Jump to: Spoilers (7)
Al Pacino said that, to him, the process of filming The Irishman was how it felt filming movies in the 1970s.
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According to Deadline, before accepting the role of Russell Bufalino, Joe Pesci refused multiple times to come out of retirement in order to appear in this film. Some sources say the actual number of refusals was fifty.
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The house that appears at the beginning of the film is the same house that appears in "Goodfellas."
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Stephen Graham was extremely nervous during the scene in which he and Al Pacino debate how late his character was for a meeting. Stephen thought, 'I'm in a scene with Robert De Niro and he says nothing. Shit!' This led him to improvise in another take line, 'What do you think Frank?' to Robert De Niro's character. Much to Stephen's delight, De Niro improvised the line, '12 and a half.'
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Robert De Niro wanted the film to retain the same title as the book "I Heard You Paint Houses".
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The film marks the first partnership between Al Pacino and Martin Scorsese.
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Special effects titan Industrial Light and Magic is providing the work to de-age the actors. According to Al Pacino, there would be computers on the camera sides during production to track and follow the cast for the actors to work with. Pacino said that he'd be playing Hoffa at different ages as told by the crew at ages like 39 or 48. Pacino said when told that his performance was to be at that age, he'd refer to a memory around that time and try to physically and mentally perform as if he were that age.
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At one point in the film Joe Pesci's character instructs Frank to meet with "a fairy named Ferrie." This is a reference to David Ferrie, who some believe had a hand in both the Bay of Pigs invasion and JFK's assassination. Pesci played David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's film "JFK."
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At three hours and thirty minutes, this is the longest film Martin Scorsese has directed, and the longest mainstream film released in over twenty years.
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"I heard you paint houses" were the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran. On The Tonight Show, Robert De Niro remarked that the term, along with "I also do my own carpentry work," refer to both the hit and the clean-up.
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The Irishman took 106 days to film. This is the longest shooting schedule in Martin Scorsese's career.
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Martin Scorsese claimed that for one shot of Jimmy Hoffa getting out of his chair, he had to reluctantly ask 78 year old Pacino for another take, since Pacino's rise from the chair was a bit too noticeably stiff for Hoffa's age of 47 in the scene. Pacino performed the scene again and quipped "62!" Scorsese has said that a unique 'posture coach' was on set for much of the shoot to monitor the physicality of the older stars portraying themselves as younger men.
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The movie's production was Initially set up at Paramount Pictures (who was planning to release it domestically) as well as at Media Asia (who picked up Chinese distribution) and STX Entertainment (who took international rights). After Paramount Pictures lost confidence in the film's 100 million dollar budget--in tandem with the departure of studio chief Brad Grey--it was put in turnaround, and Netflix acquired the rights.
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Netflix's financial backing of this project has had some serious side effects with regards to its theatrical release. Due to Netflix's demands that the film be available on home streaming 30 days after the theatrical release, almost all of the major cinema chains in the U.S., Europe, and many other territories were unwilling to show it, as this breaks the minimum 90-day theatre to home viewing "gentleman's agreement" that the cinema chains and distributors have been working with for years. The major chains like AMC in the U.S., Hoyts in Australia, Event in New Zealand, and Odeon and Cineworld in the U.K. did not believe that they would have sufficient time to recoup their outlay. In many countries, the film has been shown theatrically only by small, independent cinemas and art house chains (such as Curzon in the UK). While the big chains have previously snubbed certain films for various reasons, and thus seriously hurt its box office potential, this is probably the most high profile and critically lauded film to which this has happened.
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The seventh film featuring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. The others being Raging Bull (1980), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), A Bronx Tale (1993), and The Good Shepherd (2006).
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Martin Scorsese has said that he couldn't get a Hollywood studio to back his epic mob movie, claiming nobody was interested in making a film with him and Robert De Niro anymore. Fortunately Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos ultimately stepped behind the production with a proposed budget of $160 million and the film was finally greenlighted.
