Here is the first teaser trailer for The Irishman, the Martin Scorsese-directed film that stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Ray Romano and Harvey Keitel. The film will open the New York Film Festival and get a theatrical release by Netflix this fall before it moves to the streaming service.
The drama is an adaptation of Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses. The Irishman tells the story of Frank Sheeran, who admitted killing 25 men for the mob, including his friend, the Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. Pesci plays Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino (who according to Sheeran’s testimony ordered the hit), Pacino plays Hoffa, and De Niro plays Sheeran. Steven Zaillian wrote the script.
Netflix, which paid a premium to get a film that reportedly cost $125 million, will release The Irishman later in the fall. It is expected to be a player in awards season for Netflix, and the film will begin with a theatrical release first, as was the case with Netflix’s release of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, a film that won three Oscars: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography, the latter two of which went to Cuarón.
Netflix held a press event Monday at the Whitby Hotel on West 56th Street in Manhattan, where it unveiled this trailer and showed two other scenes to a crowd of journalists. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos — who could barely contain his glee — introduced De Niro and his Tribeca partner Jane Rosenthal to explain what they were showing and discuss the origins of the project. That goes all the way back to the moment when De Niro and Scorsese were close to committing to an adaptation of the superb Don Winslow novel The Winter of Frankie Machine, when a hit man retires and finds himself the target of murder, and needs to use his well-honed skills to survive, protect those he loves, and get to the bottom of who is trying to kill him and why.
De Niro said that while they were working on that Paramount project, he first read I Heard You Paint Houses, about Sheeran. He and Scorsese liked it so much they first considered an amalgamation of the fiction and nonfiction projects. Ultimately, they told the late Paramount chief Brad Grey that they wanted to make The Irishman, leading an incredulous Grey to note, “so you say that you are trading a green-lit film for a development project.”
It wasn’t an easy switch, because the film uses technology to capture the actors in various stages of their lives, and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto discussed how the style required several cameras that took the actors a while to get used to. The scenes made it clear that if you liked the past crime cinema collaborations between Scorsese and De Niro — including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Casino — get ready to be happy.
Check out the trailer above.