“The Irishman” will follow in the footsteps of “Hugo” as a Scorsese movie that depends heavily on visual effects. The director is teaming with George Lucas’ VFX company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to utilize the same effects used on Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” so that De Niro can be digitally aged to look younger in the flashback scenes.
“The Irishman” will include flashbacks that span decades, and De Niro is set to play Sheeran in all of them. He’ll appear as young as 30 years old.
The visual effects required for “The Irishman” are part of the reason the film’s budget is over the $100 million mark. That’s a massive price tag for any filmmaker, and it’s why Scorsese has taken up shop at Netflix to make the movie despite his love of the theatrical experience over streaming.
“The Irishman” has been in development since 2008 and was originally going to be backed by Paramount Pictures, but the studio couldn’t afford to take on such a risky budget. International rights were purchased by STX Entertainment for $50 million at Cannes 2016, but they backed down after Netflix took over for Paramount and bought worldwide streaming rights.
READ MORE: Martin Scorsese is Heading to Netflix, But He Still Doesn’t Want You Watching Movies At Home
“The Irishman” is officially shooting in New York City this summer, with a production start date set for the middle of August. Principal photography is scheduled until December. The five-month shoot will just a bit longer than the filming of “Silence,” which took place in Taiwan from January 30 to May 15, 2015. But it’s nothing compared to “Gangs of New York” shoot. That massive production lasted for nearly eight months (August 2000 – April 2001).
A lot of attention surrounding “The Irishman” is being paid to the people appearing in front of the camera, but just as exciting are the collaborators joining Scorsese behind it. Most notable is cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who has become a favorite of Scorsese’s in recent years after shooting both “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Silence.” The latter earned him his second Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. His first was for “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. Prieto first earned attention for his work with Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores perros,” “21 Grams” and “Babel”).
Screenwriter Steve Zallian, meanwhile, adapted the book for the big screen. Zallian, who just earned an Emmy nomination for directing his HBO limited series “The Night Of,” wrote the script for Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” and earned an Oscar nomination. He won Best Adapted Screenplay for “Schindler’s List” in 1993.
Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker will also return for “The Irishman.” She was the editor on the director’s 1967 feature debut, “Who’s That Knocking at My Door,” and has edited all of his films since “Raging Bull” in 1980. Her work with Scorsese has resulted in six Oscar nominations for Best Editing and three wins (“Raging Bull,” “The Aviator” and “The Departed”).
And now for the bad news: “The Irishman” won’t be released until 2019. At the very earliest we could get an Oscar-qualifying run in select theaters in late December 2018, but reports say Netflix is eyeing a day-and-date rollout in 2019. Because of the extensive VFX work required, it makes sense the movie won’t open for a year after the cameras stop rolling. Let the long wait for “The Irishman” begin.
Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.