Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino spent six years trying to bring new movie The Irishman to the big screen after deciding the gangster film would be their debut collaboration.
Pacino teams up with Scorsese regular Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci in the new film and the director tells WENN he and the Scarface star first talked about it in 2013, while they were circling a project about artist Giorgio Moldiani.
Scorsese reveals he initially thought about casting Pacino as American labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa in his film a decade ago, when he commissioned Steve Zaillian to write the script.
"We talked then about Al and Joe being in it," the filmmaker explains. "I met Al in 1970 when he was directing the play Rats and Francis Ford Coppola introduced us. Over the years we just went in different ways. We tried to get a film together on Moldiani but that didn't come to fruition.
"I remember meeting Al about this in Beverly Hills six years ago. You looked at us in the room and said, 'Is this gonna happen?' It was a 'before we get any older' kind of thing! This was my first time working with Al, finally. We just couldn't get the backing for years."
Meanwhile, Scorsese had been trying to find the right project for De Niro since they teamed up for Casino in 1995.
"Bob and I wanted to work together. We would check in with each other with our projects but we never quite connected. When Bob presented the book to me I could see he was very strongly attached to the character Frankie Sheeran."
The Irishman debuts in U.S. theatres next month (Nov19).