With a star-studded cast of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese's mobster movie The Irishman could be the veteran director's greatest movie of all time. 

Seeing as we're all at home flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic we thought we'd take a look at one of the biggest movies of 2019 that's still on Netflix, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.

We've put together all you need to know about Scorsese's most expensive movie to date, The Irishman.

Read More: Trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman finally drops

What is "The Irishman" movie about?

The Irishman is a Netflix movie adaption of the book, I Heard You Paint Houses,by Charles Brandt. 

The movie tells the story of organized crime in post-war America through the reflective eyes of World War II veteran Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran, a hustler, and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.

Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history - the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa.

The much-anticipated flick offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries, and connections to mainstream politics.

Who are the cast and crew of "The Irishman?"

Described as his "passion project," the movie is directed by eight-time Oscar-nominated director Martin Scorsese and has been in the works for over a decade having endured financial and developmental problems along the way.

The movie brings together a star-studded cast of some of the greatest mob actors of all time including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel.

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese in The Irishman. Image: IMDb

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese in The Irishman. Image: IMDb

Pacino plays Union leader Hoffa and De Niro plays his friend and alleged killer Sheeran, while Keitel and Pesci play rival bosses of the Philadelphia and Bufalino crime families.

It is the ninth feature collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese and their first since 1995's Casino, the fourth film to star both De Niro and Pacino (following The Godfather Part II, Heat, and Righteous Kill), and remarkably, the first time Pacino has been directed by Scorsese.

Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino. Image: IMDb

Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino. Image: IMDb

The film will also feature Oscar winner Anna Paquin, two-time Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale, two-time Emmy nominee Jesse Plemons, and Emmy-winner Ray Romano.

But the array of talent doesn't stop there. The Irishman is written by Steven Zaillian, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay, Schindler's List, starring Liam Neeson and three-time Academy Award-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has collaborated with Scorsese for over fifty years, editing all of his films since Raging Bull in 1980.

Harry Keitel (l) Anna Paquin (c) Ray Romano (r) : Images: Getty

Harry Keitel (l) Anna Paquin (c) Ray Romano (r) : Images: Getty

Two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who worked with Scorcese on The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence will also be behind the scenes.

What is The Irishman's budget?

The initial cost was of The Irishman was thought to be budgeted for around $100 million but the latest estimates put the figure as high as $200 million.

In 2016 producer Fábrica de Cine agreed to finance the film with Paramount Pictures retaining domestic rights. However, when de Cine realized Scorsese was relying even more heavily on de-aging technology to produce the movie, he pulled out as costs increased.

Netflix paid $105 million for the movie rights. Image: Getty

Netflix paid $105 million for the movie rights. Image: Getty

Paramount soon followed but Netflix stepped in and bought the rights for $105 million at the beginning of 2017, agreeing to finance the film's revised $125 million price-tag. But the costs have kept rising in part due to the dependence on the technology and will likely become Scorsese's costliest movie ever.

Scorcese won an Oscar for The Departed in 2006. Image: Getty

Scorcese won an Oscar for The Departed in 2006. Image: Getty

While an average movie might have around 50 scenes; The Irishman has almost 300, with the entire first half of the film edited through the de-aging technology.

It will be Scorsese's first-ever Netflix movie.

What is CGI, de-aging technology?

Computer-generated imagers (CGI) de-aging technology is a visual effects technique used to make actors look younger.

It is a time-intensive process requiring repeated manipulation of individual movie frames to soften or erase wrinkles and reshape the face's physiological structure -think of every frame being photoshopped as movements and expressions change.

As "The Irishman" chronologies Sheeran's life over the decades, Scorsese is using the technology to de-age cast members rather than using alternative actors with De Niro appearing as young as 30 years old.

Robert De Niro appears as young as 30 years of age due to de-aging technology. Image: YouTube

Robert De Niro appears as young as 30 years of age due to de-aging technology. Image: YouTube

The CGI technique was first used in "X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006," when actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who play the mutants Professor X and Magneto respectively, are de-aged in a flashback scene.

In 2008 the technology was used in the movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," when Brad Pitt was de-aged to look progressively younger as numerous decades of the protagonist's life go by.

Where was The Irishman movie shot?

The Irishman was filmed in the historic district of Paterson City, New Jerseyaround the Great Falls National Historical Park, including Totowa, Wayne and McBride avenues, and Birch, Market and Spruce streets.

Read More: What you should know about Irish American mobster “The Irishman” Danny Greene

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in The Irishman. ImageL IMDb

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in The Irishman. ImageL IMDb

Why was the book titled "I Heard You Paint Houses?"

"I heard you paint houses," are the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran.

To paint a house is another term for to murder somebody, as the paint represents the blood that splatters on the walls and floors.

