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Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ to Close London Film Festival

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” his eagerly awaited mobster film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, will close the BFI London Film Festival. The long-in-the-works Netflix drama will have its international premiere in London on the fest’s final night Oct. 13.

The cast members are expected to attend, as is Scorsese. “This picture was many years in the making,” the Oscar-winning director said. “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. We’re all very excited to be bringing ‘The Irishman’ to London.”

“The Irishman” reunites Scorsese with his “Gangs of New York” screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who adapts from Charles Brandt’s novel “I Heard You Paint Houses.” De-aging technology is used to take years off of De Niro and Pacino. In addition to the gala premiere in Central London, there will be simultaneous preview screenings of the film in movie theaters across the U.K.

The film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and explores the hidden corridors of organized crime and its connections to mainstream politics.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, said the closing night premiere will be “a major occasion for film lovers.”

“British Film Institute Fellow Scorsese is one of the true greats of cinema – as both a creator and a tireless champion of preservation and film history – and here he and his creative team have delivered an epic of breathtakingly audacious scale and complexity, exploring relationships of trust and betrayal, regret and remorselessness, which dominated a period of American history,” Tuttle said.

Scorsese’s movie, which has a budget of about $160 million, will have its world premiere as the opening film at the 57th New York Film Festival on Sept. 27, ahead of the London fest. The latter has already announced “The Personal History of David Copperfield” as its opening film.

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival is run in partnership with American Express and runs Oct. 2-13.

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