Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Robert DeNiro News: Madoff HBO Movie “Wizard of Lies” is A Knockout, “Irishman” Will Get Original Title


This was really Robert DeNiro week. First he was feted with a Lifetime Achievement Award at a heartfelt ceremony on Monday in New York. We looked back at his amazing career in awe.

Then last night HBO threw a lavish premiere at the Museum of Modern Art for Barry Levinson’s sensational “The Wizard of Lies” with DeNiro giving an award-winning performance as Bernie Madoff. What a night, a movie, an A list crowd. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Ruth Madoff, Alessandro Nivola is tragic son Mark, Nathan Darrow is son Andrew, with great supporting turns by Kathy Narducci, Hank Azaria, Lily Rabe and Kristen Connolly.

“Wizard” should clean up come September and the Emmy Awards. Levinson– working from a script by his son Sam with John Burnham Schwartz and Samuel Baum– has made a film that should have been in theaters first. It’s that good. Don’t worry– Bernie Madoff doesn’t come off as sympathetic. As he himself asks in the movie, “Am I a sociopath?” Yes, indeed, Bernie, you are. The fraudulent financier destroyed hundreds of lives. He blew up his own family, killing one son (Mark’s suicide) and not helping the other (Andrew died of lymphoma).

More on “Wizard” in my next item. Here’s another little scoop. I heard this first on Monday from Martin Scorsese, and now DeNiro himself confirms: their movie, “The Irishman” is going to back to its evocative original title, “I Heard You Paint Houses.” That’s the title of the book it’s based on. So much better! Said DeNiro: “I don’t know where The Irishman came from. It’s very bland.”

PS Levinson will be announcing a new HBO project shortly. He’s had a run of hits with them, including Al Pacino as Dr. Kevorkian and Phil Spector. The director of Best Picture “Rain Man” as well as “Diner,” “Tin Men,” “Bandits,” “Wag the Dog”– has found a great home with the cabler.

More tomorrow…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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