Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are to set to bring a new tale of organised crime to the screen in the shape of I Heard You Paint Houses.

Charles Brandt's book - the title of which is a reference to the blood splattered during contract killings - tells of a mob assassin thought to have been responsible for more than 25 murders.

Frank 'the Irishman' Sheeran, whom De Niro will play, is also believed to have been involved in the murder of the notorious Teamster chief Jimmy Hoffa.

Sheeran allegedly confessed a number of crimes to Brandt, after befriending the author in 2003, including the murder and dismemberment of Hoffa, under orders from mob chief Russell Bufalino.

Scorsese, De Niro and Jane Rosenthal will produce the film for Paramount Pictures, according to Variety, with Steve Zallian set to adapt Brandt's book.

Zallian co-wrote Scorsese's Gangs of New York as well as adapting American Gangster for the screen and winning a best adapted screenplay Oscar for Schindler's List.

De Niro and Scorsese have worked on eight features together, though their last actor-director collaboration was on 1995's Casino.

"We came from the same New York neighbourhood but hung out on different streets," Scorsese explained in 2004.

"We can finish each other's sentences and understand things that are not said," he said. "It's like a professional marriage, and The Offspring are the movies."

02/10/2008 10:17:31