Robert De Niro Says Getting The Irishman Made Was A Crazy Long Journey

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman
(Image credit: (Netflix))

The Irishman is a special film for a number of reasons. For one, it reunites filmmaker Martin Scorsese with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci for the first time in decades after the decorated actors starred in Goodfellas and Casino together in the ‘90s. Also, it marks an incredible achievement for Netflix since it's the studio behind the project. Surprisingly enough, it’s really a miracle The Irishman was made at all since the script spent 10 years collecting dust before the production was finally financed.

At a recent press conference for The Irishman at the London Film Festival (via HeyUGuys), Robert De Niro talked about the long journey involved in making the period gangster film based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. In De Niro’s words:

Well, Steve [Zaillian] wrote the script, which was terrific and wonderful as Marty says. Then it was a matter of getting everybody’s schedules to line up. And Marty was doing Hugo, I remember coming over here. And we were talking about that, and what we were gonna do, and his availability, and he wanted to do Silence and so on. I said to Marty, I wanted to make sure he was okay if we would just let it out there when we talk on interviews. And usually I’m very superstitious about that because when you talk about it usually doesn’t happen. But I thought maybe in this case since we had no backers, no people really interested. The idea that we were doing it with Al [Pacino] and Joe [Pesci].

Wow! He’s talking about back in 2009! Along with starring in The Irishman as mob hitman Frank Sheeran, Robert De Niro is also a producer on the movie. At the press conference, he described the work they were doing to get schedules together back when Scorsese’s Hugo was in production. He talked about how he decided to make an exception and get the buzz going for Irishman despite studio rejections in hopes it would inspire those in charge to financially back the project.

The Irishman is an ambitious 209-minute-long movie that takes place in over 100 locations and implements an expensive de-aging technology. Studios weren’t ready to gamble away its reported $160 million production budget, except for Netflix. Although Scorsese had to sacrifice a traditional movie rollout with the streaming service, he was able to make his movie without compromising his big vision.

The movie follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro) across decades of his life as he recalls his involvement in the murder of union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino in the period gangster movie that has been called a “masterpiece” by critics. The Irishman has maintained its perfect 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score for a few weeks, now with 80 reviews.

The Irishman will get theater exclusivity for 26 days when it begins its limited release on November 1, and will then come to Netflix on November 27. The movie is already gaining Oscars buzz and could have several frontrunners following last year’s three wins for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, another Netflix release.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.