Martin Scorsese admits Netflix are taking a 'risk' with The Irishman

Martin Scorsese admits Netflix are taking a 'risk' with The Irishman

Martin Scorsese has admitted The Irishman represents a "risky" prospect for Netflix given the amount of time and money spent on the film.

Scorsese first began work on the mob drama, which has been written by Gangs of New York and Schindler's List scribe Steve Zaillian, back in 2016.

Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, The Irishman stars De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a labour union leader and hitman for the Bufalino crime family.

Al Pacino also stars as Jimmy Hoffa and boasts a supporting cast that includes Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin and Ray Romano.

One of the most talked about projects at the Cannes Film Festival, Netflix shelled out a reported $105m to obtain the worldwide rights to the film, setting a budget of $125m for the project.

Costs on the project soared after it was reported that extensive CGI was required to make the 74-year-old De Niro look like a 30-year-old for the scenes set in 1959.

The Irishman's release date has been pushed back to the second half of 2019 but, speaking at the Marrakech Film Festival  De Niro revealed it would be released at the cinemas rather than straight onto the streaming platform.

"We've talked about it with Netflix," De Niro said. "They are going to do a presentation of our film the way it should be, in a theatre, in certain venues, the best theatrical venues there can be. How they resolve it is, in the beginning, they will show it on the big screen, we're talking about big venues where it would play, where it should play, and what happens after that I'm not sure."



Scorsese, who was also in attendance, admitted the project represents something of a gamble for the streaming service.

"People such as Netflix are taking risks. The Irishman is a risky film," he said.

"No one else wanted to fund the pic for five to seven years. And of course we're all getting older. Netflix took the risk."