One of the highest profile films currently in production at Netflix is Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman starring long time collaborators Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel and co-starring Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. It is seen by many as being something of a summation of the great director’s career.
The film was originally budgeted at a whopping $125 million with Netflix stumping up $105 million but now it looks like it’s going to cost them a great deal more. Rumours started circulating last month that the film was going over budget and some were reporting it had ballooned to $140 million. Yesterday however, the news broke that the budget is now a colossal $175 million, $50 million over budget.
One can presume that, given that principle photography is now complete, the reason for these overruns is down to the cost of special effects.
The Irishman is based on the Frank Sheeran biography I Heard You Paint Houses about the man who, it is claimed, killed Jimmy Hoffa. Whilst this might not seem the natural home for extensive special effects, the film does cover many decades and the decision was made to not cast younger actors for the scenes set in the past. Instead the stars will be de-aged using CGI. This may be proving more expensive than originally thought especially given the current hit and miss nature of CGI assisted, de-aging special effects techniques.
Ultimately, Netflix has very deep pockets and can afford the costs and if the film is as good as hoped then it will certainly be worth it. Also, if they decide to give The Irishman a cinema release ahead of nexts year’s awards season then the film could well be eligible for some nominations which will only boost its potential viewership.
The Irishman is currently in production with a yet to be set 2019 release date.