FilmJerk.com has learned that Oscar®-winning actor Joe Pesci, who disappeared from cinema screens after his less-than-satisfactory performance in 1998's craptacular Lethal Weapon 4, has finally been coaxed off the golf course by his good friend Robert DeNiro, for a small but pivotal role in DeNiro's espionage thriller The Good Shepherd.

From a screenplay by Forrest Gump screenwriter Eric Roth, The Good Shepherd tells the mostly true story of James Wilson (a character reported to be based on legendary CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton, and played in the film by Matt Damon), one of the founding members of the Central Intelligence Agency. Beginning as an scholar at Yale, the film follows Wilson as he is recruited to join the secret Skull and Bones fraternity, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders, where his acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in the American way of life render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence. Wilson is soon recruited to work for the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the CIA) during the early days of World War II, and we follow his exploits around the world during the Cold War, and how his secret life affected his personal relationships. Pesci will play a reputed crime boss by the name of Palmi, one of Wilson's targets.

Universal Studios has scheduled a December 22, 2006 release date for the film.

Brian B.