Netflix has released the first trailer for director Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which follows the life of the Jersey-born and Philly-bred mafioso Frank Sheeran.
The movie, based on the author Charles Brandt’s 2003 book I Heard You Paint Houses, stars Robert De Niro as Sheeran and Al Pacino as labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who Sheeran claimed to have killed in a mob hit. Sheeran and Hoffa were reportedly close friends, and it is believed that Hoffa’s mob connections lead to his disappearance in 1975. Hoffa was later declared dead in 1982.
“I heard you paint houses,” Pacino’s Hoffa says to De Niro’s Sheeran in the trailer, referring to a veiled mafia term for murder.
“Yes, I do, sir,” De Niro’s character replies.
Also appearing in the film are Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mafia boss Russell Bufalino, and Bobby Cannavale as Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio, former owner of Philly’s own Friendly Lounge and reputed local mob underboss. Harvey Keitel, meanwhile, portrays Philly mob boss Angelo Bruno, who was murdered in front of his home at 10th and Snyder in 1980.
The film, which takes place across several decades, was initially announced in 2008, according to Deadline. As Variety reports, the film uses makeup and digital effects to de-age its stars, and famously placed De Niro on platform shoes during filming to match Sheeran’s imposing 6’4” frame. The film’s budget, Variety reports, topped out at $160 million.
While The Irishman was filmed mostly in New York and New Jersey, it appears that at least part of the film will be set in Philadelphia. As an Inquirer report from last year indicated, a section of Queens served as a stand-in for South Philly, complete with reproductions of the Friendly Lounge (located at 8th and Washington) and awnings and signage that mimic the Italian Market. The newly released trailer, for example, shows several shots of a recreation of Villa Di Roma, which opened on 9th St. in South Philly in 1963.
Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses portrays Villa Di Roma as a hangout for Buffalino, Bruno, and Sheeran in the Philly mob’s heyday. Former Philly mob boss turned informant Ralph Natale’s 2017 memoir, Last Don Standing, meanwhile, paints the Friendly Lounge as a kind of “classroom for new Mafia recruits,” according to an Inquirer report.