ROME — Italy’s Lucky Red has emerged as the first announced European distributor for Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “The Irishman” after U.S. studio STX Entertainment plunked down a reported $50 million in Cannes for international rights to the crime drama, which is set to reunite Scorsese with Robert De Niro for the first time since 1995’s “Casino.”
Co-founded and headed by Andrea Occhipinti, Lucky Red has been systematically moving into more high-profile releases for several years. Still, “The Irishman” looks set to become the onetime Italian arthouse distributor’s splashiest release yet.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The Irishman,” which was the hottest project at the Cannes film market, is being bankrolled by Mexican financier Gaston Pavlovich’s Fabrica de Cine. Besides starring De Niro, the film will also mark Scorsese’s first collaboration with Al Pacino. Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel may join the project.
The movie is based on the Charles Brandt book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which is the deathbed confession of 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. Fabrica de Cine managed to pull the reportedly $100-million project out of turnaround at Paramount in time for Cannes.
Lucky Red’s upcoming releases in Italy include “The Nice Guys,” starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, and the thriller “Misconduct,” featuring Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino.
Scorsese’s next release, “Silence,” a historical drama about faith and religion based on Japanese author Shusaku Endo’s novel, will be launching into Italy via Rai Cinema’s 01 Distribuzione.
Paramount will be releasing both “Silence” and “The Irishman” in the U.S.