excitement we felt over the reteaming of Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro in The Winter of Frankie Machine may be evaporating. According to Frosty over at Collider, Scorsese has dropped out of the project, and by leaving he has put the whole thing in jeopardy.

Frankie Machine was going to be DeNiro and Scorsese reteaming on a mob film; the main character in Don Winslow’s novel is a retired hit man who gets back into the family business one last time to solve a dispute. Unfortunately for him, there’s no dispute and it was all a set up to whack him. It’s a good story, and with Brian Koppelman and David Levien on the script it stood a chance of being a worthy entry in the DeNiro/Scorsese oeuvre.

If Collider’s scoop is correct, there’s no telling why Scorsese left. Marty’s been attaching himself to a lot of projects lately, especially in the aftermath of The Departed being a big hit, so it’s possible that something else was ready first. Or maybe Scorsese felt the film’s start date, March, was being rushed because of the impending strike. I don’t know, I’m making things up here to fill space.

There’s been no official announcement yet; if the project is doomed, expect it to quietly fall to pieces. If there’s still hope, a new director will be announced by sometime this fall.