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Scorsese and Netflix unveil ambitious new film ‘The Irishman’ with Robert De Niro

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Director Martin Scorsese unveiled his new film “The Irishman” Friday, kicking off the New York film festival with the ambitious Netflix movie that was more than a decade in the making.

The star-studded gangster epic had a budget of $160 million, using 117 different filming locations to shoot 309 scenes which together add up to a run time of 3 hours 29 minutes.

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Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro started planning the film adaptation of Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses” 12 years ago.

“Things got in the way,” Scorsese told journalists Friday after the world premiere screening. “We couldn’t get backing — there was no way — for years,” he added.

“I’m just happy we all got finally to do it because it did take a long time,” said De Niro. “We were lucky to get people to put up the money.”

After several studios declined the project, it took Netflix’s deep pockets to get the green light for “The Irishman” — the nickname of Frank Sheeran, whose account of real-life events forms the basis of the book and film.

Former henchman Sheeran (played by De Niro) claimed to have killed more than 25 people on the orders of mafia boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and truck driver union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

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The film uses a new technology developed by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) — the effects firm created by George Lucas — to digitally “de-age” actors on screen.

De Niro, 76, is able to play Sheeran across several decades, from a 34-year-old in 1955 to his 2003 death aged 83.

Scorsese said it was necessary to “come up with a solution for a de-aging that wouldn’t interfere with Bob and Joe and Al.”

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“Talking to each other with helmets on or tennis balls in their faces — they were not going to do it,” he said.

ILM eventually succeeded in developing technology which did not require fitting the actors with any devices.

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After an unsettling first few minutes the special effects work well, with Pacino also shedding multiple decades in some scenes.

De Niro’s first reaction to when he saw his younger digital self? “I could extend my career another 30 years,” he joked.

– Murder and morality –

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The movie will be released in a limited number of theaters in the United States on November 1, before it appears on Netflix from November 27.

With “The Irishman” Scorsese returns to the gangster movie genre, following “Goodfellas,” “Casino” and “The Departed.”

But this film adheres more closely to real-life facts and characters.

It also sets a slower, calmer pace than those earlier films, taking a step back as Sheeran, as an old man, takes stock of his life in a series of flashbacks and examines the morality of each event.

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AFP/File / CHRIS KLEPONISAl Pacino sheds several decades in some scenes of “The Irishman” thanks to special effects

The movie also revolves around a key episode of his relationship with Hoffa, in 1975.

“He finds himself at the most important point of his life in a moral conflict because he’s basically a good man,” said Scorsese.

The director also makes greater use of dialogue, in particular humor, illuminating scenes between acting giants De Niro and Pacino.

Scorsese said he wanted to evoke the atmosphere of the 1960s as a violent time when it seemed like “everybody was getting shot,” starting with President John F. Kennedy.

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Seemingly tracing a link from those events to the current day, the director described “the true dark forces that are in our nation.”

“It doesn’t happen maybe with one gunshot,” said Scorsese cryptically. “It happens on every level incrementally and before you know it, it’s over.”


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Mulvaney lawyer denies Mick was ‘so heavily involved’ — despite his White House briefing room confession

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was referenced multiple times during Dr. Fiona Hill's testimony Thursday, but Mulvaney's lawyer said he doesn't understand why.

"We have no idea why Ms. Hill believes Mr. Mulvaney was so heavily involved, especially in light of Ambassador Sondland’s contrary testimony," said Fox News reporter Chad Pergram, quoting a statement from Robert Driscoll.

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1197633921065930753

As former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance pointed out, Hill recalled during her testimony how angry she was about Sondland not briefing her. She said that after hearing his testimony Wednesday and learning he was briefing Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Mulvaney and President Donald Trump. She then decided he was correct-they had separate missions and Sondland was on a domestic political errand.

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Adam Schiff’s anger boils over at GOP’s hypocrisy on Russian meddling: ‘Of course they were silent!’

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During his closing statement today in the House impeachment inquiry, Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff forcefully condemned what he sees as Republican hypocrisy when it comes to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Schiff slammed the contention of some Republicans that the "whole idea that Russia got involved in the 2016 election was a hoax put out by the Democrats."

"And of course, they're not alone in pushing out this idea that is trumpeted by no one other than the President of the United States, who almost on a daily basis at times would comment, and tweet, and propagate the idea the Russia's interference in our election was a hoax," Schiff continued. "And of course, we all remember that debacle in Helsinki when the President stood next to Vladimir Putin and questioned his own intelligence agencies -- I wish I had heard just some of the righteous indignation we heard in the Committee today when the President questioned that fundamental conclusion of our intelligence agencies, but course, they were silent!"

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White House secretly meeting with Republicans to limit impeachment trial as president courts GOP senators

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The Trump White House is in secret  talks with top Senate Republicans to draft a strategy on how the impeachment trial will be conducted after the House passes what are expected to be damning articles of impeachment. The president has been focused the past few weeks on sitting down with Senate Republicans individually or in small groups to take the temperature of the caucus and to woo those who have occasionally suggested they might be uncomfortable with the actions he has taken that have led to the current impeachment inquiry.

"A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks," The Washington Post reports late Thursday afternoon.

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