Robert De Niro digitally de-aged

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are getting back together, and this time it’s not to shoot commercials for casinos in Manila, Philippines. For a while now we’ve heard rumblings about The Irishman, a Scorsese gangster film starring De Niro as real-life mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. Sheeran murdered 25 people and claimed to have had a hand in the famous disappearance of the union leader, Jimmy Hoffa, who went mysteriously missing in 1975. To portray the many years of Sheeran’s life in crime, Scorsese plans on digitally de-aging De Niro.

Below, learn more about the next Martin Scorsese and De Niro team up.

Academy Award winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List) wrote the script based on Charles Brandt‘s book I Heard You Paint Houses. The title apparently refers to the first words Hoffa ever spoke to Sheeran. After returning home from World War II, Sheeran became a hustler and hit man for the mob and kept rising in the ranks. Sheeran claimed it was his notorious crime boss, Russell Bufalino, who told him to murder Hoffa.

To portray the Irishman’s younger years, Scorsese is turning to digital technology, not makeup or a younger actor. CinemaBlend recently spoke with The Irishman producer Gaston Pavlovich (Silence), and he told the site about Scorsese’s ambitious plan:

You don’t use prosthetics, make-up; they have acting and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So we’ve seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Bob and just do a scene. We saw it come down to when he was like 20, 40, 60, so we’re looking forward to that, from that point of view, for The Irishman … Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in The Godfather: Part II days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again.

A year ago DeNiro first revealed on Empire’s podcast that Scorsese was considering going this route, so he and other actors, possibly including Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, could act in the earlier periods of the film. Saying De Niro won’t look too different from his Godfather: Part II days is a bold claim, but if anyone can pull off that feat, it’s Scorsese. Since Pavlovich said they did tests of DeNiro in his 20s, 40s, and 60s, it sounds we’ll see plenty of a digitally de-aged DeNiro in Scorsese’s picture, which might start shooting early next year and co-star Vinyl‘s Bobby Cannavale.

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