The actor, who plays twisted cattleman William Hale in Martin Scorsese’s western crime drama, compared his character to the former US president during a press conference at the festival.
- READ MORE: Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon: release date, plot details, cast and everything we know so far
“I don’t understand a lot about my character,” De Niro said (via Variety). “Part of him is sincere. The other part, where he’s betraying [the Osage people], there’s a feeling of entitlement. We became a lot more aware [of that dichotomy] after George Floyd with systemic racism.”
He added: “It’s the banality of evil, the thing we have to watch out for. We see it today, of course. We all know who I’m going to talk about, but I won’t say the name.”
Robert De Niro rips Donald Trump while discussing "the banality of evil" in "Killers of the Flower Moon": "We see it today and you know who I’m talking about but I’m not going to say his name. That guy is stupid." https://t.co/YeZrO6zkFm #Cannes pic.twitter.com/AbEFa515ot
— Variety (@Variety) May 21, 2023
Alluding to Trump, De Niro said: “That guy is stupid. Imagine if you’re smart. Even Hale was smart in many ways. It is something that’s systemic and that’s the scary part about it.”
Speaking later about how Osage members attended Hale’s funeral despite his involvement in the murders of tribe members, De Niro similarly brought up Trump while commenting on the blind loyalty to “evil” men. “There are people who still think he can do a good job,” the actor added. “Imagine how insane that is.”
Based on the book by David Grann, Killers Of The Flower Moon follows the FBI investigation into a series of Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation during the 1920s, after oil is discovered on their land. The film premiered at Cannes on May 20 where it received a nine-minute standing ovation.
Alongside De Niro, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow and Tantoo Cardinal.
Killers Of The Flower Moon is released in cinemas in October, before arriving on Apple TV+ at a later date.