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It’s been thirteen years since Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro last worked together. In 1995 they made Casino, and since then Scorsese has moved on and found a new muse in Leonardo DiCaprio. But, it’s about time Marty and Bob got the old gang back together. They’ll do it in a movie about organized crime called I Heard You Paint Houses, the title of which is mob slang for contract killings.
Variety says Paramount has hired Steve Zaillian to adapt a script from the same named novel, and then they’ll let the Batman and Robin of mob movies loose on it. Scorsese will direct, and De Niro will play Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a mob hitman responsible for more than 25 murders.
The book by Charles Brandt is apparently based on the real life story of Sheehan, whom he befriended and wrote about. Sheeran confesses his crimes to him, including, he claims, the murder and dismemberment of notorious Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa. Sheeran says he killed him on orders from another mob boss named Russell Bufalino. Robert De Niro is going to kill Jimmy Hoffa.
One problem though. When is the expiration date going to run out on movies about organized crime? This is an exciting project, but only because Scorsese and De Niro are teaming up on it. Even they have to admit that this is pretty well worn territory for them, to say nothing of Hollywood in general, which has spent the years since the Godfather retreading mob movies over and over and over again. Playing gangsters and cops has become almost a crutch for De Niro; and Scorsese, well I’d hoped he’d finally gotten over the whole mob boss thing after the success of Aviator. Looks like it’s back to the well.