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Netflix Buys Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ Starring Robert De Niro

Variety logo Variety 2/22/2017 Dave McNary
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Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Martin Scorsese’s gangster movie “The Irishman,” starring Robert De Niro.

Netflix would not comment on the deal but sources close to the project confirmed a report by IndieWire.

“The Irishman” will be the ninth collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro. Steven Zaillian has written the script, based on the Charles Brandt’s 2004  book, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which centered on the life of the mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran.

Scorsese and De Niro first partnered on 1973’s “Mean Streets,” followed by “Taxi Driver,” “New York, New York,” “Raging Bull,” “The King of Comedy,” “Goodfellas,” “Cape Fear” and 1995’s “Casino.”

Production on “The Irishman” is expected to start later this year.

The project originated in 2008 at Paramount with De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and De Niro’s producing partner Jane Rosenthal along with Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions.

The book title “I Heard You Paint Houses” comes from criminal slang for contract killings and the blood splatter on walls. Brandt befriended Sheeran shortly before Sheeran died in 2003 and he confessed the author that he had been involved with the killing of Jimmy Hoffa, carried out on orders from mob boss Russell Bufalino. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and was never found.

“The Irishman” would mark Scorsese’s follow-up to “Silence,” a major disappointment for Paramount since opening wide on Jan. 20. The $46 million-budgeted historical drama has earned just $7 million domestically and may have contributed to Brad Grey’s exit as CEO of the studio last week.

STX spent roughly $50 million for international rights to “The Irishman” at last year’s Cannes Film Festival with Paramount still on board at that point to distribute the title in North America.

STX and Paramount were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

 

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