Those waiting for Martin Scorsese’s next crime epic might finally be able to circle a date on the calendar. The Irishman, the long-gestating period piece set at least partly in the ’70s, follows Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a union leader turned mobster, and his potential involvement in the disappearance of fellow union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.
Besides being Scorsese’s first film since 2016’s acclaimed Silence, The Irishman would be Scorsese’s return to feature filmmaking with Robert De Niro as the lead, playing the titular Irishman himself. It would be Scorsese and De Niro’s ninth collaboration but the first since 1995’s Casino. That combination alone is worthy of intense excitement. Add to the fact that Al Pacino plays Jimmy Hoffa, and both Harvey Keitel and semi-retired actor Joe Pesci are returning to the Scorsese playground, and expectations may be set dangerously high.
It shouldn’t be a surprise then that cinephiles everywhere are looking for that all important release date. Per Uproxx, and verified by other sources, The Irishman may be looking at an official Netflix release of October, 2019. This was mostly confirmed through The Irishman actor Sebastian Maniscalco, who appeared on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, confirming the October release date.
As if understanding what all us common folk would do if required to act in front of Robert De Niro, or any other number of prestigious actors on display in The Irishman, Maniscalco went on to explain that, while working on a scene specifically with De Niro, “that I’m not speaking to nobody. I’m gonna speak when I’m spoken to. There was a part when they were lighting De Niro and I, we’re standing face to face, and I’m looking straight at him. I wasn’t gonna say nothing. And then he comes in on my tie and tightens it a little bit. Oh wow. He straightened out my tie!”
Though far from the top billed name in The Irishman, you can’t imagine Maniscalco being too far off in regards to a release date. A poster for The Irishman has been seen here and there on a Google Image search with Netflix branding, though I could not confirm if these are fan made or not since Netflix itself does not have the poster shown below on their website.
Regardless of when the film is officially released, we know Netflix did purchase the film, something Scorsese is grateful for. Per Variety, who was present for a Scorsese discussion at the Marrakech Film Festival in late 2018, Scorsese was quoted as saying, “People such as Netflix are taking risks. The Irishman is a risky film. No one else wanted to fund the pic for five to seven years. And of course we’re all getting older. Netflix took the risk.”
Some of that risk might be the alleged use of age-defying CGI to allow the aging stars of The Irishman to play younger versions of themselves when required. Per IndieWire, the budget went higher than $140 million. Other sources verify this claim as well.
In the end, you’ve got an iconic director working with five Academy Award winning and/or nominated actors (De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel, Anna Paquin) in the genre that made him famous: crime. And I will gladly take the burden of that excitement.
If anything, it will give us all the opportunity to further erase Righteous Kill from living memory by having De Niro and Pacino unite again in something worthy of their talents. Prior to Righteous Kill in 2008, Pacino and De Niro only ever appeared on-screen together, their characters interacting, in the masterpiece Heat (which happens to be my favorite film). Righteous Kill took some of that mystique away by being, well, unrighteous. The Irishman, with its ability to time travel, thanks to technology, and unite these legends again may make up for whatever happened in ’08. And now I know: I only have to wait until October to see it.