We’ve been covering news of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman for a long time here. Back in 2008, we brought word that the Oscar-winning director was enlisting two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro for an adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s novel “I Heard You Paint Houses.” In 2010, that title changed to The Irishman and it was reported that the adaptation itself might be coming in two parts, followed by the news that Al Pacino and Joe Pesci could be joining the film to make the most epic gangster movie ever. (Pesci might not be inclined to do so after all.)
But this was all standard pre-production movie news; what really stood out in the run-up to Scorsese’s movie about title character Frank Sheeran–the man who, from his deathbed, claimed to have murdered Jimmy Hoffa–was the computer-aided de-aging technology he hopes to employ. That means the actors who are now in their 70s would theoretically be able to play versions of themselves who appear 50 years younger. And now that Scorsese’s Silence is completed and awaiting its limited December 23rd release in the U.S., folks involved in the production (like producer Gaston Pavlovich) are chatting about the cutting-edge tech.
Here’s what he had to say to CinemaBlend:
Well it’s an extraordinary technology that we’ve been looking at. You don’t use prosthetics, make-up, they have acting and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So we’ve seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Bob and just do a scene, and we saw it come down to when he was like 20, 40, 60, so we’re looking forward to that, from that point of view, for The Irishman … Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in The Godfather 2 days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again.
One thing (among many) that De Niro and Pacino have in common is a wealth of film footage from their careers that started when they were in their 20s. Tech wizards and filmmakers can pull from all of that available footage for a better recreation of the more youthful De Niro and Pacino. In the case of The Irishman, the use of this technology would allow us to see Sheeran and Hoffa in their younger years, with the focus obviously on Sheeran. It’s hard to know just how the final film is going to be structured and whether or not it will straddle various time periods, but you can bet that the 70s aesthetic will be strong.
Are you ready for Computer De Niro? Let us know in the comments below!