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According to De Niro, director Scorsese had approached him for an entirely different "aging hitman" project, for which he then read the book on the Irishman as research. He subsequently convinced Scorsese they should do that story instead. (Source: Appearance on the Graham Norton Show)
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When Frank Sheeran says, "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead," he is quoting Benjamin Franklin.
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This is the first feature film directed by Martin Scorsese to star Robert De Niro since Casino (1995).
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When asked during interview with Cinema Blend about how will the film handle the age difference between the actors and characters, Producer Gastón Pavlovich stated, "You don't use prosthetics, make-up; they have acting, and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So, we've seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Bob (Robert De Niro) and just do a scene, we saw it come down to when he was like twenty, forty, sixty, so we're looking forward to that, from that point of view, for The Irishman. Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in The Godfather: Part II (1974) days, that's pretty much how you're going to see him again." The technology will be utilized for the other cast members in the film.
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At one point, it was conceived as being a two part film.
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As depicted in the film, both Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro do actually speak Italian to a decent standard.
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It is rumored the first cut of The Irishman (2019) exceeded 4 hours running time.
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It has been widely reported that Joe Pesci was asked around 50 times to appear in this film before finally agreeing. According to Martin Scorsese the number was actually much higher.
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According to Robert De Niro, the movie will use The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) style effects to make him and other cast members look younger during flashback scenes.
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Robert De Niro refers to himself as "The Irishman" in two scenes in Goodfellas (1990).
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Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco was originally envisoned for the part of Skinny Razor. Upon meeting Maniscalco, Scorsese saw a darker edge to the comedian and offered him a more sinister part as Crazy Joe Gallo. Maniscalco accepted the role and Bobby Cannavalle took the role of Skinny Razor.
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The cast includes four Oscar winners: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Anna Paquin and Joe Pesci; and one Oscar nominee: Harvey Keitel.
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Joe Pesci's first film appearance since his voice role in A Warrior's Tail (2015) and first on-screen film appearance since Love Ranch (2010).
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Martin Scorsese has predicted that due to the success of the de-aging ("youthification") process used extensively on his film, the need for makeup in the future may be drastically reduced. For the three leads in their seventies, the director had insisted that there be no stand-ins, no green screen, and no image/performance-capture with its requisite bulky headgear. Digital de-aging was what he settled for ultimately, a process that was executed here in a manner that had never been done quite this way previously.
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Ray Liotta expressed interest in playing a role in the movie.
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This is Martin Scorsese's 26th full-length theatrical feature film.
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During an interview with The Playlist, Martin Scorsese teased that this would be different from his other gangster films, saying "I think this is different, I think it is. I admit that there are, you know, Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995) have a certain style that I created for them, it's on the page in the script actually. Putting Goodfellas (1990) together was almost like an afterthought, at times he was kind of rushing, he felt I'd already done it because he'd played it all out in terms of the camera moves and the editing and that sort of thing. The style of the picture, the cuts, the freeze-frames, all of this was planned way in advance, but here, it's a little different. The people are also older in The Irishman (2018), it's certainly more about looking back, a retrospective, so to speak, of man's life, and the choices that he's had to make."
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The film was shot primarily on 35 mm film.
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Mickey Rourke claimed Scorsese wanted him to appear in the movie, but that Robert De Niro refused to work with him as a result of a feud between himself and Rourke that stretched back to Angel Heart (1987) where the two co-starred together. In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Irishman producers Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff and casting director Ellen Lewis said that Rourke was mistaken, and that he was never attached to the film. "Mickey Rourke was never asked to be in The Irishman nor was he ever even thought of, discussed, or considered to be in the movie," the statement read.
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In addition to their close call on Goodfellas (1990), Al Pacino was almost directed by Martin Scorsese when Francis Ford Coppola, a fellow apprentice to Roger Corman, suggested he direct The Godfather: Part II (1974) after seeing Mean Streets (1973). Paramount Pictures head Robert Evans, however, felt Scorsese was not experienced enough for the job and preferred that Coppola direct.
