Robert De Niro explains how his highly anticipated new movie reverse-ages him by decades

Cameras don’t begin rolling on the anticipated Netflix movie “The Irishman,” teaming Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for the first time since 1995’s “Casino,” until August, but the groundbreaking motion-capture technology that will be featured in it is already underway.

De Niro, 73, told Business Insider on Friday while promoting his upcoming HBO movie about Bernie Madoff, “The Wizard of Lies” (airing May 20), that he’s already met with the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic and filmed test footage of him delivering lines from a classic Scorsese movie to achieve the effect that makes him look much younger.

“We did some tests. I did a scene from ‘Goodfellas’ and they worked on that piece and we’ve been slowly moving along,” De Niro said. “We’re going to make it great.”

“The Irishman,” based on the Charles Brandt book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” centres on hitman Frank Sheeran, who admitted to killing Jimmy Hoffa. De Niro plays Sheeran, whose recollections of his days in the mob will involve flashbacks going back decades.

The movie, which Netflix will release in 2019, also stars Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and Joe Pesci.

Warner Bros.Robert De Niro in ‘Goodfellas’ (1990).

Though “Goodfellas” was released 27 years ago, in 1990, when De Niro was 46, it’s possible we will see an even younger version of De Niro (alongside, presumably, other reverse-aged actors) in “The Irishman.”

One of the movie’s producers, Gastón Pavlovich, said back in January that ILM has made up versions of De Niro in his 20s, 40s, and 60s.

De Niro’s description of the de-ageing process, which he said involved motion-capture dots placed all over his face, sounds similar to how ILM worked with English actor Guy Henry to bring a GCI version of “Star Wars” character
Grand Moff Tarkin to the screen for “Rogue One.” In that instance, Henry did a screen test saying lines from the late Peter Cushing’s Tarkin in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” and ILM then used the Cushing footage from “A New Hope” to apply his face to Henry in “Rogue One.”

Asked if it was weird seeing a CGI version of himself that was decades younger, De Niro joked, “If they can perfect it, I’ll be able to work for another 30 years.”

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