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Alto Knights | March 21, 2025 | Warner Bros | Barry Levinson directs | Robert De Niro costars with Robert De Niro

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Warners’ first original feature of the Warner Bros. Discovery era is here … and it’s a period mobster drama fronted by two Hollywood veterans.


Returning to the genre that made him a household name, Robert De Niro will star in Wise Guys, a feature intended for theatrical distribution that will be directed by Barry Levinson, the filmmaker known for 1980s classic Rain Man and movies such as Wag the Dog.


Nicholas Pileggi, who coincidentally authored Wiseguy, the 1985 book that was the basis for the 1990 De Niro-Martin Scorsese crime classic, Goodfellas, wrote the script. Irwin Winkler, best known for producing the Rocky movies as well as being a producer on Goodfellas, is a producer.


The project is centered on Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, two Italian-American crime bosses that ran their respective families in the middle of the 20th century. In 1957, Genovese attempted to assassinate Costello but failed, although he was wounded and decided to retire, as much as one can retire from the Mafia.


De Niro would play both characters, according to sources.


Wise Guys is an interesting choice for Warners, which under new president and CEO David Zaslav has been cutting and shelving projects, re-examining its DC slate, and figuring out which movies to push ahead on a theatrical level, now that the all-in-on-streaming strategy from the previous AT&T regime has been discarded. Zaslav has championed the Wiseguys, with its pickup initiated in late May under Warners’ former Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood regime. The project doesn’t seem to have the hallmarks of a tentpole — big-budgets, visual effects, big intellectual property — nor does it feel like “young Hollywood,” something that would seemingly attract the demographic most known for going to the movies. Instead, it feels like a throwback, and has a team whose average age is four score — De Niro is 78, Levinson is 80, and Winkler is 91. (The studio, run by Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, do have Joker: Folie a Deux as their first greenlight.)


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Irony: Wise Guys is the name of the book that Goodfellows was taken from; changed the name because a Mafia themed TV show was called "Wise Guys" ( a traditonal nickname for Mafia members 'Made" or not, the term Goodfellows was acreated  nickname for the movie) was on when the movie was being made..

Looking forward to this. I love Mafia movies.

Edited by dudalb
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