Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are potentially looking to star in the Frank Sheeran biopic, The Irishman, the mob drama that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have been working on together based on the exploits of mob hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran including the alleged murder of Jimmy Hoffa.
As chronicled in the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. The pic's being developed at Paramount by De Niro and Jane Rosenthal's Tribeca Productions. Steve Zaillian is adapting the text into the screenplay.
De Niro has, in the past, suggested that the film may split into two separate works. The first would be a straightforward adaptation of the narrative and the second a Fellini-inspired movie-within-a-movie that would reflect on his and Scorsese's cinematic history together.
De Niro, Pesci and Scorsese have worked together on Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino while De Niro and Pacino have both starred in Heat and, more recently, Righteous Kill. Right now Scorsese is off directing the 3D Hugh Cabret for GK Films, and this is one of a couple pictures he's considering next. Others include Silence, based on the Shusako Endo novel. Scorsese and GK Films nearly had the pic together with Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gabriel Garcia Bernal in the Jay Cocks-scripted saga of Jesuits who face danger as they preach Christianity and try to find their mentor in 17th Century Japan.
Homicide prosecutor Charles Brandt’s mob assassin biography was first published in 2004 in the US but the promise of a Scorsese/De Niro film adaptation seems to have prompted its release here. Brandt spent years winning round Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran, who worked his way into a position of absolute trust with Philly Mafia bigwig Russell ‘McGee’ Bufalino.
Having been conditioned to kill during a horrific tour of duty in World War II, Sheeran had no problem "straightening a matter out" whenever asked. When he expressed an interest in union work, Bufalino put him in touch with notorious Teamster chief Jimmy Hoffa, whose first words to Sheeran were: "I heard you paint houses" [ie carry out hits].
Sheeran confesses to more than 25 murders – including, most sensationally, that of Hoffa himself – plus obligatory titillating Kennedy assassination titbits. Brandt fills in historical detail around transcripts of his interviewee’s matter-of-fact recollections, delivered with an old-school sense of honour.