It’s safe to say no actor has typified a genre as much as Robert De Niro has with gangster movies. From The Godfather Part II to Goodfellas, Casino to The Irishman, it’s damn near impossible to separate the man from the nuanced art of playing a crook we can’t help backing. Which is why it’s rather unsurprising to hear De Niro is taking on yet another gangster drama with Wise Guys.
What will raise eyebrows/strike you as mildly fascinating, however, is the fact Robert De Niro is set to share a screen with fellow Hollywood legend… Robert De Niro. Yes, the 79-year-old thespian is pulling a Tom Hardy by stepping up for two of the film’s major (non-twin) roles: real-life crime bosses Vito Genovese and Frank Costello.
The other detail that might pique your interest is the behind-the-scenes talent currently attached. De Niro is reuniting with Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson of Rain Man, Sleepers, and Wag The Dog fame; and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who penned the source material and scripts for Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Casino.
Incidentally, Pileggi’s book – which was eventually adapted into Goodfellas – is also titled Wiseguy: Life In A Mafia Family, but it’s understood there is no relation to the upcoming Warner Bros project.
Here’s what we’re in for with Wise Guys, according to Deadline:
“Wise Guys is a period piece that tells the story of Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, a pair of Italian Americans running two separate crime families during the mid-20th century. Genovese tried and failed to assassinate Costello in 1957, though the latter wound up taking his leave from the mob after being injured during the attempt on his life.”
Fun fact: as the head of the Luciano crime family, Frank Costello has been widely credited as the inspiration for The Godfather‘s Don Corleone. Meaning everything is coming full circle for both Robert De Niro’s career, who portrayed a young Don Corleone in The Godfather Part II and Mafia-related media in general here.
Additional casting, release date, and so forth have yet to be confirmed for Wise Guys starring Robert De Niro.