Robert De Niro’s Next Movie Will See Him Return To His Best Genre

The next film for Robert De Niro will return him to the genre he knows best. He has some classics under his belt here.

By Mark McKee | Published

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In the middle of the 1970s, Robert De Niro was a relative unknown in Hollywood. He had a spattering of roles for a decade before he landed the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II. In an interview with CNN, he talked about how the role changed his life. It certainly changed his career, as he catapulted to stardom. The next four years saw Taxi DriverRaging Bull, and The Deer Hunter. Since then, he has been a huge name in the film industry, making movies across all genres. His most popular genre, however, has always been gangster movies. After The Godfather Part II, he starred in other mafia movies, including, The UntouchablesGoodfellasCasino, and The Irishman. Now he looks to jump back into the underworld with a new role that returns him to the genre. 

Deadline reports that Robert De Niro will be teaming up with longtime collaborator Barry Levenson for the mob drama, Wise Guys. The two have collaborated many times before, including The Wizard of LiesWhat Just HappenedWag the Dog, and Sleepers. Levenson isn’t the only familiar face De Niro will see on the project, as Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote Goodfellas, is on board to pen the script. Rocky veteran Irwin Winkler will also produce Wise Guys. The team on board shows immense promise to bring a realistic take on the mafia. With two Oscar-winners on board (Levenson won Best Director for Rain Man, and De Niro won Best Actor for Raging Bull and Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II), the anticipation gets thicker by the moment. 

Wise Guys will follow the real-life rivalry between two Italian mob bosses in 1950s America, Vito Genovese and Frank Costello. Costello was one of the most powerful mob bosses in America, becoming friends with the notorious Lucky Lucciano and proclaiming to only work with Italians. In a weird connection, Costello is reportedly the inspiration for Don Vito Corleone, Robert De Niro’s first and most influential character in his career. Costello survived an assassination attempt by rival boss, Vito Genovese. Genovese sent Vincent Gigante to kill him. Gigante shot the mob boss but failed to kill him. It did persuade him to relinquish power to Genovese and retire from the mafia. In the trial of his attempted murder, he testified he couldn’t identify his killer, and Gigante went free. 

In true gangster movie fashion, real life is better than fiction. Some of the most classic and award-winning movies in the mob genre are based on true stories. Some became some of the best movies of their respective decades. What could set Wise Guys apart from the rest of those films is a unique decision to have Robert De Niro portray both of the main characters. Looking at images of both of the men, he definitely has the chops to pull it off. But having the same actor portray two opposing sides of a mafia conflict creates some interesting questions. The age of 79 is usually when actors slow down or even end their careers. De Niro is not only moving full steam ahead, he is pulling double duty.