The Irishman Took The Greenlight Away From Another Scorsese/De Niro Collab
Back in 2007, it had been 12 years since Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro had worked together, with Casino being their last film. The wheels were in motion for the iconic duo to finally reunite, but it wasn’t for The Irishman. In fact, The Irishman completely killed the project they were discussing at the time.
In a Hollywood Reporter profile piece for The Irishman, it was shared that Paramount’s Brad Grey was ready to give the greenlight for Frankie Machine, which would see De Niro play a retired hitman drawn back for another job. However, while doing research for Frankie Machine, De Niro read Charles Brandt’s book about Frank Sheeran, I Heard You Paint Houses. After talking with Scorsese, the pair felt a stronger connection to Sheeran’s story.
As De Niro’s producing partner Jane Rosenthal recalled, Grey had little qualm with swapping a greenlight for a development deal, and that was how work on what would become The Irishman began.