De Niro, Pattinson signed to star in Idol's Eye

Big news for this project out of Cannes, where director Olivier Assayas released his latest film, Clouds of Sils Maria. He will next work on Idol's Eye, a movie based on my April 2007 article for Playboy called, "Boosting the Big Tuna." The story is about burglars who break into the home of Chicago's longtime Godfather, Tony Accardo. Robert Pattinson will play the burglar ringleader, who is based on John Mendell--a freelance "juice man" or "wire man" capable of overcoming the most sophisticated burglar alarms, but also the proprietor of a machine shop who was desperate to go "legit." De Niro will play Accardo, who ruled Chicago's mob for five decades. Despite the fact that he's hardly a household name, I would argue that Accardo was America's most important organized crime figure in the twentieth century. He not only influenced politics in the Windy City, but also corrupted wide swaths of the union movement (e.g. Teamsters and Laborers), and probably did more to build the Las Vegas Strip (mostly with Teamster pension funds) than anyone else. He features prominently in my play, "Assassination Theater." By the time of the burglary, he had become practically an establishment figure in Chicago--unusually accessible to the neighbors in his wealthy suburb, courtly to the power elite, with whom he occasionally rubbed shoulders, but still bone-chillingly ruthless with anyone who crossed his path in the criminal world--as Mendell eventually found out. It will be fascinating to see De Niro's approach to the part. One funny note: the dispute between Accardo and Mendell centers on the burglary of a high-end pawn shop. Somehow, in the mix of accents at Cannes, "pawn" got turned into "porn." I hope the reality here does not disappoint.