously, the director said his film’s ending would have never been allowed by a traditional studio. “A man in a wheelchair at the end? No. Yeah. Not gonna happen. [A traditional studio is] geared toward the most amount of money you can make — understandably. I think it’s gone askew.”
The Irishman is now streaming on Netflix.