Hollywood legend Robert de Niro has been roped in by Warner Brothers Discovery to star in a period mobster drama called Wise Guys. The script for the project is being penned by Nicholas Pellegi, who had also written the book Wiseguy, which was later adapted into the epic Martin Scorsese directorial, Goodfellas (1990), also starring de Niro. Wiseguy will be helmed by Barry Levinson, the director of the Oscar-winning 1988 film, Rain Man.

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The story of Wise Guys revolves around Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, two notable American mafia bosses from the mid-20th century. De Niro will reportedly portray both of these characters. Genovese had apparently tried to kill Costello in 1957, but failed. Following this, Costello retired after handing over his businesses to Genovese.

Warner Brothers Discovery had said earlier that they would be concentrating more on theatrical releases than on streamable content post the merger. It is a matter to be noted that while this period drama has been given the green signal, the production house has pulled the plug on Batgirl, a direct-to-stream venture, despite pumping in close to $80 million dollars in the project.

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The new president and CEO of Warner Brothers Discovery, David Zaslav, has been rewriting the philosophy behind the company’s releases. Besides Batgirl, he has also cancelled the Scooby Doo film, Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. Wise Guys is an original film with no big budget or the possibility of a franchise. The first film that the new conglomerate had greenlighted was also an original far removed from its DC cannon: Joker: Folie a Deux, a musical starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, which is due out in 2024.

De Niro, 78, is keeping his hands full at the moment. In 2022, he will be seen in the David O. Russell directorial, Amsterdam, as well as Wash Me In The River, where he will star alongside John Malkovich. In 2023, the actor will be seen in his twelfth collaboration with Scorsese in the Apple TV production, Killers of the Flower Moon, which will also star another Scorsese veteran, Leonardo DiCaprio.