The Irishman is an upcoming Netflix movie adaption of the book, I Heard You Paint Houses, by Charles Brandt. 

The Irishman is an upcoming Netflix movie adaption of the book, I Heard You Paint Houses, by Charles Brandt. 

Sheeran is alleged to have followed up by saying, "yeah and I do my own carpentry too," meaning he would also dispose of the bodies.

In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews, Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. 

Who was Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran?

Frank Sheeran was an American labor union official who was accused of having links to the Bufalino crime family, an Italian-American Mafia crime family active in the Northeastern Pennsylvania cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Pittston.

Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he served 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II, a remarkable figure for the time.

 Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran. Image: YouTube

 Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran. Image: YouTube

After returning home he became a hustler and hitman, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino.

Eventually, Sheeran would rise to a position of such prominence that in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit, then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures.  

Sheeran died of cancer in 2003, aged 83.

Who was Jimmy Hoffa?

Jimmy Hoffa was an American labor union leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1957 until 1971.

As the leader of the powerful Teamsters Union, Hoffa immersed himself with organized crime and served four years in prison for various offenses.

Read More: Mike Quill: America’s greatest Irish-born hero?

Hoffa’s connections to organized crime began in the 1930s when he was a union activist in New York, becoming involved with mafia dons Russell Bufalino and Angelo Bruno.

He worked his way up the ranks to lead the Teamsters by making shady backdoor deals with the East Coast mafia and turned it into one of the most powerful in the world.  

Jimmy Hoffa. Image: Wikipedia

Jimmy Hoffa. Image: Wikipedia

Bufalino, head of the Bufalino crime family, set Sheeran up with Hoffa whom he used for muscle including the alleged assassination of recalcitrant union members and members of rival unions threatening the Teamsters' turf and the two became close friends.

He vanished in late July 1975, from the parking lot of a suburban Detroit restaurant, the Machus Red Fox, where he supposedly was to meet with Mafia leaders, Anthony Giacalone and New Jersey’s Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano.

His body has never been recovered, and no one has been held criminally responsible in the disappearance.

Seven years after the scheduled sit-down with mobsters, Hoffa was declared legally dead in absentia.

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. Image: IMDb

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. Image: IMDb

Who killed Jimmy Hoffa?

There are several theories as to what happened Hoffa but Brandt claims in his book that Sheeran, a longtime friend of Hoffa, confessed to assassinating him and did so in taped discussions as seen below.

According to Brandt, Hoffas's longtime friend Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien drove Sheeran, Hoffa, and fellow mobster Sal Briguglio to a house in Detroit.

While O'Brien and Briguglio drove off, Sheeran and Hoffa went into the house, where Sheeran claims to have shot Hoffa twice behind the right ear.

Sheeran says that he was told that Hoffa was cremated after the murder.

As the movie is told through the reflective eyes of Sheeran, we can expect the ending to be in sync with the book and his confession.

On June 16, 2006, the Detroit Free Press published the so-called "Hoffex Memo," a 56-page report the FBI prepared for a January 1976 briefing on the case at FBI Headquarters in Washington.

The house in northwest Detroit, Michigan (pictured in May 29, 2004) where Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran claimed he shot Jimmy Hoffa twice in the back of the head. Image: Getty

The house in northwest Detroit, Michigan (pictured in May 29, 2004) where Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran claimed he shot Jimmy Hoffa twice in the back of the head. Image: Getty

Although not claiming conclusively to establish the specifics of his disappearance, the memo records a belief that Hoffa was murdered at the behest of organized crime figures who regarded his efforts to regain power within the Teamsters as a threat to their control of the union's pension fund.

Before dying in December 2003, Sheeran said: "I stand by what's written in the book."

Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa

Hoffa first faced major criminal investigations in 1957 as a result of the McClellan Senate hearings but avoided a conviction for several years.

However, when John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, he appointed his younger brother Robert F. Kennedy, who had earlier worked as counsel to the McClellan subcommittee. as Attorney General

Having grown frustrated in earlier attempts to convict Hoffa,  Robert Kennedy pursued a relentlessness campaign on organized crime, with a so-called "Get
Hoffa" squad of prosecutors and investigators.

This eventually led to Hoffa being convicted of attempted bribery of a grand juror and sentenced to eight years in prison in 1964. 

Later that year Hoffa was also convicted of fraud for improper use of the Teamsters' pension fund, in a trial held in Chicago.

Hoffa had illegally arranged several large pension fund loans to leading organized crime figures and received a five-year sentence to run consecutively to his bribery sentence. 

When will The Irishman be released?

Although produced by online streaming company Netflix, the movie is scheduled to have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019.

The film is set to have a limited theatrical release (reportedly two weeks) followed by digital streaming in late 2019 by Netflix.

Will the movie live up to expectations? Will it be worth the hype and massive $200 million budget? Let us know in the comment section below.