The Irishman Table Read

It was a long road for Martin Scorsese to get his crime drama The Irishman off the ground. The film was in development for nearly a decade before Netflix gave the legendary filmmaker the money he needed in order to make the multi-generational-spanning story come together properly, largely due to the visual effects technology needed to digitally de-ageĀ Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Now you can get a taste of the film from those early development years with a clip from the very first table read back in 2013, and then you can see how Martin Scorsese brought it to life on set, earning the film 10 nominations at the Oscars.

The Irishman Table Read

Netflix posted the above video which takes footage from the first table read for The Irishman in 2013 and mixes it with a side-by-side scroll of the screenplay itself, as well as clips from the movie to match the text being read from the script. Honestly, this makes me want to watch the entire table read recorded all those years ago instead of seeing this hybrid of movie footage along with it, but there are some benefits to seeing the comparison to the final cut of the movie.

It’s interesting to see some of the changes made to the dialogue, for whatever reason. But the one thing that I actually appreciate about cutting back and forth between the movie and the table read is the difference between casually reading through the script and when De Niro, Pacino and Pesci really turn it on for the cameras. The table read helps give a vibe of how dialogue sounds and whether something needs to be reworked, but it doesn’t really come to life until the cameras are rolling on set. Speaking of which…

Martin Scorsese Directing The Irishman

Netflix also posted this assembly of footage showing Martin Scorsese directing on set. This isn’t your traditional featurette with talking heads playing over footage, but instead, it starts off with footage of Scorsese watching Al Pacino’s performance on the monitors, waving his hands in a manner not unlike an orchestra conductor, approving of what the actor is doing on screen. From there, it moves into various B-roll shots with Scorsese doing some real directing of the actors and crew.

It’s not often you actually get to hear what the director is saying when you see footage like this. Scorsese has meaningful conversations with his actors about their lines, including their inflection and intention. He also helps guide them in their blocking in scenes, what motivates certain movements. This footage makes me want to see more of directors actually directing on set instead of just pointing and framing shots with their hands.

The Irishman is available on Netflix right now.

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