EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Graham has been set to play a key role of Genovese mob cappo Tony “Pro” Provenzano in the Netflix, Martin Scorsese film The Irishman about the disappearance of union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Graham can most recently be seen reprising his role of ‘Scrum’ in Pirate of the Caribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Provenzano was a teamster who rose into the top ranks of organized crime. He was considered a top associate of Hoffa during the 1970s and was believed to have played a part in Hoffa’s disappearance. In fact, Hoffa was at the Red Fox where he was supposed to have a ‘peace conference’ with Provenzano when he was picked up from the restaurant (after phoning his wife) and was never heard from again.
Producers of The Irishman are expected to be Fabrica’s Gaston Pavlovich, Jane Rosenthal, Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Also on board: Scorsese’s longtime collaborators Ellen Lewis (casting director) and Thelma Schoonmaker (editor). The film is expected to get a small theatrical release to qualify for Oscar.
This project has long been embroiled in controversy when the author of the book I Heard You Paint Houses (which is slang for a hit, ala “painting” the walls with blood) Charles Brandt penned it based on the deathbed confession of Frank ‘The Irishman” Sheeran, which will be played in the film by Robert De Niro.
The hit man claimed to tell the real story of the disappearance of former Teamsters boss Hoffa. However, the account Sheeran told to Brandt has been disputed. Still, the FBI investigated and — to look for possible DNA evidence — he pulled up several floor boards from a house where he said he shot and killed Hoffa. Latter the bureau said that the DNA samples found weren’t from Hoffa and they could not corroborate Sheeran’s story.
Graham is currently shooting the TV miniseries The Virtues directed by Shane Meadows. Prior to that, the actor starred in Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie. He also recently wrapped the Fox feature Walk Like A Panther and Journey’s End opposite Asa Butterfield and Paul Bettany.
He is now starring in Little Boy Blue for ITV about the killing of Rhys Jones. He can also be seen in FX’s Taboo opposite Tom Hardy.
He is repped by ICM Partners, LINK Entertainment and Independent Talent Group in the UK.