Of the many projects that crossed the desk of Martin Scorsese over the years, “Frankie Machine” was one of the most promising. Based on the novel by Don Winslow, the book was optioned way back in the early 2000s and was initially eyed as a long awaited reunion between the director and his famed collaborator Robert De Niro. It didn’t come to pass, and in 2007 Michael Mann came on board with Alex Tse (“Watchmen“) tasked with revise the story which had a script by Brian Koppleman and David Levien. And not much has been heard since. Despite that, curiosity still lingers around the project…why? Because the concept is pretty great.
Winslow’s thriller tells the story of Frankie Machine, retired mob hitman who has cut all ties with Mafia but is called in to do a job as a favor for an L.A. crime family. But it’s ruse for a set-up to kill Frankie who survives the attempt, and now must figure out who from his past wants him dead. So yeah, a wicked little premise. But for whatever reason, the film never got off the ground. But in our recent chat with Winslow, not only does he tell us that the “Frankie Machine” is still going, but that more news is just around the corner.
“We are moving forward with a ‘Frankie Machine’ film and expect to make an announcement soon. Mr. Scorsese in no longer involved due to his commitment to another crime film, which is too bad but doesn’t diminish my enormous admiration of him,” Winslow said. We’ve heard that a director will be named soon, so we’ll be curious to see who picks up the story from here. As for Scorsese’s commitment to another crime film? We presume that’s the brewing “The Irishman” which has been teasing a dream cast of De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. So we’ll see.
No word yet if De Niro is still eyeing the lead, but we’re just glad “Frankie Machine” is still rolling. But if you need some Winslow right now, you have plenty of options. “Satori” is in stores now in a fresh paperback edition, the adaptation of his novel “Savages” by Oliver Stone arrives on July 6th and right around the same, Winslow’s prequel novel “The Kings Of Cool” will hit shelves everywhere.