Barry Levinson’s 1997 Wag the Dog has gotten plenty of shout-outs lately, with one political calamity after another distracting from the last, and HBO might capitalize on its relationship with the director. As such, Levinson is bringing back his film as a new TV series tailor-made for the social media and “fake news” age.
Robert De Niro
In the ’70s, Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken starred in the seminal Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter. It ranks among the more harrowing entries in an already brutal genre, unflinchingly depicting the conditions of abject inhumanity in the war zone and then bringing the trauma home to spiritually gut a declining Pennsylvania industry town. A lot has taken place since then, however. We’re now living in a post-Dirty Grandpa world. The news of another collaboration between De Niro and Walken no longer heralds an intense drama with awards potential in its very DNA. They’re now the twin titans of Grandpa Cinema, and their latest project has to reflect that.
When Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro aren’t busy trying to figure out ways to digitally de-age the latter in Netflix movies about professional hitmen, they do field offers from other studios. That seems to be the case now with Imperative Entertainment, the production house that recently snapped up the rights for David Grann’s non-fiction novel Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The FBI. After spending a whopping $5 million dollars for the rights, Imperative immediately pivoted into convincing the two Hollywood stars — and their frequent collaborator Leonard DiCaprio — to accept the project on their behalf.
Like most cinephiles, I was vaguely aware that Joe Pesci has been retired from acting for a while now, but I assumed that meant he had made a few low-budget movies in the early 2000s and walked away. Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized that Pesci has made exactly two live-action movies since Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998. One was The Good Shepherd, the Robert De Niro-directed 2006 drama about the early history of the CIA. And if a close friend can lure Joe Pesci out of retirement once, maybe he can do it again.
When Meryl Streep took the stage at the Golden Globes ceremony and delivered an impassioned speech calling out President-Elect Donald Trump as an overbearing bully, everyone had their reaction. Many rose up in support of the esteemed actress, celebrating her fiery diatribe as a heroic display of speaking truth to power. Others took issue with her anti-Trump stance, painting the woman as another pampered Hollywood liberal trapped within her bubble of privilege. A third, smaller faction of mixed martial arts enthusiasts took grave offense to Streep’s fleeting diss leveled at MMA and NFL football, and invited the multiple Academy Award winner to settle the matter in the octagon.
It’s one of the most famous lines in movie history: “You talkin’ to me?” But did you know that signature dialogue from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver wasn’t even in Paul Schrader’s original script? Robert De Niro improvised it on set, after hearing Bruce Springsteen of all people say it at a concert a few days before shooting the scene. At the concert, during a particularly loud burst of applause, The Boss feigned humility and joked “You talkin’ to me?” De Niro remembered the moment and used it in the film to make history. That’s just one of the facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
A helpful mantra to repeat to yourself while reading this article might be “I trust Martin Scorsese. I trust Martin Scorsese. I trust Martin Scorsese.” And whatever you do, try to envision Benjamin Button and not, say, a certain baffling posthumous CGI rendering featured in Rogue One. That said, here’s the news: Martin Scorsese is planning to use advanced CGI technology to de-age Robert De Niro in The Irishman — come to think of it, they’ve been planning this movie for so long that de-aging De Niro seems reasonable.
It’s been a rough year and at the end of 2016 nothing would be more needed and appreciated by American audiences than a good ol’ comedy. It’s too bad the first trailer for Robert De Niro’s The Comedian isn’t, um, very funny.
It was a few months ago we heard even David O. Russell was getting in on the TV game, flanked by none other than Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, but the big break is finally here. Not only does the limited series have a two-season order locked up at Amazon, reports suggest it might be a mafia series.
Martin Scorsese has been talking about making The Irishman for so long that we were starting to think that the crime drama would never happen — much like his Frank Sinatra movie. And while we still have no clue if Silence is hitting theaters later this year, it looks like the iconic director is getting ready to defy our skepticism as The Irishman does indeed appear to be his next film.