Much of the buzz around Martin Scorsese’s upcoming gangster epic “The Irishman” centers around the de-aging visual effects that are being used to make actors like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci appear decades younger. De Niro stars as the main character of “The Irishman” and appears at various ages throughout the feature, both young and old. Netflix’s first “Irishman” trailer concluded with a first look at de-aged De Niro, but now the streaming giant has unveiled four photos from the movie that more fully show off the complete transformation of De Niro across decades.
“The Irishman” is based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses.” De Niro stars as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who became a mob hitman and allegedly played a role in Jimmy Hoffa’s death. Pacino is starring as the notorious mob-connected union boss Hoffa. The supporting cast includes Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin. The film marks a reunion between Scorsese, De Niro, and Pesci following “Goodfellas” (for which Pesci won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and “Casino.” Pacino has never worked with Scorsese until now.
The movie’s extensive de-aging VFX are responsible for driving up the budget to a reported $160 million. The effects are also why Scorsese was involved in a lengthy post-production process. Scorsese revealed in May that getting the actors’ eyes just right using the VFX technology proved particularly challenging.
“Why I’m concerned, we’re all concerned is that we’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said on an A24 podcast. “When we put them all together, it cuts back and forth. … Now, it’s real. Now, I’m seeing it. Now, certain shots need more work on the eyes, need more work on why these exactly the same eyes from the plate shot, but the wrinkles and things have changed. Does it change the eyes at all? If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?”
Netflix is releasing “The Irishman” in select theaters beginning November 1. The movie will become available to stream November 27. Check out De Niro’s complete transformation in the first look photos below.