Irishman, The: Interview with Star De Niro

De Niro gives the performance of a lifetime as Frank Sheeran, also known as “The Irishman” in Scorsese’s three and a half hours mob epic.

The film is told from Frank’s point of view as he gives an insider account of his life as a hitman.

He describes in detail his involvement with the darkest side of organized crime and its inner workings, rivalries, arcane social structures and its connection to mainstream politics.

Sheeran was a high-ranking official in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who, shortly before his death in 2003, took credit for the death of Teamster leader Hoffa in 1975.

De Niro has been involved with the making of The Irishman for 12 years.

“It’s a terrific book…I read it and I said, ‘Marty [Scorsese], you should read this book because I think maybe this is what we should try and do,'” the actor told The Hollywood Reporter In Studio. “We started this whole process in 2007, so it’s been a long time coming. I’m excited to see it and to share it after all this time working on it.”

In order to play Sheeran at different ages, De Niro relied on VFX and makeup. The film used digital de-aging, handled by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to help the actors span decades.

The actor explained the de-aging process when he stopped by The Tonight Show in Sept. 2019. “We had slight dots. They didn’t want it to get in our way,” he said of how he was digitally de-aged. “This they did very subtly and so on, so they had references for all kinds of cameras taking pictures and a special camera photographing us.”

De Niro added that he slightly changed his voice “more toward the end” to better depict the character at different ages.