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Scorsese's longest feature film yet. Clocking in at exactly 3 1/2 hours and surpassing his previous 3-hour film, The Wolf of Wall Street.
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Although Robert De Niro (an American of Italian / Irish ancestry) was always Scorsese's first choice for the role, when Scorsese originally proposed this project to Paramount, both Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan (both of whom are actually Irish born) were briefly considered as alternative choices in case De Niro was either not available or was asked to take the role of Russell Buffalino after Joe Pesci initially proved reluctant. Although both Neeson and Brosnan are about a decade younger than De Niro, and Neeson had a closer physical resemblance to the real-life Frank Sheeran, Scorsese had doubts about whether he could convincingly pull off the accent consistently. Brosnan was also contemplated, but it is believed he was not contacted as, by then, Pesci finally agreed to play the role of Russell meaning that alternative choices were no longer required.
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This is Martin Scorsese's first film for Netflix despite being vehemently opposed to watching feature films on a TV screen. However, some Netflix films do get a limited theatrical release.
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This epic production comprised 9 cameras, 309 scenes, 117 locations, and 108 shooting days, occasionally necessitating as many as three company moves in a single day.
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Filming began in August 2017.
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Martin Scoresese pointed out that while the senior actors were digitally de-aged in their faces (and in some cases aged) there was still the challenge of acting physically younger (or older) in their posture, gait, and energy level. Scorsese claimed that attention was always paid to the characters' exact age in every scene, including subtle changes of only a few years.
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As of March 2018, it was reported that the budget for "The Irishman" had escalated to $175m.
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The word "fuck" and all permutations of it are used 136 times. This marks the sixth film directed by Martin Scorsese to contain more than 100 uses of the word after "Raging Bull" (114 uses), "Goodfellas" (300 uses), "Casino" (422 uses), "The Departed" (237 uses) and "The Wolf of Wall Street" (569 uses).
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Sebastian Maniscalco was given the option to either fly out to New York City or send a tape from Los Angeles where he resides. Maniscalco opted to buy his own ticket and fly out to audition and meet with the filmmakers. The casting director saw him and said that he was looking good for the movie, particularly since Scorsese was a fan of the comedian's work. Maniscalco said that actually killed his confidence for the audition and it went sour. They subsequently gave him notes and a second chance and he succeeded, although he was cast for a different character than the one he read for.
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Joseph 'Crazy Joe' Gallo is seen entering the club Copacabana. This location is also featured in Scorsese's Goodfellas and Raging Bull.
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Frank Sheeran measured in at 6'4", almost 6" taller than the man portraying him, Robert De Niro. Some techniques like"forced perspective" and shoe lifts helped maintain the illusion of Sheeran's hulking frame. Similar techniques were used in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994).
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The sixth film where Martin Scorsese directs Harvey Keitel, after Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967), Mean Streets (1973), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
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According to Deadline, the movie has been in development since 2010.
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This is the ninth feature film collaboration between Director Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, with their prior films being: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), and Casino (1995). However, this is the tenth film collaboration if you take in account the short film The Audition (2015).
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Robert De Niro and Al Pacino appeared in The Godfather: Part II (1974), Heat (1995), and Righteous Kill (2008).
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Jonathan Morris appears as the priest who consoles Robert De Niro's character. Morris was a Catholic priest in real life and a contributor on Fox News before leaving the priesthood in 2019.
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At least 10 of the actors and actresses have played alongside each other several times in the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire.
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Was originally set to have a wide theatrical release (being the first Netflix original film to do so). However, in August of 2019, Netflix canceled the theatrical release, much to the chagrin of Scorsese fans.
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This is the first film Martin Scorsese and Joe Pesci have collaborated on together without the late Frank Vincent.
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The Irishman wrapped filming on March 5, 2018.
