Few director’s ‘projects in the pipeline’ lists get film fans as hot under the collar as Martin Scorsese’s.
Talk of I Heard You Paint Houses (also known as The Irishman) has been circulating since before the release of Hugo and has recently been rekindled following Robert De Niro telling Digital Spy that “we should be doing it sometime next year”.
If this is the first you’ve heard about this possible reunion of the director and actor who gave you classics such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The King Of Comedy – then here’s everything that we know so far.
1. It’s based on a best-selling true crime book
The film’s origins lie in the story of Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran, a World War II veteran and Philadelphia gangland hitman, who recounted his tales of ‘life in the mob’ to writer Charles Brandt, including confessing to the murder of Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa.
The book I Heard You Paint Houses was released back in 2004 and became a hit, with the New York Daily News praising how it was “told with such economy and chilling force as to make The Sopranos suddenly seem overwrought and theatrical”.
2. De Niro will be the leading man
Leonardo DiCaprio may now have all but filled the spot of Martin Scorsese’s go-to-guy, but De Niro will be taking on the role of Sheeran. This will be the pair’s ninth feature-length film together, with the last being 1995’s Casino, and it could be a return to form for an actor who has been phoning it in for nearly a decade.
3. The film’s official title is still a little vague
Despite still being billed vaguely as The Irishman, it does seem as though the movie title is still up for review. The title of the book, I Heard You Paint Houses, refers to the first words mobster Jimmy Hoffa ever said to Frank Sheeran, with ‘painting houses’ being a well-known mobster colloquialism for contract killing. A gangster film released in 2011 titled Kill the Irishman – which told the story of Cleveland criminal Danny Green – could maybe sway the decision back to the original book title.
4. The rumoured supporting cast is ridiculously good
There are many names on the unconfirmed list to get excited about, including Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. But the inclusion of Al Pacino may just be the stand-out.
Having never worked with Scorsese to date and only appearing on screen opposite De Niro on two occasions (the brilliant Heat and the forgettable Righteous Kill) – this is the chance to see these two iconic screen actors make the film we always wanted to see them do together.
5. De Niro may get the ‘Benjamin Button’ treatment
Talking to the Empire Podcast about the project, De Niro hinted that there may be some movie magic involved in making the now-ageing cast look younger, akin to David Fincher’s ageing-in-reverse 2008 drama:
“I’m working on The Irishman with Marty Scorsese, and there are sections, earlier periods in the film, where we’re experimenting with how I can [look younger] like Benjamin Button. Not only me, but the other actors too.”
6. It’s Scorsese’s first step into the gangland for a decade
Despite being the genre he is most famous for, this would be the first gangster flick that Scorsese has made since 2006’s The Departed – since then there’s been a children’s film, a thriller, a blackly comic biopic and even a George Harrison documentary.
If that’s enough to have you already scanning the internet to somehow reserve your ticket, then be warned – this is a project still very much ‘in the pipeline’, alongside a Frank Sinatra biopic which has been slated for a number of years. It still may be some time in the future, so distract yourself with Goodfellas until then.
Main image: Getty