Martin Scorsese has revealed that Robert De Niro turned down both The Departed and Gangs Of New York.
The pair have collaborated for the 11th time on the upcoming film Killers Of The Flower Moon, in which De Niro stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.
- READ MORE: Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon: release date, plot details, cast and everything we know so far
De Niro and DiCaprio could have appeared onscreen together in a feature film of Scorsese’s sooner, however, if the former hadn’t turned down both 2002’s Gangs Of New York and 2006’s The Departed.
Speaking in an interview with Deadline about casting The Departed, Scorsese said: “We talked to Bob [De Niro] about it, but he didn’t want to do it.”
He added: “I didn’t work with Bob for 10 years until we did Goodfellas; we went off in different directions. Then we made another two, three films. And then, for another 19 years, we didn’t. In the meantime, there were two with Daniel Day-Lewis, and for years I wanted to work with Jack Nicholson, if work is the word.
Scorsese added: “So with Bob, 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.’ And 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.’”
When asked if he turned down Gangs Of New York, Scorsese replied: “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.”
Killers Of The Flower Moon is based on David Grann’s non-fiction book about a series of Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation during the 1920s. Alongside De Niro and DiCaprio, the film stars Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow.
The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, ahead of its cinema release in the US on October 20, 2023.