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As of May 15th, 2016, STX Entertainment bought the international distribution rights of the film. After this, the project was green-lit to start production. Scorsese pitched the project as far back as 2007.
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New Jersey native comedian Jim Norton plays the late great comedian Don Rickles. Rickles himself played a supporting role in Casino (1995), the previous collaboration between Scorsese, Pesci, and De Niro.
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Two of this film's stars have portrayed Al Capone: Robert De Niro in the film The Untouchables (1987) and Stephen Graham in the television series Boardwalk Empire (2010). In addition, Al Pacino starred in the movie Scarface (1983), which was a remake of the movie Scarface: the Shame of a Nation (1932), which was heavily inspired by the life of Al Capone.
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The budget was set at one hundred million dollars.
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First time Harvey Keitel has appeared in a Martin Scorsese film in over 30 years. Their last effort was "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988).
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Alan King's character Andy Stone in Martin Scorsese's Casino (1995) was based on real-life Teamsters member Allan Dorfman, who is portrayed by Jake Hoffman in the film.
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This is the fourth time Martin Scorsese has directed Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, after Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and Casino (1995).
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According to an article in Iohud by Karen Roberts published on Friday, September 22, 2017, walking down Lafayette Avenue in Suffern on Thursday was like stepping back in time into the New York of the 1960s and 70s. The filming had closed a stretch of downtown Suffern on Lafayette between Chestnut and Orange Avenues between 11:a.m. and 3 p.m. The film crew had dressed the exteriors of store windows to look like the time period the story was set in. Crews had also been filming in Blauvelt and Ardsley on Wednesday and various other locations around the Lower Hudson Valley.
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The song that plays in the background during Russ's and Frank's conversation about Frank's tour in WWII in Sicily, sounds like The Godfather Waltz. De Niro plays the young Vito Corleone, who is also from Sicily, in The Godfather Saga. But actually the song is "Le Grisbi", by the French harmonica player Jean Wetzel.
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A relatively new production company, STX, secured international rights on the movie. They are a young studio focused on making mid-budget, adult-targeted, star-powered films, which include: The Gift (2015), The Boy (2016), and Hardcore Henry (2015).
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This is the first time Al Pacino worked with either Martin Scorsese or Joe Pesci on a film.
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The fourth feature collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, after The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), The Audition (2015), and Silence (2016).
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There are no Irish actors in this film.
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The second collaboration between Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel. They previously appeared together in "The Piano" (1993)
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The map used to describe the route taken by Russ and Frank from PA to Detroit shows I-275, which wasn't constructed until the late 70's, after Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance.
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Third collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Bobby Cannavale. The others being Boardwalk Empire (2010) and Vinyl (2016).
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Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker's collaboration goes way back to 1967 and Scorsese's Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967). They have worked together on most of Scorsese's films, totaling 24 movies including The Irishman (2019) (without short films and documentaries). Schoonmaker won Academy Awards for Scorsese's 'Raging Bull', 'The Aviator' and 'The Departed'.
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British actor Stephen Graham previously worked with Martin Scorsese and Steve Zaillian on Gangs of New York (2002).
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Casino (1995) was the last Martin Scorsese directed film in which Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent appeared.
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While filming The Irishman, Martin Scorsese turned seventy-five years old. To celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday he received a large birthday cake with a picture of his face on it. His cake was also lined with cupcakes.
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2nd collaboration between Robert De Niro (Frank Sheeran) and Katherine Narducci (Carrie Bufalino) since "A Bronx Tale" in which they play husband and wife. In this film she plays Joe Pesci's (Russell Bufalino) wife. Joe Pesci was also in the film "A Bronx Tale".
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Joseph Russo played Joe Pesci in Jersey Boys (2014).
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Although Al Pacino himself was born in Harlem to a family of Sicilian origin, his character of Jimmy Hoffa was actually of German /Irish extraction making Hoffa's perceived slights against Italian Americans to be particularly ironic given the casting. Actors who would have been more accurate in regards to ethicity of Hoffa would include George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Jack Nicholson (who has previously played the character in 1992's 'Hoffa'), Christopher Walken and, ironically, Robert De Niro.
