Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, already a momentous mob drama despite the fact that it doesn’t start shooting until next month, just landed one of the genre’s most legendary actors. After repeated refusals, Joe Pesci is coming out of retirement to join Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Scorsese’s film about the infamous disappearance of gangland figure Jimmy Hoffa. As if that trio weren’t perfect enough, Deadline reports that Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale are also in talks for the project.
The Irishman—based on Charles Brandt’s 2005 book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa—will be Pesci’s fourth collaboration with Scorsese, and their first film together since 1995’s Casino. The film also marks Pacino’s first-ever appearance in a Scorsese movie. Production begins next month in New York, and is expected to run through December.
The Irishman has long seemed too good to be true, with Pesci’s repeated refusals to join the cast the only blemish on the project’s potential. Per Deadline, Pesci is rumored to have turned the role down some 50 (!) times. Now that the 74-year-old actor has finally, thankfully acquiesced, Scorsese’s film’s cast is truly a dream team of mob movie stars. On paper, it’s shaping up to be one of the best crime dramas ever made.
Pesci will play Russell Bufalino, a Pennsylvania mob boss whose involvement in Hoffa’s disappearance has long been suspected. Pacino will play Hoffa himself, while De Niro will portray protagonist Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, whose recollections of his involvement in Hoffa’s disappearance form the film’s frame story. Steve Zaillian (Gangs of New York) adapted the film’s script from Brandt’s book. Netflix acquired the film’s worldwide rights in February.
The Irishman is expected to premiere sometime in late 2018. Prepare yourself for a modern-day mob classic, and find out more about the film here.