Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have made eight movies together, beginning with “Mean Streets” way back in 1973. Twenty-two years after their last film, “Casino,” the two pals are to reunite on “The Irishman,” a biography of mafia hitman Frank Sheeran, who went by that moniker.
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Netflix has bought the worldwide rights to this prestige picture from STX Entertainment, which was reported to have paid $50 million for them at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. At that time, Paramount was to distribute the film stateside. However, this longtime home for Scorsese just took a hit on another of his passion projects as “Silence” made a mere $13 million and failed to register with Oscar voters.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”) adapted Charles Brandt’s 2004 book, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which chronicled Sheeran’s colorful life and was titled after the slang term for a contract killer. The project has been in development by their two companies — Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and De Niro’s Tribeca Productions — for the better part of a decade.
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While their second collaboration, “Taxi Driver” (1976), is considered a classic, their third, “New York, New York” (1977), was a misfire. Film #4, “Raging Bull” (1980), won De Niro the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of boxer Jake La Motta. They worked together one more time in the 1980s, “The King of Comedy” (1983), and thrice in the 1990s: “Goodfellas” (1990), “Cape Fear” (1991) and “Casino” (1995).
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