Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman Will Feature a De-Aged Cast for the 1st Half

Netflix has attracted its fair share of big-name directors in recent years. In fact, with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, the streaming service and full fledged production studio nabbed their first-ever Oscar-nominated film for best picture. You can be assured it won’t be their last. Enter Martin Scorsese, one of the most iconic living directors, and his upcoming film The Irishman, which Netflix will release this year.

Scorsese’s The Irishman is arguably the most hotly anticipated gangster drama in years. It’s also been in the works for a long, long time. Scorsese’s film boasts a script from Steven Zallian, and is adapted from Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses.” The story spans many decades, which is partly the reason it’s been so hard to get made up until now. The story covers the life of hitman Frank Sheerhan (Robert De Niro) as he looks back on his life. The cast is outrageously good and includes Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano, Jesse Plemons, and Bobby Cannavale. Now we know that for a few of these folks of a certain age, they’ll be starring as the younger versions of themselves in the film’s first half.

A new, intriguing interview that Yahoo Movies UK did with Scorsese’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker reveals that the entire first half of the film features de-aged versions of the principal cast. We’ve seen this done before, to fantastic effect, in recent Marvel films like Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man and the Wasp. In their upcoming Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson has been rendered 20 plus years younger.

“We’re youthifying the actors in the first half of the movie,” Schoonmaker tells Yahoo Movies UK. “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.”

Scorsese has delved into some heavy duty effects work before. Consider his hugely ambitious adaptation of Brian Selznick’s gorgeous graphic novel Hugo, for example. Yet this kind of CGI on live-action is fairly novel for the iconic director. De-aging actors is a heavy duty lift, even for an effects house as incredibly accomplished an able as ILM. Scorsese had been trying to make The Irishman for years until Netflix came along and were able to provide him with the financial leeway he needed.

If you’re expecting a kind of Goodfellas 2, you should know that is not the kind of film Scorsese is making. Schoonmaker says as much in the interview. Instead, this is a more meditative gangster story, with a hitman looking back on his life and the decisions he made.

There’s no concrete release date as of yet, but word is The Irishman will likely bow this fall. It now has Roma as a perfect test case of how to roll out a film from a major director right in time for awards season. We’ll be eagerly awaiting this premiere, and seeing this fantastic cast in all their de-aged glory.

Featured image: BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 17: Director Martin Scorsese, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award (C) poses with actors Robert De Niro (L) and Leonardo DiCaprio in the press room after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 17, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.