Martin Scorsese’s Netflix project, a mob movie called The Irishman, will hit the streaming service in fall 2019. The film reunites Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (shown above in 2017) — who both starred in The Godfather: Part II, Heat, and (it unfortunately must be mentioned) Righteous Kill — for what’s looking like a seriously pricey project (running at least $140 million). You may have already heard that the movie involves time jumps to follow Pacino playing Teamster Jimmy Hoffa at various points in his lifetime, and yep, it’s already known that there would be CGI involved in de-aging both leading men with De Niro playing mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. However, the amount of computer wizardry isn’t simply a passing matter — it’s substantial, sparking fears that an uncanny valley could potentially overwhelm the whole film.
The concept isn’t new, obviously. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starred Brad Pitt playing an absurdly wide rage of ages, and it arguably worked. More recently, Samuel L. Jackson has been de-aged by a few decades in Captain Marvel, which isn’t quite as weird as seeing Nick Fury with two peepers. Well, Scorsese’s going for broke on the editing process for Not-Goodfellas, as The Irishman editor Thelma Schoonmaker tells Yahoo, because the whole first half of the film will see pseudo-young versions of Pacino and De Niro:
“We’re youthifying the actors in the first half of the movie. And then the second half of the movie they play their own age. So that’s a big risk. We’re having that done by Industrial Light and Magic Island, ILM … We’re seeing some of it, but I haven’t gotten a whole scene where they’re young, and what I’m going to have to see, and what Marty’s going to have to see is, ‘How is it affecting the rest of the movie when you see them young?'”
Not only will the CGI oddness take up half the movie, but Pacino revealed last year (to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons podcast) that this isn’t a case of erasing 20 years or so. Nope, the 78-year-old actor plays Hoffa at age 39, which is literally half the Oscar winning star’s true age. It’s gonna be strange, y’all. This is especially the case when we’ve seen both actors several decades younger in the same projects, so comparisons will inevitably be drawn, and they may be harsh. Still, Netflix wants that Oscar gold at any price, but as a telling side note, Scorsese has also signed a deal to co-produce a Devil In The White City series with Leonardo DiCaprio for Hulu. The streaming wars are real.