"His name's Macaulay Culkin. I want him dead."

THE IRISHMAN

The Abridged Script

INT. RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

We open with one of those SMOOTH and FUNKY SCORSESE-STYLE TRACKING SHOTS, except that this time, we are not being welcomed into the VIP ENTRANCE of a SWANKY, MOB-OWNED CABARET oh no, but instead travel among a DOUR ASSORTMENT of the GREY and ELDERLY, idly clacking away at CHECKERS and SHUFFLE BOARD as the REAPER presses nearer.

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO sits in a wheelchair among them, now less a RAGING BULL and more a MILDLY-PISSY WATER BUFFALO.

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to follow orders. I’m a toadie, a lackey, a sycophant, a first mate. I don’t brush my teeth without a coach calling formations. Turns out there’s two great places you can do that - the US Army, and the Mafia.

EXT. FRANCE - WWII

Through the magic of 200 GODDAMN MILLION DOLLARS of DIGITAL DE-AGING WIZARDRY, ROBERT DE NIRO now has CGI PUTTY smooshed over his face to make him look kind of like PRE-TRANSFORMATION CAPTAIN AMERICA. He escorts some NAZI CAPTIVES into the forest.

NAZI #1

You do not have to ‘zis, American. ‘Ve are surrendered. ‘Ve are harmless.

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA TAXI DRIVER

Sorry, Fritz, but uh, I’m uh, I’m just, you know, just trying to-

NAZI #2

Mein gott, do you stutter like ‘zis for ‘ze whole movie?

NAZI #1

Ja, who are you, Hugh Grant?

ROBERT DE NIRO

Okay, you know what, fuck you guys. I’m trying to act fucking TWENTY, okay?! My good hip is about that age! Cut me some slack! I’m just following orders here!

NAZI #2

‘Vhat a shocking coincidence! ‘Ve are ALSO just following-

ROBERT shoots two defenseless men.

ROBERT DE NIRO

I just had a great idea for a career change.

EXT. REST STOP - HIGHWAY OUTSIDE PHILADELPHIA

Some years later back in the STATES, ROBERT is driving TOTALLY LEGITIMATE TRUCKS for COMPLETELY ABOVE-BOARD REASONS. His CGI BOTOX has him looking, uhh…

ROBERT DE NIRO

Fifty. I look fifty for the rest of this movie. This de-aging bullshit has two settings: fifty and OH JESUS WHAT THE FUCK.

A floating orange BLOB of SWAMP GAS coalesces into a WILL-O-THE-WISP of IRISH FOLKLORE, alighting upon the shoulders of esteemed character actor JOE PESCI and forming a HORRIFYING CLOWN MIRROR IMAGE of his YOUNGER FACE.

JOE PESCI CIRCA MY COUSIN VINNY

Hey, kid. Looks like you know how to drive trucks.

(pause)

I like that.

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA GODFATHER PART 2

Oh god, Joe. I am so sorry we bugged you like a million times to come out of retirement just so a computer could turn you into a cross between Dobby the House Elf and George Hamilton. You must be ready to put the special effects guy through this windshield about now.

JOE PESCI

(tickling a butterfly while a piccolo trills gently)

Huh? Sorry. I’ve mellowed in my old age. I don’t do all that ‘you think I’m funny you muddafucka’ shtick no more.

(strips the butterflies wings off and mails them to the butterfly’s family to score a ransom)

I outsource that stuff. You in?

ROBERT DE NIRO

You gonna age up real quick so I can forget about your weird floating orange Trump-face?

JOE PESCI

Can do.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Then the Oldfellas ride again!

INT. “THINGS ARE GOING GOOD” MONTAGE IN EVERY SCORSESE MOVIE

ROBERT spends the next few years doing PETTY CRIMES for JOE. These include EXTORTION, HIJACKING, MURDER-FOR-HIRE, and DIRTY GRANDPA.

OLD JOE PESCI OKAY WELL NOW HE’S JUST JOE PESCI I GUESS

Okay, Bob. Let’s put you through your paces. Go extort that guy.

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA KING OF COMEDY

(extorts)

JOE PESCI

Steal that truck.

ROBERT DE NIRO

(hijacks)

JOE PESCI

Okay, this is a big one. Whack that gu-

ROBERT DE NIRO

(whacks)

JOE PESCI

Wow.

(thinks)

Stand on your head.

ROBERT DE NIRO

(does)

JOE PESCI

Eat a live goldfish.

ROBERT DE NIRO

(does)

JOE PESCI

Apologize for doing three Focker films.

ROBERT DE NIRO

I had financial troubles! Oh god, that’s no excuse...

