Robert De Niro to Star Opposite Himself in Wise Guys

Robert De Niro is set to star opposite himself in two roles in the upcoming Warner Bros. Discovery film Wise Guys which has director Barry Levinson attached to helm. The Hollywood Reporter brings word of the project, which marks the first original WB movie of the Warner Bros. Discovery era. Nicholas Pileggi penned the script (having ironically written the book Wiseguy which became the movie Goodfellas) which has Rocky's Irwin Winkler attached as producer. De Niro's most recent credits as an actor include 2019's Joker and 2020's The War with Grandpa, Levinson on the other hand hasn't directed a feature since 2015's Rock the Kasbah.

According to the trade tells the story of mob bosses Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, two Italian-Americans that managed their own crime families in the mid-1900s. Genovese would attempt an assassination on Costello at one point but failed. THR notes that De Niro will reportedly play both roles in the film. No other cast are attached to the project just yet but the film is reportedly in the works as a theatrical release.

As noted by the trade though, this project doesn't seem to line up with what Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav publicly said their feature film strategy would be moving forward. In the company's most recent quarterly earnings call, the CEO addressed concerns about cancelled original movies for HBO Max while denoting that their intentions moving forward are to create huge theatrical feature films that can continue to live and thrive across platforms.

"As the maker and owner of the largest and most complete library of content in the world. We cover more surface area than almost any other media company," Zaslav said. "We will fully embrace theatrical as we believe that creates interest and demand provides a great marketing tailwind and generates word of mouth buzz as films transition to streaming and beyond. When you're in theaters, the value of the content and the overall viewing experience is elevated. Then when the same content moves to VOD, and then streaming it is elevated again. As films move from one window to the next their overall value is elevated, elevated, elevated. We saw this clearly demonstrated with The Batman and Elvis."

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Ahead of the release of Wise Guys, De Niro can next be seen in David O. Russell's upcoming film Amsterdam, plus Randall emmett's Wash Me in the River, and Martin Scorsese's highly anticipated Killers of the Flower Moon.