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Cannes: STX Lands Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

STX has landed the big prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival market, plunking down roughly $50 million for international rights to Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”

The true-life crime drama will reunite Scorsese with Robert De Niro for the first time since 1995’s “Casino.” It will also mark his first collaboration with Al Pacino. Joe Pesci may join the project, but the actor is not yet attached, according to sources.

Paramount will distribute the title in North America. The pact is the biggest of this year’s Cannes and one of the priciest deals in recent history. It required a Herculean effort from producer Gaston Pavlovich’s Fabrica de Cine to pull the $100 million project out of turnaround at Paramount in time for Cannes.

As Variety reported on Friday, STX was one of several studios circling the project; the others included Lionsgate and Universal, with Warner Bros. also expressing interest. Sales companies such as Alex Walton’s Bloom and Stuart Ford’s IM Global were in the hunt, as well.

The Irishman” is based on the Charles Brandt book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which is the deathbed confession from mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran about his role in the disappearance and death of Jimmy Hoffa. Steve Zaillian adapted the book for the screen and a script has been circulating to buyers for several years.

Mexican producer and financier Fabrica de Cine is working with Scorsese on his $50 million religious drama, “Silence.” It will get released later this year by Paramount Pictures, which is planning an awards push.

It has been a busy Cannes for STX. The studio also shelled out $9 million for U.S. and Chinese rights to “The Social Network” writer Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut “Molly’s Game.” The story of a high-stakes poker ace will star Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

Deadline first reported that a sale had closed.

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