Like most cinephiles, I was vaguely aware that Joe Pesci has been retired from acting for a while now, but I assumed that meant he had made a few low-budget movies in the early 2000s and walked away. Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized that Pesci has made exactly two live-action movies since Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998. One was The Good Shepherd, the Robert De Niro-directed 2006 drama about the early history of the CIA. And if a close friend can lure Joe Pesci out of retirement once, maybe he can do it again.

In a recent interview with Collider (via The Playlist) about his work on Martin Scorsese’s upcoming gangster epic The Irishman, movie producer Gastón Pavlovich admitted that Robert De Niro was once again hard at work trying to lure Pesci out of retirement:

I know Bob is. Robert De Niro, that is. It’s in his hands now and I know he’s making an effort. There will be a time when we have to start that so I know he’s having those conversations with Joe and still trying to get him on board.

While many actors disappear once they move past their 40s, Pesci always struck me as the kind of screen presence who would adapt naturally to middle age, lighting up the screen with his trademark bursts of violence and hints of a dark temper. Then again, you’ve gotta enjoy life echoing art just a little bit; after countless gangster movies where the main character is lured out of retirement for ‘one last job,’ now the same thing is happening with Pesci in real life. C’mon, Joe, what could go wrong?

As a reminder, The Irishman is already set with a cast of mobster movie greats, with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Harvey Keitel all committed to the project. To the surprise of many, Scorsese has already announced plans to use CGI to de-age his leads, allowing him to tell the story of this group of gangsters over several decades. When even a no-nonsense filmmaker like Martin Scorsese is toying with CGI special effects, you know that these tools are here to stay; here’s to ‘uncanny valley’ being the most searched Google keyword the day The Irishman is released.


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