Robert De Niro's de-ageing in 'The Irishman' revealed in new Netflix trailer

Ben Arnold
Contributor

Robert De Niro's VFX transformation in Martin Scorsese's forthcoming mob movie The Irishman has been revealed in a new trailer from Netflix.

The gangster film spans decades, telling the story of hitman Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran, who became a high ranking union official with ties to the Bufalino crime syndicate.

Sheeran was a war veteran, who served in the 45th infantry division during World War II, and it appears that Scorsese is plumbing some of that biographical history in the movie, with the first shot of a younger De Niro (Shereen in his mid-20s) in a military helmet and uniform (as such it does have a whiff of Call of Duty about it).

Robert De Niro in The Irishman (Credit: Netflix)

According to Sheeran's biographer Charles Brandt, whose book I Heard You Paint Houses (code for contract killing) Scorsese has adapted for the screen, Sheeran developed his skills in execution while serving his country.

Read more: Mickey Rourke on why he lost out on The Irishman

He's then seen in the 60s (judging by the size of that collar), and later in suits and an overcoat, looking increasingly more like he does today.

(Credit: Netflix)

Likely thanks to such extensive use of visual effects, the film has cost the streaming studio a reported $160 million, a huge sum for a drama.

Industrial Light and Magic, the VFX company founded by George Lucas, is behind the de-ageing work, dubbed 'youthification' by Scorsese, according to reports.

(Credit: Netflix)

Speaking to Empire, the director revealed that they re-enacted the Christmas party scene from Goodfellas in order to test the quality of the VFX.

Read more: The Irishman will be De Niro’s longest ever movie

“We all decided 'This is going to work,'” Scorsese said, after seeing the results.

Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night, De Niro said that process took ‘a lot of work to do’, and he had to have special ‘dots’ stuck to his face to allow the CGI to be done in post production.

(Credit: Netflix)

“I’m happy because maybe it’ll extend my career by another 30 years,” he joked.

Of the dots, he added: “They didn’t want it to get in our way and Marty didn’t want that.”

The pictures also hint at the film's extensive run-time, set at 209 minutes, the longest movie Scorsese has ever made.

Starring De Niro alongside Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Stephen Graham and Kathrine Narducci, the movie lands in UK cinemas on 8 November and from 27 November on Netflix.