JOE PESCI

You are taking to this whole “do whatever I say” arrangement with some gusto, paisan. I think it’s time we moved you to the big leagues. These are my gangster friends, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale. You’re going to do whatever THEY say now.

HARVEY KEITEL

Hey.

BOBBY CANNAVALE

Gabbagool.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Eh, no offense guys, but it’s just not the same. I’ve become baby-duck-imprinted on Joe here. Mind fucking off out of my movie?

HARVEY KEITEL

You kidding me? This cast’s median age is the same number as my cholesterol. This is the last chance I’m gonna get to play a gangster in a Marty joint again. Don’t do this to us! It’s like a four hour movie, there’s plenty of…

(fades into nothing)

JOE PESCI

Glad to see you love only me, for some reason. Now I gotta introduce you to my cousin, Ray Romano. He’s a lawyer.

RAY ROMANO

Hi. I’d just like to-

JOE PESCI

He’s here to introduce you to Jimmy Hoffa.

AL PACINO

(snorts a line of shrooms)

DUNKACINO’S DOIN’ REAL MOVIES AGAIN MOTHAFUCKAAAAS!!!!

ROBERT DE NIRO

It’s an honor to, uh, meet you, there, Mister, um, Hoffa, sir. I’m a big fan of, uh, your unions and, er, mob ties.

AL PACINO

Good to meet you too, Robert. Heard oodles about you over the years. It’s great for us to finally work together on screen.

ROBERT DE NIRO

You mean apart from Heat? And, uh, Righteous Kill I guess?

AL PACINO

Oh god, I was coked out of my mind that decade, I don’t remember jack shit about Heat. I’m surprised more people didn’t notice, actually...

ROBERT DE NIRO

Yeah, your acting was, um, unrestrained...

AL PACINO

Well, I’m ready to put in the time for Marty and do my best work in decades. You ready to be my bodyguard/confidante, at least until my untimely disappearance?

ROBERT DE NIRO

Oh yeah. Shit. Spoiler alert, I guess.

ROBERT glances longingly over his shoulder at JOE, who nudges him on, smiling. Sighing and adjusting his BACKPACK, ROBERT toddles after AL into the BIG LEAGUES of CRIME.

INT. TEAMSTERS UNION HALL

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

It was great working with Al in a project that was worthy of both our talents again. He was like a duck in water, giving speeches, screaming at assistants, threatening local birds. Typical Al stuff…

AL PACINO

(speechifying)

And furthermore, I hereby declare that every teamster in my union will have no less than four ounces of blow for every hooker! That’s me! Four Ounces Hoffa! Get that on a bumper sticker, am I right fellas?!

The crowd ROARS approval. Later, ROBERT meets AL in their shared hotel room.

AL PACINO CIRCA BASICALLY HIS WHOLE CAREER LETS BE REAL HE TURNED 70 IN 1985 AND JUST STAYED THERE

So Robert, I heard you "paint houses".

ROBERT DE NIRO

Yes, uh, that is uh, how I earn, my, you know, living. I "paint", uh, houses, metaphorically speaking. With blood.

AL PACINO

You whack people for cash. How original. Really a story worth waiting three decades to tell, huh? Mob killers being such an underexplored genre of cinema.

ROBERT DE NIRO

I, uh, well, did some big ones. You know. Allegedly. We'll get to that later. Probably. At some point.

AL PACINO

We'd get there a lot quicker if you didn't draw out every line with eight pages of stuttering. Bobby, I get it. You're playing against type. It's a stretch for you, being the subservient guy. But let me just offer some friendly advice, close colleagues that we are.

(inhales)

ACTING'S WAY EASIER WHEN YOU STOP GIVIN' A SHIT!!

(exhales)

(cocaine puffs out)

ROBERT DE NIRO

Yeah, I, uh, that is definitely a, um, a good point to uh-

AL PACINO

(yawns)

Yeah, wake me up in an hour when you get to my rapid downfall. I'm off for a Netflix-sponsored chill.

(sleeps)

INT. HOME - 1960S

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

It was good, honest work for a while. Though it did put a strain on my family sometimes. Oh FUCK that’s right, I have a family!

ROBERT comes home from a long night of MURDER, UNION MEETINGS, and UNION MEETINGS-RELATED MURDER. He sits down for a nice breakfast with his DAUGHTER, YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN.

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA MIDNIGHT RUN

Hi, sweetie. Ready for school today?

YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN

(spoons cereal into mouth with one hand while flipping him off with the other)

ROBERT DE NIRO

Let me guess. It’s because I missed your cello recital, right? Honey, sometimes daddies have to work late. It’s how I pay for all the nice things we have, like the wood chipper out back, and the buckets of quicklime and disinfectant in the garage, and all the spare passports for “just in case” times. You understand, right honey? You’ll still let me be a father to you.

YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN

(leans over to spit in his coffee)

ROBERT DE NIRO

Okay, fuck it. Parenting is hard. I need backup.

ROBERT takes his family to a BOWLING ALLEY with JOE.

JOE PESCI

Hi, sweetie. Come give your uncle Joe a hug.

YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN

(whips a bowling ball at his head)

JOE PESCI

Little firecracker, I see. Just like her old dad. Did you hear the one about the mobster and the deaf mook? He made him an offer he couldn't understand!

YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN

(dips her head in epoxy glue to avoid interacting with these people)

JOE PESCI

Yeah, I don't get it either, Bob. She just doesn't seem to like having ANY mafia tough guys as father figures. She's such a sweet kid too. Does she not think I'm funny? Is that it? Am I not some kind of clown here to amuse her?

(cries)

ROBERT DE NIRO

At least we know it's ALL mob-related paternal types, not just us.

AL PACINO

(bursting through a wall with an ice cream in each hand)

WHO WANTED THE MOTHERFUCKING SPRINKLES?!

YOUNG ANNA PAQUIN

(giggles and claps wildly)

(embraces AL in a gleeful hug)

JOE AND ROBERT

Fuckin' kids.

INT. CLASSY COMEDY CLUB

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

It was an odd decade but I managed. I was making money, Joe and Al loved me, my family was too terrified to bug me during football, nice times. But it was around then that we realized this entire film had just been a gender-flipped Golden Girls up to this point. Fortunately, we had a subplot on the way that would fix ALL of our streaming-audience-switching-to-Rick-and-Morty related problems!

The MAFIA, a notoriously ACCEPTING CROWD, assembles for an evening of INSULT COMEDY performed by someone doing a ROCK SOLID IMPRESSION of a YOUNG DON RICKLES.

YOUNG DON RICKLES

So anyway, racial minorities are different than each other and I hate my wife!

1970'S AUDIENCE

(roars with laughter)

YOUNG DON RICKLES

Thank you, thank you. Especially to notorious mafia hitman/celebrity Joe Gallo over there! How you doin', Joe? Crimed any crimes, lately?

SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO

(wiping blood off his vest before extorting the waiter for more ice water)

You know it, Rickles.

(leans back into his chair, then accuses it of being a rat because it squeaked)

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA THE DEER HUNTER

I think that Gallo guy could be useful to our operation, Joe.

JOE PESCI

Yeah alright, bring him over.

ROBERT waves over SEBASTIAN, who threatens and cajoles his way over to them.

SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO

So, you two want a rockstar mobster like me workin' on your two-bit operation? Well get lost, before I brake your new kneecaps with your old hips! Joe Gallo don't need no allies!

ROBERT DE NIRO

Hey, uh, friend, listen, that's not, I mean, you can't just, it's disrespectful and-

SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO

(chewing a brick of black tar heroin and spitting it over state lines)

Oh my god, this movie would be twenty minutes long if we trimmed out all your stutter-acting. I'm bored. To the Gallomobile!

(hijacks something, leaves)

ROBERT DE NIRO

Well that was a bit disrespectful. But I'm sure we can work with him if we just-

JOE PESCI

Whack him.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Really? Over some mean remarks at dinner?

JOE PESCI

You're right.

(pause)

Do it in front of his kids.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Damn. Now would be a really interesting time for me to have an attack of conscience of some kind.

(draws his guns)

Any second now.

(moves towards the door)

Gonna seriously rethink this mob lifestyle.

(gets in the getaway vehicle and drives to the restaurant)

I'm giving full value to the moral complexities of these events I participate in.

(shoots SEBASTIAN several million times while his horrified family weeps into their breadsticks across the table)

I've realized there are consequences to a life of crime.

(chucks his guns in the river)

Aaaand I'm over it.

INT. PRISON

AL PACINO V.O.

Meanwhile, I was having my own special little subplot. Welcome, friends, to the mostly irrelevant tale of that time Jimmy Hoffa went to prison.

STEPHEN GRAHAM

Hey, Al, as a fellow incarcerated union gangster, I was wondering if you could hook me up with various plot-irrelevant deals.

AL PACINO

Oh hey, you're that guy who played Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire. You were solid on that.

STEPHEN GRAHAM

Yeah, work's a little light for five-foot, five-inch British actors with pug faces. Fortunately, I got a killer Italian gangster accent, so I tend to blend into projects like these.

