When you’ve got Robert De Niro in your mob movie, why limit to yourself to having him only play one crime boss? That’s apparently the approach that director Barry Levinson is taking for his next movie, Wise Guys, which will feature De Niro as two real-life mob bosses.
Based on the book, Wiseguy, by Nicholas Pileggi (who also wrote the script), the film will star De Niro as both Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and here’s where things get interesting. Genovese famously tried to have Costello assassinated. While the attempt failed, Costello was injured enough that he retired. So, basically, De Niro is going to try and whack himself in this one, which is definitely a new take on the mob genre.
Wise Guys also marks the first original picture greenlit under the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery and was reportedly championed by new CEO David Zaslav, who’s been making headlines for his aggressive cuts and dramatic restructuring of the DC Comics films. Via THR:
The project doesn’t seem to have the hallmarks of a tentpole — big-budgets, visual effects, big intellectual property — nor does it feel like “young Hollywood,” something that would seemingly attract the demographic most known for going to the movies. Instead, it feels like a throwback, and has a team whose average age is four score — De Niro is 78, Levinson is 80, and Winkler is 91.
As THR notes, Warner Bros. Discovery has discarded the strategy of making films for HBO Max and will be aggressively leaning into theatrical distribution, so it’ll be very interesting to see if De Niro in a mob movie has the same juice it used to have.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)