Confirmed: DeNiro To Play Sheeran in Scorcese Flick

This week veteran Hollywood actor Robert De Niro confirmed that he will play Frank Sheeran in the Martin Scorsese film, expected to be titled The Irishman and based on the book, I Heard You Paint Houses, as noted on this website, as well as elsewhere.

The movie will bring together some of the most respected actors who have ever portrayed brutal mobsters and associates -- primarily in previous Scorsese mob flicks, such as Goodfellas.

Steve Zallian, writer of Gangs of New York, has penned the script, and Scorsese has said that filming could start later this year.

De Niro said this week, "It's about a guy who confessed that he killed Hoffa and also Joe Gallo over here on Hester Street. And so I'm going to play that character; Joe Pesci's gonna be in it and Al Pacino is going to be in it and Marty's going to direct it."

I Heard You Paint Houses is a book written by Sheeran's former attorney, Charles Brandt, and is based on extensive interviews Brandt conducted with the elderly hitman in the years before his death in 2003.

The book is a true-crime biography of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a Teamsters official and Mafia associate who on orders from his powerful godfather, Russell Bufalino, killed his friend and mentor Jimmy Hoffa, and 25 to 30 others, including Crazy Joey Gallo, according to assertions in the book.

To paint a house is Mafia code for killing someone, the paint representing the splattered blood. "I heard you paint houses," were the first words that Jimmy Hoffa said to Sheeran, whom he allegedly hired to carry out hits on some of his enemies.

Sheeran, prolific mob
hitman for Bufalino.
While interviewing Sheeran for the book, Brandt said, he uncovered key information implicating the Mafia in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"I am absolutely 100 percent convinced that the Mafia killed JFK," Brandt said in an interview. "I theorize that Lee Harvey Oswald was expecting to meet up with cops who would help him get out of the country."

Conspiracy theorists who loved Oliver Stone's film JFK will love the Brandt book. I don't fall into the conspiracy theorist category at all but I loved it for its view of a Mafia outsider looking in. Sheeran lived a wild life -- he was an upbeat kind of guy, who loved booze, good food, women, brawling, mob politics ... but most of all, he loved Jimmy Hoffa, but believed in "the rules" of the life he chose as an enforcer for Bufalino just as much. Hoffa and Bufalino were on the same page for most of Hoffa's career -- and they split only when Hoffa showed he didn't respect the rules of the game as much as the others did. If he had, he wouldn't have disappeared.

I believe Sheeran was able to become the prolific hitman he admitted to being because of his experiences in WWII fighting Nazis. (His unit saw more battles than any other in the war, according to the book. He killed a lot of Nazis, and sometimes they were unarmed prisoners, he admitted.)

I think Sheeran merely took tactics he learned on European battlefields to the streets of major cities across the U.S. I can believe he killed Hoffa; it makes sense -- it fits. But I don't buy the JFK assassination link to the Mafia as he presents it, sort of between the lines. As for Gallo, I think it's entirely plausible as well that Sheeran did that hit, too.



  1. marty finally jumped the shark. sheeran was in his 30's when these events took place. he was irish, 6'6" tall. Bobby d is in his 60's italian and 5'7" tall. this stretch defies credibility

  2. I take umbrage, Kid Blast: Sheeran enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941, and was assigned to the military police before transferring to the 45th Infantry Division, known as "The Thunderbirds." Thanks to Hitler, Sheeran developed a callousness to the taking of human life: He served 411 days of combat duty (a large amount; average is around 100), and participated in the Dachau massacre. He later told Charles Brandt,
    “When an officer would tell you to take a couple of German prisoners back behind the line and for you to ‘hurry back,’ you did what you had to do.” Bottom line: how could he be a WW2 vet and be in his 30s when Hoffa was killed? He was in his 50s. Personally, I love Bobby De -- I'd watch him play Romeo in Romeo & Juliet. And the teaming with Scorcese???? Gold, brother, gold.

  3. stand corrected Frank was older as you point out. But bobby d is the wrong choice, by height, ethnicity, age and body type. playing rother joey would be better casting. a great actor is not right for all parts. sheeran is very different from jimmy burke or a young Vito Corleone. Marty is using a reetoire group, appropriate or not

  4. I feel ya. I actually could picture Brian Dennehy playing the role -- 20 yrs ago. But I am thinking of today's pickings, trying to think...who would be good playing Sheerhan....maybe John Carroll Lynch?

  5. talk about long in the tooth. marty, bob and joey are all too old to do this. a great story to be ruined by insane hubris

  6. Robert Deniro is irish.

  7. DeNiro is 3/4 Irish-American, 1/4 Italian-American


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