De Niro moving forward on Winslow’s Frankie Machine with a new director.

There had been rumors that Martin Scorsese was dropping out of Frankie Machine and that the project might be dead. When word came that Scorsese was reteaming with Leonardo DiCaprio to make Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island, I was pretty sure that those rumors were true.

But that has not stopped the project, De Niro has secured the services of another director from his past: Michael Mann. Mann will now direct Frankie Machine.

Mann and De Niro previously worked on 1995’s Heat. Mann has also directed The Insider, Miami Vice and Ali.

The screenplay is being reworked by Alex Tse. Alex recently wrote the script for the much-anticipated Watchmen, and is writing an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man.

“Frank Machianno, aka Frankie Machine, retires from his life as a contract killer and begins a new life in San Diego. Far removed from any of the thrills of his mob life, he opens a bait shack on Ocean Beach Pier, runs three other legit businesses, and when nothing else demands his attention, puts his board in the water and rides the waves. Not a bad life for the 62-year-old Vietnam vet; at least most of the time it is quiet. Frankie’s life however returns to the tension, suspense and terror of the ‘old-days’ when the head of the Los Angeles syndicate calls in a marker, and asks him for backup during a meeting with members of the Detroit mob. The meeting is suppose to be an effort to resolve the current disputes between the two groups, but turns out to be a setup to end Frankie’s life.”

While I personally would have prefered Scorsese, I think Mann could make a film worthy of the book.