October 25, 2007–Michael Mann made deal at Paramount to develop “Frankie Machine” as a star vehicle for Robert De Niro. De Niro and Mann previously teamed on the 1995 noir thriller “Heat.”
The drama is an adaptation of Don Winslow novel “The Winter of Frankie Machine.” De Niro will play Frank Machianno, a mob hitman who has retired to run a bait shop. He agrees to help the son of a mob boss resolve a dispute with another Mafioso but is forced to turn into Frankie Machine again when he realizes he's been set up to be killed.
De Niro came aboard the project when Paramount bought the book. A draft was original written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Though trying to avoid playing mobsters, the star made an exception after reading Winslow's novel before it was published.
Mann, who last directed “Miami Vice,” just made a deal at Columbia Pictures for “Empire,” based on John Logan's script with Will Smith, his “Ali” star.
De Niro and Jane Rosenthal produce through their Tribeca Films. Alex Tse has just been set to do a major rewrite of the concept under Mann's supervision.