Robert De Niro has discussed his involvement in Martin Scorsese's new film about Jesus and revealed that the premiere of "Killers of the Flower Moon" was always intended to take place at the Cannes Film Festival instead of the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded.
De Niro, alongside Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, established the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001. Now, as the 22nd edition of the festival approaches, De Niro is shifting his focus from Cannes to Tribeca. The festival is scheduled to run from June 7 to 18 and will span various locations across New York City.
During his recent appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, De Niro attended the world premiere of "Killers of the Flower Moon," directed by Martin Scorsese, where he stars alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite discussions about potentially premiering the Western crime epic at Tribeca, the decision was ultimately made to debut it at Cannes.
"We did talk about it a little bit, but it was always Cannes," De Niro told Variety. "There was talk about whether it should go in competition or out of competition. And we decided out of competition. It made more sense."
In addition, De Niro addressed the possibility of starring in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film about Jesus Christ, following the director's recent meeting with Pope Francis. When asked about his potential role, De Niro responded, "I don't know who I'd play. If he asked me, I don't know." Jane Rosenthal jokingly interjected, "I've always thought you walked on water."
De Niro continued, expressing his trust in Scorsese's ability to find a suitable role for him. "I don't know what would happen. He knows, he'll think of something for me that I would do," De Niro explained. He also acknowledged Scorsese's meticulous approach to time management, emphasizing the director's commitment to each project. De Niro recognized that while he, as an actor, may have more flexibility, Scorsese carefully selects projects that are important and meaningful to him. Although De Niro hasn't been briefed on the film yet, he remains open to the possibility.
During their conversation with Variety, De Niro and Rosenthal discussed the diverse range of events at the Tribeca Film Festival. These include the premiere of Chelsea Peretti's directorial debut "First Time Female Director" and engaging talks featuring renowned figures such as Paul McCartney, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, David Fincher, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The festival will also feature "Expressions of Black Freedom," an expansion of Tribeca's Juneteenth programming, with a focus on Black music as this year's theme.
Naturally, the festival will continue its tradition of hosting anniversary events, including special focus on "A Bronx Tale," which marked Robert De Niro's directorial debut. Following a 30th anniversary screening of the beloved coming-of-age drama, De Niro will engage in a conversation with writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri, as well as producer Jane Rosenthal, during Tribeca's closing gala on June 17 at the Beacon Theatre.
De Niro expressed his anticipation for the event, stating, "I am anxious to see this new print and experience the sound system at the Beacon, which is a beautiful theater. I'm looking forward to the conversation that follows. It will be a great and enjoyable experience for me."
Rosenthal also highlighted other notable reunions taking place at the Tribeca Film Festival, mentioning the inclusion of "New Jack City" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." She expressed excitement about celebrating Black excellence and commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop through these special events.
When asked if there is another reunion he has been pursuing over the years, De Niro refrained from providing specific details but hinted at ongoing discussions with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. He mentioned having an idea that he has shared with Scorsese for some time, expressing the need to revisit it and explore its potential further. De Niro expressed hope that something meaningful will emerge from those discussions.
Included in this year's lineup is Marvel's first original documentary, "Stan Lee," which explores the life and legacy of the legendary comic book writer. When asked about the possibility of premiering another major Marvel superhero film, similar to their showcase of "The Avengers" in 2012, Jane Rosenthal expressed that Tribeca Film Festival is always open to serving as a platform for major studio movies alongside its diverse independent programming.
"We've had 'Spider-Man' here. We've had big movies here. It depends on the release date," Rosenthal explained. "Studios have become more cautious about the timing of premieres at festivals, especially in New York City."
Addressing a pressing issue in the industry, Rosenthal expressed her and De Niro's full support for the Writers Guild strike, emphasizing their hope for a swift resolution. When asked if any writers or filmmakers had reservations about promoting their work at Tribeca, she clarified, "It wasn't so much individual writers. We had two programs that required adjustments, and we made those changes in consultation with the Writers Guild."