Robert De Niro Reunites With ‘Goodfellas’ Writer to Play Crime Bosses in New Mafia Movie

by Taylor Cunningham

Robert De Niro is heading back to the Silver Screen genre that made him famous—mobster crime. And in his upcoming project, he’ll be taking on double the responsibilities.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Robert De Niro is teaming up with Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson (Rain Man) for a film called Wise Guys. In it, the actor will portray two real-life characters, Vito Genovese and Frank Costello. Rocky’s Irwin Winkler is set to produce. And Goodfellas screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi is penning the story.

The movie will follow the rivaling kingpins who ran their respective crime rings in the mid-20th century. Genovese ultimately ended Costello’s reign in 1957 when he attempted an assassination. While Costello survived, the injury took him away from the Mafia lifestyle.

Plans For a ‘The Departed’ Sequel Starring Robert De Niro Fall Flat

The news comes a few short months after Mark Wahlberg admitted that another Robert De Niro project was in the works and failed.

As Wahlberg told KFC Radio in February, he had been working on a The Departed sequel, and it didn’t pan out. But if it had, several of the original stars would have returned. And he also envisioned Robert De Niro in a key role.

“I went into a meeting with [screenwriter] Bill Monahan at Warner Bros. to pitch the sequel to The Departed,” he said. “And let’s just say the pitch didn’t go very well. He really didn’t have anything fleshed out. But he’s the kind of guy you just trust to go for Cocaine Cowboys and American Desperado. I said, ‘Bill, just go write. They like to have things well thought out and planned.’ It’d be a pretty good one.”

The Departed debuted in 2006 and quickly went down as one of the all-time most-loved crime films in history. In 2006, the movie won four Oscars, including Best Picture. Mark Wahlberg also earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Monahan actually had a few ideas for the script, and they would have explored a wider timeline of the original plot. But unfortunately, the concept never got off the ground.

“My idea actually is to set the film before, during, and after the action of the first film, which I think would be extraordinary. Essentially, in the middle section of the thing I’ve intended, you’d see actions that take place during the original Departed but aren’t on screen in the original Departed. There would be off-screen things that occur at the point in the story,” Wahlberg continued. “But it would work seamlessly as a movie of its own.”