Well into old age, De Niro has retained the swagger of an elderly mobster — The Irishman proved that. But an upcoming film, Wise Guys, will put his killer skills to the test. The mob drama is set to star De Niro as both Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, two of history’s rival crime bosses.
And get this: Nicholas Pileggi — who wrote Goodfellas! — is penning the screenplay.
Robert De Niro Meets His Match
Wise Guys will follow the story of Vito Genovese and Frank Costello who ran rival crime families throughout the 1950s… until Genovese ordered a hit on Costello in 1957. But the assassination was botched, injuring Costello who went on to retire from the mafia.
So, yes, that means we are (kind of) going to see Robert De Niro whack himself.
Seasoned filmmaker Barry Levinson, who directed Rain Man and worked with De Niro fairly recently on HBO’s The Wizard of Lies, will helm Wise Guys with the script coming from veteran crime writer Nicholas Pileggi. Pileggia originally wrote the nonfiction account of Henry Hill, Wiseguy, which became the basis for Goodfellas. (The similar titles are a clichéd coincidence.) The writer also collaborated on the screenplay adaptation, earning him an Academy Award nomination in 1991.
Fun fact for all you movie lovers: Pileggi was also the husband of the late, great Nora Ephron.
O.G. Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is the original gangster. Starring in The Godfather Part II, Mean Streets, Casino, Once upon a Time in America, and, of course, Goodfellas, De Niro cut his teeth playing smooth mafiosos, his name becoming synonymous with the genre.
But now, he is also the old gangster. In 2019, De Niro starred in The Irishman as the racketeering hit man (or, “house painter”) Frank Sheeran. The film utilized special de-aging technology for De Niro to portray a younger Sheeran. More recently, he’s been filming Killers of the Flower Moon with frequent collaborators Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. In that historical drama, De Niro plays the gangster-esque William Hale who masterminded the Osage Indian murders.
The actor is now 79 years old.