AL PACINO

Goddam, you're British?! You're making me insecure about my attempt at Chicago patois, Steve. I hate you now.

STEPHEN GRAHAM

Wait, what? Just like that? I figured the head of the world's largest union would be a little better at cutting deals and making friends.

AL PACINO

I'm great at making friends. Watch. My fists really wanNA MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR FACE, MOTHAFUCKA!

They FIGHT for no reason and hate each other FOREVER.

INT. MOB RESTAURANT

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

Al got out of prison a few minutes later, only he'd changed somewhat. His bombastic and erratic coked-up personality had become bombastic, IRRITATING, and erratic and coked-up. The other union guys started to get nervous about his behavior.

JOE PESCI

I'm nervous about Al's behavior.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Aw, jeez, look, Joe, Al's my, I mean, my daughter loves him, and-

JOE PESCI

Whoa whoa whoa, Bob, I'm not saying we should whack the guy. Put the crowssbow down. I'm saying we should talk to him. You go talk to him.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

ROBERT DE NIRO

Joe said I should talk to you.

AL PACINO

He said you should talk to me? He said that? I needed talking to?! Is that it?!

ROBERT DE NIRO

Uh, well, I mean-

AL PACINO

Here's a message for HIM! You should go talk to HIM!!

INT. RESTAURANT

ROBERT DE NIRO

Al doesn't want to talk. He wanted me to tell you that.

JOE PESCI

This concerns me. Go tell him that.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

AL PACINO

Joe said WHAT?! I AIN'T SAYIN' NOTHING TO HIM! YOU TELL HIM THAT!

ROBERT DE NIRO

I hate it when the parents fight...

INT. RESTAURANT

JOE PESCI

We need reinforcements on this Al situation. I've brought in my pal Dominick Lombardozzi to back us up here. He's-

ROBERT DE NIRO

(shrieks in terror at DOMINICK's bloated form)

FAT DOMINICK LOMBARDOZZI

Yeah, I don't get it either. 200 million spent making you guys look like Moff Tarkin from Rogue One and I somehow look like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. That pisses me off, but not as much as Al right now. You tell him that.

INT. HOTEL

AL PACINO

You know what, fuck him too.

INT. RESTAURANT

FAT DOMINICK LOMBARDOZZI

Yeah? Come into MY subplot and say that!

INT. HOTEL

AL PACINO

Fuck you and the fatsuit you rode in on!

INT. UNION GALA AWARDS SHOW

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

Things were tense. So naturally, this was the perfect opportunity to get the entire cast into the same room. Luckily, it was for a big swanky gala honoring me, the least hated person in the mafia. Maybe here I could finally bring peace, and/or switch over to The Mandalorian for the rest of the evening because for real, there are ninety fucking minutes of this movie left.

AL PACINO

(speecherizing)

What can we say about our honoree, tonight? Robert De Niro has been my friend, rival, and constant comparison throughout both our careers. What was it that Robin Williams said, Bob? If we pop you in the dryer we'd get me?

The CROWD laughs.

AL PACINO

But seriously folks, nobody deserves this award more than Bob, here. He's changed the acting game time and time again. From his groundbreaking depiction of insanity in Taxi Driver to kicking off the fad of getting really fat for movies in Raging Bull, Robert is an innovator. He's even pioneering the art of acting with CGI brylcreem all over his face, and we're at just about the part in the movie where his 75-year old spine isn't a complete distraction! Come on up, Bob! Go slowly, it's a steep ramp!

ROBERT hobbles onstage and accepts the UNION AWARD FOR BEST RACKETEERING, MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING. Later, at the reception party...

AL PACINO

Amazing work, Bob. I couldn't be more proud of my former bodyguard and surrogate for my favorite non-child.

He waves at ANNA PAQUIN, who glares at ROBERT from a nearby table, slowly sticking pins into his VOODOO DOLL.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Shit, that's right, I have a daughter. Well, I appreciate you spoiling her out from under me all the same. Now, to return the favor, I have to really super-duper beg that you stop being needlessly standoffish against all my mob buddies. Please. For realsies. They will kill yo ass.

AL PACINO

Bob, Bob, listen to me. Listen. Listen closely. Closer than that.

(whispers)

No.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Fuck.

AL PACINO

Go tell them that.

ROBERT DE NIRO

FUCK.

INT. GALA - SPECIAL MAFIA DISCUSSION CORNER

ROBERT DE NIRO

Joe, please, don't whack Al. He's my best buddy AND the closest thing my daughter has to a father.

