De Niro to film movie in Montreal

Source of Photos: Associated Press

By LUANN LASALLE

Canadian Press (posted on CANOE)

May 26, 2000

MONTREAL (CP) -- Don't bother asking Robert De Niro: "Are you talking to me?"

De Niro, who was in Montreal on Thursday to promote his latest movie The Score, wasn't interested in reprising his role as the psychotic cabbie in Taxi Driver.

He derisively replied, "Yeah, right," on his way out of a news conference when asked if he wished he'd never said the trademark line, which has spawned countless imitations.

De Niro is preparing for his role as an international thief based in Montreal in The Score. To do this, he has to learn how to have a light touch that won't set off any alarms.

"I have to learn how to break into safes," he explained in one of his few answers to questions.

The $65-million US production will be shot entirely in Montreal and for a change the city won't be substituting for an American metropolis. The movie's plot will be based in this city.

De Niro plays Nick Wells, a crook who owns a jazz club in Montreal and wants to settle down. But he's convinced to do one more heist with characters played by Marlon Brando and Edward Norton, who directed the recently released Keeping the Faith.

Angela Bassett, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It, plays De Niro's love interest.

De Niro was told by a reporter that he is known for "liking black women" and that love scenes with Bassett shouldn't be difficult.

"Well, that makes it easier," De Niro said to laughter.

The film will be directed by British-born Frank Oz, a major creative force behind The Muppets. Oz also directed Little Shop of Horrors and Bowfinger.

Oz as well as De Niro, Norton and Bassett answered questions on the set, in the jazz club that De Niro's character owns. Brando was not present.

De Niro, 56, won an Oscar in 1974 for best supporting actor for his role as young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, which also starred Brando as an older version of the gangster[*].

He filmed part of Once Upon A Time in America in Montreal and made Jackknife 12 years ago in the city.

He and the cast were peppered with questions about Montreal.

"It's not seedy at all," De Niro said. "Montreal is a terrific city. It has changed. I'm not sure how I can say it has changed. The people are very nice."

He seemed surprised when told Montreal has been home to possible terrorists linked to international bomb plots.

"So this is a place known for harbouring criminals?"

Bassett said she was drawn to role for the "idea of working with this guy," referring to De Niro. Her reply was a smooth "Yeah," when love scenes with him were mentioned.

She was asked about racism in the film industry and said it's a "cultural issue" that African-Americans don't get more roles.

For his part, Norton has been talking to some shady characters to prepare for his role but said some of their stories could be embellished.

"You've kind of got to sift through it."

De Niro briefly addressed the issue of the United States losing productions to Canada due to tax rebates and cheaper costs.

He said some film crew members, especially in Los Angeles, have found themselves in financial difficulties because of productions coming north.


Flatbroke's note: * Just a little bit of a background correction. While both DeNiro and Brando played Vito Corleone, Brando portrayed him in the first movie The Godfather while De Niro played him in Godfather II, in contrast to what was said in this article by the reporter.


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