Martin Scorsese’s near-mythic The Irishman—long a too-good-to-be-true rumor, only whispered about and hoped for by mob film fanatics—is now officially going to be made.
The film is an adaptation of a 2005 nonfiction novel by Charles Brandt, I Heard You Paint Houses…, which is revealingly subtitled, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa. Scorsese’s film will focus on exactly that, and with the best possible cast bringing it to life.
The Irishman will star Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and, starring in a Scorsese film for the first time, Al Pacino. That’s right—three of the most iconic actors in gangster film history are uniting in a gangster film, with Scorsese at the helm. Also rumored to be involved is Harvey Keitel, who starred in Scorsese’s first great film, 1973’s Mean Streets. And as if all that weren’t glorious enough, screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who worked with Scorsese on the script for 2002’s Gangs of New York, adapted The Irishman for the screen.
All of this is made possible by the film’s newly acquired funding: per Deadline, Paramount struck a deal with STX Entertainment, with the help of Mexican financier-producer Fabrica de Cine. The sale of The Irishman’s international rights is reported to have amounted to near $50 million, easily the biggest deal at Cannes this year.
“This is a cinematic event that is likely never going to be repeated,” a Fabrica exec told Deadline. “It’s Scorsese back with De Niro. It’s Scorsese with Pacino for the first time. We strongly believe in the filmmakers’ ability. The decision about who to go with really has come down to who shared our vision for the film and really believed in it.”
We’ll have more information on The Irishman as this sure-to-be-legendary project continues to take shape. In the meantime, nerd out over mob movies with us—here’s our list of 10 gangster actors with real-life organized crime ties.