Exclusive: Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro Return to Mob Roots in ‘The Family’

Mark Deming
Robert De Niro in 'The Family'
Robert De Niro in 'The Family'

"Now I'm an average nobody … I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."

That's how Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) summed up going from a life of crime to living in the Witness Protection Program in the classic mob drama "Goodfellas."

But how does that sort of life play out? Another "Goodfellas" star and a man with a powerful reputation in crime cinema, Robert De Niro, gives us an alternately funny and action-packed look at the lift of a former gangster in the upcoming film "The Family." The first trailer promises a fresh spin on the fusion of crime and comedy, dealing with an aggressive species of fish out of water.

Watch 'The Family' Theatrical Trailer, Seen Here First on Yahoo! Movies:

"The Family" also pairs De Niro with a co-star who also has some serious mob movie experience: Michelle Pfeiffer, who memorably played a gal on the wrong side of the law in "Married To The Mob" and "Scarface."

"It was a time when I had it all," Giovanni Manzoni (De Niro) says over a montage of moments from his glory days as a gangster. "People would ask me, 'What was it like being untouchable?' The question they really should have asked was, 'What happens when it's all over?'"

For Manzoni, life a few decades after turning himself over to the feds to save his own skin means being moved around every few months by the Witness Protection Program, where Manzoni has to regularly deal with a quietly exasperated FBI agent played by Tommy Lee Jones.

Michelle Pfeiffer in 'The Family'
Michelle Pfeiffer in 'The Family'

The feds have recently moved Giovanni and his wife (Pfeiffer), now posing as Fred and Maggie Blake, to a village in France, where they're living with their teenage children, Belle (Diana Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo). However, the "Blake Family" is not at all good at dealing with anger: when Fred is unhappy with the plumber, he ends up putting him in the hospital. A clerk at the local market insults Maggie, and she responds with a makeshift bomb. And when a boy at school gets a bit fresh with Belle, she shows her disapproval with a few strong swings of a tennis racquet.

The family's habit of erupting into violence not only alienates their neighbors, but also alerts some old rivals that Manzoni is still around, and soon Dad, Mom and the kids are preparing themselves to do battle with some heavily armed hit men.

In addition to De Niro and Pfeiffer, "The Family" also co-stars former "Sopranos" regulars Vincent Pastore ("Big Pussy") and Dominic Chianese ("Junior Soprano") to give the movie some extra gangster gravitas. The picture was directed by Luc Besson, who as the man behind "Leon: The Professional" and "La Femme Nikita" knows something about making a distinctive thriller, while also knowing plenty about French atmosphere as a proud son of Paris.

"The Family" is scheduled to open September 20.