For years now, we’ve known that Martin Scorsese plans to de-age Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro for his forthcoming crime drama, The Irishman. However, what we didn’t know was how ambitious those plans actually were until now.
“We’re youthifying the actors in the first half of the movie,” Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker told Yahoo. “And then the second half of the movie they play their own age. So that’s a big risk. We’re having that done by Industrial Light and Magic, ILM. That’s a big risk.”
So risky that not even she has seen a complete scene.
“We’re seeing some of it,” she admitted, “but I haven’t gotten a whole scene where they’re young, and what I’m going to have to see, and what Marty’s going to have to see is, ‘How is it affecting the rest of the movie when you see them young?’”
That unknown is certainly concerning and Schoonmaker is well aware of the consequences. She insisted that The Irishman is “an expensive project” and again reiterated that “[Netflix are] taking a risk there.”
No kidding. Over the years, we’ve seen the technology at work in a number of films, and as recently as last summer’s Ant Man and the Wasp, but they’ve mostly been relegated to short scenes. What’s more, they’ve yet to truly be 100% convincing.
Further complicating matters is that the film is reportedly months away from its Netflix release. As The Playlist points out, actor Sebastian Maniscalco, who plays Joe Gallo in the film, teased an October drop on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which jives with what they were recently told at Sundance.
With that in mind, and knowing that Schoonmaker has yet to examine a single scene with the technology, one starts to feel the walls moving in on this production. However, Schoonmaker appears more worried about Goodfellas comparisons than anything else.
“The Irishman is not Goodfellas,” Schoonmaker insisted, “And that’s what they think it’s going to be. It’s not. It is not Goodfellas. It’s completely different. It’s wonderful. They’re going to love it. But please don’t think it’s gonna be Goodfellas, because it isn’t.”
To be fair, moviegoers will have their reasons. In addition to reuniting Scorsese with longtime co-stars DeNiro and Joe Pesci, they’re also getting the Godfather himself in Pacino, with a story that’s centered around a hitman and Jimmy Hoffa, as told in Charles Brandt’s 2005 non-fiction novel, I Heard You Paint Houses….
Of course, we’ll go in with an open mind. Whenever that day arrives.