Robert De Niro to Play Multiple Roles in New Gangster Movie 'Wise Guys'

The only thing better than one wise guy played by Robert De Niro is two. The actor is returning to the genre that made him a superstar with Wise Guys, a new project directed by Barry Levinson and written by Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi. Levinson directed De Niro in Wag the Dog, Sleepers, What Just Happened and The Wizard of Lies.

Wise Guys will be the first original feature from Warner Bros. since the merger with Discovery finished in April, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Irwin Winkler, who produced Rocky and Goodfellas, is a producer of the new movie. The story is inspired by Vito Genovese and Frank Costello, two major Italian-American crime bosses during the mid-20th century. Sources told THR that De Niro will play both men.

Although Wise Guys involves plenty of top-shelf talent, it is an odd choice for Warner Bros. Discovery to start with. However, CEO David Zaslav is a big fan of the project, even though it was picked up in late May when former Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich was still at the studio, THR notes. (Emmerich has since been replaced by Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy.) If Zaslav is interested in attracting new Hollywood talent to the studio, starting off with an original movie directed by Levinson, 80, and starring De Niro, 78, is a strange way to do so.

The only other movie greenlit since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger finished is Joker: Folie a Deux, a sequel to the surprise 2019 hit Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. The movie will add Lady Gaga, who is expected to play a new version of Harley Quinn. Joker: Folie a Deux will open on Oct. 4, 2024.

De Niro recently worked with Warner Bros. on Joker. He also reunited with Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese for Netflix's The Irishman in 2019. His next film is Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Apple TV+ will release the film next year.

As for Levinson, he is best known for directing Rain Man, which earned him the 1988 Best Director Oscar. He is one of Hollywood's most reliable filmmakers, attracting big stars for TV movies. He directed De Niro in The Wizard of Lies, in which De Niro played Bernie Madoff and Al Pacino in the Joe Paterno biopic Paterno. Levinson's son, Sam Levinson, also works for Warner Bros. Discovery as the showrunner of Euphoria. Sam also co-wrote The Wizard of Lies