Netflix has released the first trailer for its highly anticipated gangster biopic, “The Irishman,” offering viewers a sneak peek at an all-star cast and groundbreaking visual effects.
Screen veterans Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci teamed up for director Martin Scorsese’s latest project, which tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a labor union leader believed to have worked for years as a hitman for the Bufalino crime family, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Netflix bills the film, which is an adaptation of the nonfiction book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt, as an “epic saga of organized crime in postwar America.” De Niro stars as Sheeran, while Pacino portrays Jimmy Hoffa, a union leader and activist whose disappearance in 1975 was never solved, but has long been believed to have been connected to his history with organized crime.
“Our friend speaks very highly of you. I heard you paint houses,” Pacino (Hoffa) says to De Niro (Sheeran) in the trailer.
“Painting houses” is a term used to talk clandestinely about arranged murders, Brandt explained in the book upon which Scorsese’s latest film is based. And Sheeran, a veteran and alleged professional killer with decades of experience, is said to have spoken openly of his life as a hitman for organized crime families, even admitting to the still-unsolved murder of Jimmy Hoffa before his death more than 10 years ago.
The two-minute teaser released Tuesday also offers a glimpse of the visual effects used to make Pacino’s character, as well as others, look noticeably younger in different points of the film, which spans decades, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Brandt’s 2003 book delves into the alleged experiences of Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, who Brandt claimed admitted over the course of numerous interviews that he killed more than 25 people for the mob. Sheeran allegedly told Brandt that notorious mob boss Russell Bufalino — portrayed in Scorsese's film by Joe Pesci — ordered him to kill Hoffa.
Sheeran admitted to shooting Hoffa twice behind the right ear, and later described a house in Detroit, Michigan where the murder occurred, Brandt claimed, according to Fox News. But while blood was found underneath floorboards on the property and tested positive for having come from a male, it was not identified as belonging to Hoffa, USA Today reported in 2005. Despite the fact that his body was never found, Hoffa was declared dead in 1982.
Scorsese's take on the story was 12 years in the making, De Niro told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. He was the one to read “I Heard You Paint Houses” and then recommend to Scorsese that they make adapting it their next project.
“We started this whole process in 2007, so it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’m excited to see it and to share it after all this time working on it.”
“The Irishman” is set to premiere on September 27 when it opens the New York Film Festival; a limited theatrical release is expected to follow before the film premieres on Netflix, Variety reports. No specific dates have been officially set for either release, but Deadline has suggested that the average moviegoer will be able to catch the film in the late fall.
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