JOE PESCI

He's gotta be more reasonable at me first. Tell him that.

INT. GALA - SPECIAL UNION SCREAMING CORNER

AL PACINO

Reasonable?! You callin' me unREASONABLE YOU WET BANDIT MOTHAFUCKA?!?!

INT. GALA - SPECIAL CORNER OF DARK SCHEMES AND GLUTEN-FREE CANAPES

JOE PESCI

Yeah, alright. I'm out of options. We're doing this thing.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Joe, I don't know if I can let this happen.

JOE PESCI

Here's a special golden ring.

ROBERT DE NIRO

(grabs crossbow, reluctantly)

So which "house" am I "painting"?

EXT. DETROIT SUBURBS

ROBERT flies down to DETROIT to finish the job on his old friend. He is met by associates LOUIS CANCELMI and JESSIE PLEMONS.

JESSIE PLEMONS

(opening car door)

Get in, loser. We're killing historical figures.

ROBERT DE NIRO

You two aren't going to kill ME, are you?

LOUIS CANCELMI

I mean, you might go comatose from this twenty minute car scene right here. Seriously, this film is like 80% car rides and hotels. But no, not intentionally. We're here to kill Al.

ROBERT DE NIRO

So this is how it happened, huh? This is how Hoffa got whacked.

JESSIE PLEMONS

Yeah, if you believe the unsourced testimony of a notorious mafia toughguy who only talked to true crime authors. But who knows? Hoffa might be on an island with Elvis and Jeffrey Epstein right now for all we know. Let's find out!

They drive for like FORTY REAL LIFE MINUTES and pick up AL.

AL PACINO

Everyone hates me, Bob. I don't know what I did wrong. Was it Gigli? Is that it? It's over-hated, I think.

ROBERT DE NIRO

I don't know, Al. You've done nothing but scream and make enemies this whole movie.

AL PACINO

Life has a funny way of forcing you to do things you don't want to do. It's a fine line we tread, Bob. One minute you're riding high on Godfather 2, and the next thing BAM! You're in Godfather 3.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Oh yeah, I know. I consider the consequences of my lifestyle all the time. I'm constantly ruminating on the ethics and-

(stops the car at the house)

-morals of this dubious subculture we inhabit, where men are-

(follows AL inside)

-little more than pawns in games of power between-

(paints the wainscotting with AL's brains)

-insecure patriarchs who seek fear from subordinates as a replacement for love-

(hops back in the car)

-and companionship.

(flies back to Philadelphia)

Anyway, good talk, Al. Let's work together again soon. I'm thinking Righteous Kill 2. Don't pretend you won't read the script.

INT. PRISON

OLD ROBERT DE NIRO V.O.

Some years later, we all got pinched anyway for completely unrelated things. Luckily, the feds were nice enough to plop the whole crew into the same prison, so me and Joe enjoyed a few quiet years playing shuffleboard on C-block with the rest of the elderly cons.

ROBERT DE NIRO CIRCA THE IRISHMAN

You ever regret it, Joe?

REALLY OLD JOE PESCI

What, the gangster life? Not a bit. So we ended up whacking most of our friends, and old age took the rest, and the ones who are still around are languishing in prisons worse than this one, and all the money we accrued and kneecaps we shattered can't buy us so much as a companion with which to share these final days. But I whacked a union boss and possibly a couple Kennedy's. How often do you get to do THAT?

ROBERT DE NIRO

I was more talking about your accent in Casino but yeah, all that's pretty heavy too.

JOE PESCI

Do YOU regret anything, Bob?

ROBERT DE NIRO

I don't know, sometimes I wish I'd had kids.

(pause)

Oh FUCK.

ROBERT is released from prison and tries to reconnect with ANNA.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Listen, sweetheart, I know I was emotionally unavailable and physically violent and never opened up to you in any way that matters and may or may not have allegedly been involved in the most famous disappearance of the 20th century, but on the other hand-

ANNA PAQUIN

Dad, I've been sending these signals at you since I was six. Please eat a bag of dicks, one at a time, until you die.

(leaves forever)

ROBERT DE NIRO

Great. Well now I'm ninety and half-dead and completely alone in the world. War hero, union boss, hitman, chronic stutterer. I had quite a run. But time whacks us all in the end...

(pause)

At least I know you'll never abandon me, right Marty?

DIRECTOR MARTIN SCORSESE

Yeah about that...

MARTIN hops in LEONARDO DICAPRIO's YACHT to go shoot more WOLF OF WALL STREET ORGY SCENES. ROBERT waits out his final days ALONE.

END.

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