July 31, 2019

'The Irishman' Trailer Reunites Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for Martin Scorsese

Netflix unveils the trailer for Scorsese's much-anticipated movie, The Irishman. But was de-aging its stars worth it?

There's a certain amount of anticipation and wonder when you hear that Scorsese is creating a sprawling gangster epic starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. If this was the '90s, we'd be head over heels for the Charles Brandt “I Heard You Paint Houses” adaptation now titled The Irishman.  

For now, I am trying not to let my inner Scorsese fanatic go too overboard but it's getting kind of hard with this amazing trailer. 

Check it out and let's talk after the jump! 

Here's the logline for the movie from Netflix: 

"Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.”

Does de-aging take you out of the movie? 

Tell me if this has happened to you - you're sitting and watching something like Captain Marvel or even Rogue One and a completely de-aged or computer-generated character walks on screen and you're suddenly taken out of the movie. This tapping of the uncanny valley is getting more and more real as we see characters have their faces digitally de-aged. 

And it's no longer only for unsightly wrinkles. 

I have to admit, I want nothing more than an Al Pacino Jimmy Hoffa movie where he hires a young hitman played by De Niro, but I feel like having different actors play different ages worked in Goodfellas, so I don't know why it can't work here?  

Aside from theorizing on the casting of these younger roles, it does feel like the movie robs us for the chance to find new breakout stars who get to work with Scorsese. 

Could he not get DiCaprio to play a young De Niro? 

Instead, Scorsese opted to work with Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic to change the septuagenarian's faces. 

Without knowing exactly which years we'll see the de-aging process, we do know the movie spans multiple decades. While the VFX wasn't intrusive in the trailer, it's going to be hard to watch the first time and not be distracted by the illusion itself and be able to absorb the story. 

What about the future of film? 

As we have talked about in our articles on DeepFakes, the world is open to any casting opportunity now as long as audiences respond positively to the uncanny valley. You can switch roles, replace people who have tarnished legacies, and even make any cast younger. 

While I'm chomping at the bit to get Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers into a Damien Chazelle movie, I keep going back to the Jurassic Park quote...

We are getting so used to remakes and reboots now that I crave originality. And this feels like the actor version of the reboot to me. Instead of fresh faces or bold choices, we're being served the same people over and over. While that's still "cool" I'm not sure it will be forever. 

As tech gets better and better that uncanny valley might disappear. 

But I hope that means any additional real-human casting does not. 

Netflix will release The Irishman in select theaters and on its streaming platform this fall.     

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1 Comment

I like the idea of another De-Niro and Scorsese mobster movie, but I think this time it has its disadvantages. I agree that we were robbed of finding a new mobster actor and that the de-aging will be a little hard to get used to at first. I just hope the movie is really good and we forget all about the de-aging drama.

August 4, 2019 at 12:07AM, Edited August 4, 12:07AM

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Tom Gleason
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