AceShowbiz - Robert De Niro will play a double role in new gangster movie "Wise Guys". The 78-year-old big screen veteran is expected to portray two different mob bosses in the upcoming Warner Bros. drama - which will be helmed by "Rain Man" director Barry Levinson.
De Niro will play both Vito Genovese and Frank Costello in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The movie will follow the two Italian American crime bosses, who were at the head of their respective families in the 20th century. Back in 1957, Genovese had an attempted plot to assassinate Costello, who was injured in the attack and tried to retire from the mafia.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Pileggi - who co-wrote Martin Scorsese's classic "Goodfellas", which featured De Niro - will pen the screenplay for the new film, and Irwin Winkler will serve as producer.
In an interesting coincidence, "Goodfellas" itself was based on Pileggi's 1985 book "Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family" although the book and "Wise Guys" the movie are unrelated.
One of De Niro's most recent film credits is 2019's "Joker" in which he played Murray Franklin, a talk show host idolised by Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) before he becomes the titular villain. The part plays homage to De Niro's character in the 1983 film "The King of Comedy", where he plays mentally unstable comedian Rupert Pupkin who is desperate to appear on Jerry Langford's (Jerry Lewis) television show.
De Niro previously said, "I met Todd Phillips [the director] and I liked him. I thought, 'This will be an interesting project.' Bradley Cooper was one of the producers and he told me to do it."