Wise Guys: Oscar Winners De (Raging Bull) Niro and Barry (Rain Man) Levinson Reteam for Warner Gangster Drama

De Niro and Barry Levinson Team for Warner Gangster Drama ‘Wise Guys’

Nicholas Pileggi, who authored ‘Wiseguy,’ the book that was the basis for the 1990 Martin Scorsese-De Niro crime classic, ‘Goodfellas,’ wrote the script.

Warners’ first original feature of the Warner Bros. Discovery era is here … and it’s a period mobster drama fronted by two Hollywood veterans.

Returning to the genre that made him a household name, De Niro will star in Wise Guys, a feature intended for theatrical distribution that will be directed by Barry Levinson, the filmmaker known for 1980s classic s, such as the 1988 Oscar winner Rain Man and movies such as Wag the Dog.

Nicholas Pileggi, who coincidentally authored Wiseguy, the 1985 book that was the basis for the 1990 De Niro-Martin Scorsese crime classic, Goodfellas, wrote the script. Irwin Winkler, best known for producing the Rocky movies as well as being a producer on Goodfellas, is a producer.

De Niro would play both characters, according to sources.

Wise Guys is good choice for Warners, which under new president and CEO David Zaslav has been cutting and shelving projects, re-examining its DC slate, and figuring out which movies to push ahead on a theatrical level, now that the all-in-on-streaming strategy from the previous AT&T regime has been discarded. Zaslav has championed the Wiseguys, with its pickup initiated in late May under Warners’ former Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood regime. The project doesn’t seem to have the hallmarks of a tentpole — big-budgets, visual effects, big intellectual property — nor does it feel like “young Hollywood,” something that would seemingly attract the demographic most known for going to the movies.

Wise Guys: Older Filmmaker

It feels like a throwback, and has a team whose average age is four score — De Niro is 78, Levinson is 80, and Winkler is 91.

The studio, run by De Luca and Pam Abdy, do have Joker: Folie a Deux as their first greenlight.

Levinson was a prestigious Hollywood player in the 1980s and 1990s, with movies such as The Natural, Good Morning, Vietnam, Bugsy and Disclosure, on his resume. One of his biggest films was Rain Man, the 1988 drama that starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It was a runaway hit, and won several Oscars, with best picture and best director among them. Styles and tastes change, and in recent years the director has helmed features for the small screen, including HBO’s Paterno and The Wizard of Lies. The latter starred De Niro as disgraced financier, Bernie Madoff, and earned four Emmy nominations. De Niro and Levinson also worked together on the 2008 Hollywood-centric tale, What Just Happened.