If this story about Martin Scorsese abandoning plans to direct Frankie Machine turns out to be true, my heart will survive the disappointment. The Paramount project, based on Don Winslow‘s “The Winter of Frankie Machine,” is about an aging hit man (to have been played by Robert De Niro) who’s hounded out of a respectable retirement as the target of a hit himself.

As I wrote last June 22nd, “I really can’t stand the idea of watching another movie about another hit man. I’m hit-manned out, although this one sounds more like a meditation on old age and the end of the road. The real problem is that De Niro is looking way too bulky and roly-poly these days. It’s good that Scorsese will be doing another mob movie, but he needs to summon the courage to tell De Niro that he’s over the hill and has lost his mojo. He’s eaten too many plates of rich food and gotten too soft and jowly….he looks like an old Russian wheat farmer.”