Al Pacino Explains How Martin Scorsese Is Making Him Younger in Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’
You know that feeling when you rewatch The Godfather I and II and you think, “Damn, Pacino and De Niro were such babes! Just look at how young they were!” Well, you might experience that again with The Irishman; emphasis on might. That’s at least what Martin Scorsese is attempting to do with his expensive Netflix movie, using CG magic to youth-ify his actors.
Scorsese wrapped production on The Irishman earlier this month, but the real work on the film has only just begun. The insanely pricey project will spend much of its budget de-aging the actors to show their characters at various ages. The film details the life of mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who claimed he was involved in the death of Teamster Jimmy Hoffa. De Niro is playing the hitman and Pacino is playing Hoffa, and Scorsese’s film plans to jump back in time to show both at different ages. But how?
When speaking about portraying Joe Paterno in Barry Levinson’s new HBO film on The Bill Simmons Podcast , (h/t Decider) Pacino shared new details about The Irishman and Scorsese’s CG wizardry. The actor, who’s 77, revealed that in the film he plays Hoffa at various ages, from 39 to 48 to his 50s.
There’s computers on the camera sides, and they’re various ages. So physically, you’re changed. I was playing Jimmy Hoffa at the age of 39, they’re doing that on a computer. We went through all these tests and things. And then I’m playing 48, even in my 50’s. Someone would come up to me and say, “You’re 39.” [You’d recall] some sort of memory of 39, and your body tries to acclimate to that and think that way. They remind you of it.
Scorsese is working with Industrial Light and Magic in post-production to de-age his cast, which also includes Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Romano – though it’s unknown if the CG magic will be used on any of them. We’ve seen the technology used a handful of times already, and ILM most notably used it in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and recently with the young Princess Leia in Rogue One, though in the latter case a different actor was used. De-aging actors often works best when done in small doses, as with a young Anthony Hopkins in Westworld, but an entire movie involving various actors at various ages? It could be a stunning achievement, or a total disaster. Scorsese isn’t the only one working on something of this nature either; Ang Lee’s Gemini Man is fast at work de-aging Will Smith.
I sure hope it’s all worth it, worth the rumored $140 million budget, that is. Prepare your minds for young Pacino and young De Niro when The Irishman arrives in 2019.
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