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Martin Scorsese's The Irishman tells the true story of mob hitman and World War II veteran Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (Robert De Niro). The film follows Sheeran in his later years of life as he reflects on the events that defined his career as a notorious hitman, particularly the role he played in the disappearance of labor leader and his longtime friend Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The film also looks back at Sheeran's involvement with the Bufalino crime family.
While the cause of Hoffa's death has never been confirmed, Sheeran claimed that he was responsible for his friend's death. As for the Bufalino crime family, they were known for their mafia activity in Pennsylvania. In the film, Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) mentors Sheeran in the world of organized crime while fostering the friendship between Sheeran and Hoffa.
Many of the characters were members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is a labor union made up of blue-collar and professional workers. During the time period covered by the film, the union was known for participating in organized crime.
The Irishman is based on Charles Brandt's 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses.
Scorsese directed and produced the film alongside De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Irwin Winkler, Gerald Chamales, Gaston Pavlovich, Randall Emmett and Gabriele Israilovici. Steven Zaillian penned the screenplay.
Other actors playing real-life characters in the film include Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Stephen Graham, Kathrine Narducci, Domenick Lombardozzi, Anna Paquin, Sebastian Maniscalco, Ray Romano and Jesse Plemons.
The film hit select theaters on Nov. 1 before streaming on Netflix on Nov. 27.
Read on to find out how the actors prepared to play their real-life counterparts.
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