Fans of Martin Scorsese films will be delighted to learn that Joe Pesci has come out of unofficial retirement to confirm that he’ll be starring in new movie The Irishman, alongside long-time Scorsese collaborator Robert De Niro and the legendary Al Pacino.
Joe Pesci has joined the cast of Scorsese's 'The Irishman'
Deadline reported on Wednesday (July 12th) that 74 year old Pesci has at last agreed to play the part of Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, after repeatedly turning it down over recent years. It’s a comeback part for the legendary actor, who has made just six film appearances in the last two decades.
De Niro and Pacino are already attached to the gangster epic, based on the real-life story of mob hitman Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran, who allegedly admitted shortly before he died in 2003 that he was the gunman behind the controversial murder of Jimmy Hoffa.
Hoffa was an American union leader and author involved in organised crime through the 1950s to the 1970s, when he mysteriously disappeared in Detroit in July 1975, giving rise to all sorts of conspiracies. Bufalino, Pesci’s character, had long been rumoured to have been involved.
The script was adapted by Steve Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s 2005 non-fiction novel, 'I Heard You Paint Houses'. De Niro, and possibly Pacino as well, will be made to look younger for the purposes of flashback scenes using digital technology without having to hire younger actors or resort to prosthetics.
The Irishman will mark the first time that Pacino has ever worked with Scorsese, but Pesci and De Niro last worked with him on 1995’s Casino and, before that, the legendary Goodfellas, for which Pesci won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Other big names such as Bobby Cannavale and Harvey Keitel are due to take on roles.
Shooting for the film is scheduled to begin in August this year, and will continue through to December. Previous reports have suggested that The Irishman will be a Netflix exclusive, but it’s also expected to get a short cinematic release so that it can qualify for the Oscars.