Martin Scorsese just wrapped filming on his forthcoming mob epic, The Irishman, which tells the story of real-life hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) and his confrontation with ex-Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), whose unsolved disappearance many believe was at Sheeran’s hands. As previously reported, the $140 million-plus movie will be using CGI from Industrial Light & Magic to de-age both DeNiro and Pacino, who will play their characters at various stages in their lives. It’s a risky move, and one that will likely inspire no shortage of dips into the uncanny valley, but we remain cautiously optimistic.
During a recent appearance on the Bill Simmons Podcast, Pacino discussed the experience of filming when the 77-year old was tasked with playing Hoffa at the age of 39.
“I was playing Jimmy Hoffa at the age of 39, they’re doing that on a computer,” Pacino told Simmons. “We went through all these tests and things…Someone would come up to me and say, ‘You’re 39.’ [You’d recall] some sort of memory of 39, and your body tries to acclimate to that and think that way. They remind you of it.”
He also discussed how scenes were filmed with computers mounted on the sides of cameras that were programmed to capture the actors at various ages. The intended result was that the actors would appear physically transformed in every frame. We’ll see how it looks when the film hits Netflix next year.