Scorsese and De Niro kept turning each other down for simple reasons

Killers of the Flower Moon marks the 10th feature collab between Scorsese and De Niro, whose partnership goes back 50 years.

This year’s Killers of the Flower Moon marks the 10th major collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, it further solidifies the pair as one of the most iconic director/actor teams in cinema history. But that doesn’t mean it comes easy, as sometimes they just aren’t feeling it.

Scorsese and De Niro had an incredible run beginning with 1973’s Mean Streets, with classics like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and more following. But after 1995’s Casino, the collaborations seemed to wear cement shoes. The reason? As Scorsese tells Deadline, sometimes there’s just a general disinterest from one of the parties.

Explaining why it took 24 years between collaborations–Scorsese and De Niro didn’t work together again until 2019’s The Irishman–the director said, “After Casino we stopped for a while and I did Kundun, and Bringing Out the Dead. And then Gangs of New York. We always checked in, on that and everything else. He wanted me to do Analyze This, and I said, ‘We already did it. It was Goodfellas.’ I talked to him about other projects, and at one point he said, ‘You know the kind of stuff I like to do with you.’ I said, ‘OK.’ That became The Irishman, and it took nine years. We were always looking. ‘What about The Departed?’ ‘Nah, I don’t wanna do that.’ ‘OK.’”

Scorsese clarified that De Niro didn’t actually audition for Gangs of New York, in which he presumably would have been cast as Bill the Butcher, a role that earned Daniel Day-Lewis his third Oscar nomination. “That was just a check-in. Literally, he said, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m doing this. You interested?’ ‘Nah.’ ‘OK.’ We always talked about that kind of thing, because he is the only one around who knows where I came from and who I am, from that period of time when we were 15 or 16 years old.” As much as we love Bobby D., it’s impossible to imagine anyone else but DD-L.

Killers of the Flower Moonwhich makes its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival out of competition–won’t only be the 10th outing for Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro but also the sixth between the director and Leonardo DiCaprio, who first teamed on, interestingly enough, Gangs of New York. This will also mark the first time all three worked on a feature, although they all participated in a 2015 short called The Audition. De Niro and DiCaprio shared credits in 1993’s This Boy’s Life, and 1996’s Marvin’s Room.

What is your favorite Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro film?

Originally published at

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