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Robert De Niro on why Netflix is the right home for The Irishman

08.21.2017

Martin Scorsese The Irishman Robert De Niro

It seemed as though THE IRISHMAN would never happen. After all, a Martin Scorsese crime-drama which would see the great director reunite with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel, with Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale along for the ride as well? No way, and for some time it seemed that THE IRISHMAN, along with its embarrassingly talented cast, seemed too good to be true. However, earlier this year Netflix emerged as THE IRISHMAN's savior when it picked up the project, and although some are disappointed that THE IRISHMAN may not get a wide theatrical release, Robert De Niro told Deadline that the streaming service really is the right home for the film.

As for why that is, Robert De Niro says that Netflix was the only one willing to cough up the rather hefty budget for THE IRISHMAN, which will be making use of digital face-lifts to de-age Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci by several decades throughout the film.

I think that’s good also because we need the money to do it right and it just wasn’t financeable in another way, in the traditional film way, if you will. They’re trying to really do it as the best it’s ever been. We’re doing the young stuff first and taking it decade-by-decade so that later the oldest stuff will be closer to our own age. So they’re trying to really make it as good as they can make it, and that’s the goal that it can be something special that everyone would want to see and see it done as well as it can at this point. I’m excited by it and looking forward to doing it.

Based upon Charles Brandt’s "I Heard You Paint Houses," THE IRISHMAN will chronicle the career of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a mob hitman who was supposedly involved in the death of Jimmy Hoffa. With the story spanning decades, and, as Martin Scorsese didn't want to resort to unconvincing make-up or hiring younger actors, it's incredibly important that the age-defying digital makeup look believable. If Netflix is the only one willing to spend the money to pull it off, so be it; I'd rather see the film on Netflix than not at all. Robert De Niro says that production on THE IRISHMAN will begin on September 18th, the day after the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will find De Niro up for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for his role as Bernie Madoff in THE WIZARD OF LIES.

As exciting as it is to see Martin Scorsese return to the world of organized crime for a film along the same lines as GOODFELLAS or CASINO, the director has been quick to point that THE IRISHMAN will be "tonally different" from his work on either of those films.

I think this is different, I think it is. I admit that there are - you know, Goodfellas and Casino have a certain style that I created for them - it's on the page in the script actually.  Putting Goodfellas together was almost like an afterthought, at times I was kind of rushing, I felt I'd already done it because I'd played it all out in terms of the camera moves and the editing and that sort of thing. The style of the picture, the cuts, the freeze-frames, all of this was planned way in advance, but here it's a little different. The people are also older in The Irishman, it's certainly more about looking back, a retrospective so to speak of a man's life and the choices that he's had to make.

Source: Deadline

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