Leicester Square shine boxes will be doing a roaring trade on October 13, because the Mafia is coming to town. Martin Scorsese’s decade-spanning crime epic, ‘The Irishman’, will be this year’s BFI London Film Festival closing night gala, a prestigious premiere to wrap up 11 days and nights of movie goodness.
The film, a ‘GoodFellas’ reunion – Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci star, with bonus Al Pacino for good measure and the help of some revolutionary de-ageing technology – is the festival’s most high-profile closer for some time. Tickets, which go on general sale at 10am on September 12, will sell out in a heartbeat, but the LFF will be screening the film simultaneously around the country, so don’t despair if you miss out.
‘We’re all very excited to be bringing “The Irishman” to London,’ says Scorsese. ‘It’s a project that Robert De Niro and I started talking about a long time ago, and we wanted to make it the way it needed to be made. It’s also a picture that all of us could only have made at this point in our lives.’
‘The Irishman’ is adapted by ‘Gangs of New York’ screenwriter Steve Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s 2004 crime memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’. ‘Painting houses’ is Mob-ese for carrying out a hit, and the film will be lurid with them: it follows World War II veteran Frank Sheeran (De Niro) through several decades of Mafia life, culminating in the mysterious disappearance of union president Jimmy Hoffa. Mooks will be whacked, fishes will be slept with… you know the drill.
‘The Irishman’, which also opens the New York Film Festival, will be landing on Netflix later in the year. The BFI London Film Festival, meanwhile, runs October 2-13. Armando Iannucci’s eagerly anticipated ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ is the opening night gala: a pair of solid gold bookends to look forward to. Check back on Thursday August 29 for the full festival programme.