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At 209 minutes this is Martin Scorsese's longest ever film.
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The second film to feature Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro of the 21st Century after Shark Tale (2004).
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Hoffa explains he had only 5 years of schooling. In real life, he left schooling for work in the labor-force at 14yrs of age and never returned. He is portrayed as being far more intellectual, bright & articulate than Hoffa really was. When Hoffa says 'I went to school for five years', he didn't actually mean school, he meant prison. He elaborates by stating that he "didn't mention any names", meaning he didn't snitch on anyone while imprisoned.
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Director Martin Scorsese shares his birthday, November 17, with actor/director Danny DeVito, who directed the film Hoffa in 1992.
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Hotel Deauville, in the scene of the Teamsters' Miami Beach convention, is better known as the hotel where The Beatles performed during their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 16, 1964.
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Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Paul Ben-Victor, J.C. MacKenzie, and Bo Dietl previously worked together on the television show Vinyl (2016).
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Ray Romano and Robert De Niro have a previous mutual co-star in Peter Boyle. Romano and Boyle played father and son in 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. Boyle and De Niro worked together on 'Taxi Driver' (1976).
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This is the first motion picture that actors Craig Vincent and Harvey Keitel have ever appeared in together. Keitel's wife Daphna Kastner directed Vincent in her 1995 film French Exit (1995)
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Four actors from Entourage are in The Irishman. Vince's accountant Marv, WB studio boss Alan, Dom and Martin Scorsese who played himself
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Steve Witting, who plays Judge William Miller, played the role of Elliot Cookson in Hoffa (1992), a film about Jimmy Hoffa.
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Frank and Peggy Sheeran (Father and daughter in the film) are portrayed by Robert De Niro and Anna Paquin. In real life the actors are 39 years apart.
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This is the third film in which [Al Pacino] and [Robert De Niro] appear together in the same scenes. The first film was Heat (1995)] and the second film was Righteous Kill (2008)]. They also starred in [The Godfather: Part II (1974)] but never appeared any scenes together.
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In 2003, while on his deathbed, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran revealed that he killed Jimmy Hoffa, stating that it was really hard on him, because Hoffa was his good friend, but "it was business". This has yet to be confirmed as a fact by the authorities.
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In the opening sequence of the film, when Frank Sheeran's character is narrating in/from the retirement home, when he first talks about "painting houses...myself" and there is a quick cut of a panning shot of Sheeran executing someone with a gunshot to the back of the head. It's actually a breadcrumb of the climactic murder scene: The flash panning shot lasts less than a second (00:02:09) and is intentionally blurry, except for a select few frames, but pause at (00:02:09.6) and the still-frame will show the 'big reveal' that Sheeran's introductory murder victim here is actually Jimmy Hoffa, who is also the first character to mention "painting houses" in a dialogue scene to Sheeran, and ultimately becomes Sheeran's climactic murder victim of this movie.
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From the moment Frank heads to Detroit to kill Jimmy Hoffa to the moment Russ Buffalino gives Frank his sunglasses back when he returns via private jet, there is no background music.
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In the confession scene, De Niro changed his line from "Who does that to a friend?" to "Who makes that call?"
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Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith (stepson of "Chuckie" O'Brien, played by Jesse Plemons) wrote a book titled "In Hoffa's Shadow" that appeared around the time of the film's release. Goldsmith is scathing about the reliability of Charles Brandt's book, which the film uses as source material, noting how many contradictory versions of Jimmy Hoffa's death Frank Sheeran told towards the end of his life.
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Anna Paquin only has 3 lines of dialogue
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The plane shown as The Irishman's charter from Port Clinton to Detroit (Pontiac) is a Cessna 421C. These were not certified until October 1975, after the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa earlier that year.
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