“I hear you paint houses,” is the first thing Jimmy Hoffa said to Frank Sheeran. Painting houses refers to the blood that “paints” the floor or wall after someone is shot.
Jimmy Hoffa was a labor union leader and national celebrity in the mid-1900s, and Frank Sheeran was a labor union organizer, a close friend to Hoffa, and a close friend to Russell Bufalino, a mafia boss.
On Wednesday, July 31, Martin Scorsese, award-winning director and GOAT of mob movies like Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed, released the trailer for his new film The Irishman.
Yeah, you guessed it, The Irishman centers around Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, and his ties with Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino, and Russell Bufalino, played by Joe Pesci.
This amount of actor-mafioso star power is unprecedented. We are going to witness three of the GOATS in acting and the crime genre all share the screen for the first time ever.
We have seen De Niro and Pesci together before, in classics like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino (all directed by Scorsese). We have seen De Niro and Pacino together before, in crime dramas like Michael Mann’s Heat.
But never have we seen Pesci and Pacino on screen together, and never these three at once. We are truly in for a real treat.
The Irishman is based off a book by Charles Brandt titled “I Heard You Paint Houses.” In the book, Brandt interviews real-life Frank Sheeran and learns about Sheeran’s life growing up during the Great Depression, fighting in World War 2, becoming acquainted with Bufalino and Hoffa, and the truth behind Hoffa’s disappearance.
This is one of Scorsese’s most audacious films yet, partly because it will cover the span of around 80-years, and also because of the age of the three main actors. De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci are all in their 70s, and with scenes that go as far back as the ’30s.
Plus, instead of using younger actors, Scorsese is used extreme de-aging technology to keep our three main stars in the fold.
As a reader of the book, I can truly say Sheeran’s life and the story is one of the craziest I have ever heard. He was a soldier in World War 2, and there learned what it was like to take a life and how to live in extremely harrowing conditions.
He did favors for major mafioso players in Philadelphia, working his way up the ranks to become the most trusted man of one of the most respected bosses in the U.S. Pointing to a gold-encrusted ring, Bufalino tells Sheeran, “Only three people in the world have one of these. And only one of them is Irish.”
This is a book dripping with suspense, intrigue, and intensity. Every new chapter of Sheeran’s life is complete with a new battle, either within the ranks or outside of them. The movie, under Scorsese’s watch, is sure to be the same.
Frank Sheeran was a 6’4”, sturdy brick of a man that could part crowds like Moses parted the Red Sea, and he called tiny-in-stature Jimmy Hoffa one of the two greatest men he ever met. Al Pacino is perfect for the role of Hoffa, a strong, eccentric, brilliant man who fought to instill labor unions in the workforce and was President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for 14 years.
It’s early to say, but I would put my betting money on Pacino winning an Oscar for this role. The movie also features Harvey Keitel, a tremendous actor himself. Scorsese has shown his directing prowess for over 50 years now, and he keeps taking on bold projects all the same.
The only worry for this film is if the de-aging technology will look a bit funky. But if Scorsese deserves anything, it’s the trust of his fans. There are ways to use lighting and shadows to make someone look at how they did years ago without a hiccup.
Anyone who saw Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 can attest. Plus, this movie has been in the editing stage for a while now, so the people involved are taking their time in making it look perfect.
The second half of the 1900s teemed with conspiracies, corruption, and mafia activity. Frank Sheeran had a first-row ticket to most of the action. Hoffa’s disappearance also happens to be the most notorious mystery and disappearance in U.S. History.
“Do you want to be a part of this fight?” Hoffa asks Sheeran. “Do you want to be a part of this history?”