Robert De Niro Once Said He’d Play Andrew Cuomo in a Movie
It’s official–New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just stepped down. Amid multiple sexual harassment allegations, the governor initially said he wouldn’t resign. That changed on Aug. 10, 2021, when Governor Cuomo announced he would “step aside.”
Now that Cuomo has ripped off the band-aid, some may not recall what the celebrity, Robert De Niro, once said about him. Apparently, De Niro agreed to the idea of a pandemic-related film, one in which he would portray Cuomo. Here is what the actor, director, and producer said about the idea.
Robert De Niro is a major figure in show business
De Niro made the bold choice to drop out of high school when he was 16 to break into acting. Before his rise to fame, the young actor studied at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio followed by the Stella Adler Conservatory.
Throughout the 1970s, the Taxi Driver star was cast in a breakout role in The Godfather Part II; he played the young Vito Corleone. De Niro was involved in the first 1972 film but left the project to work on another. De Niro later won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This is where his career picked up the pace.
De Niro is known for his roles in violent, crime-centered flicks. However, his future as an actor expanded to a variety of genres. The grown actor found himself in more comical roles, including in Meet the Parents; De Niro portrayed a retired CIA agent hellbent on eliminating his daughter’s boyfriend from the “circle of trust.”
Once viewers got to know the comedic side of De Niro, he was later seen in more dramatic roles such as Patrizio Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook. The character continuously bets on his favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. De Niro starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Lastly, De Niro is known for his modern roles in The Irishman, The Wizard of Lies, and Joker. The films received praise, and De Niro was applauded for his performances.
Did De Niro agree to portray Andrew Cuomo?
Technically, the actor agreed to play the governor. However, the statement was in jest. In 2020, De Niro appeared on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Colbert introduced the idea of a movie based on the pandemic with De Niro starring as Cuomo. Colbert began the conversation with, “When [the pandemic] is all over, there will be a movie about this.”
The host then asked De Niro who he’d like to play in this imaginary film and pointed out, “[You] can’t say [Dr.] Fauci ’cause he was taken by Brad Pitt.” The talk show host was poking fun at Pitt’s Saturday Night Live performance as Dr. Anthony Fauci. This is where De Niro mentioned that he would portray Cuomo.
“I guess I’ll play Cuomo,” De Niro said. “He’s doing what a president should do…He’s doing a great job.” Colbert asked him if he could see Cuomo as a U.S. President and the actor agreed.
De Niro’s comments were in response to Cuomo’s leadership throughout the beginning of the pandemic. The entire nation initially praised the governor for lessening the presence of the virus in New York. Ultimately, De Niro wasn’t the only one who applauded the governor’s success. However, on top of the allegations from 11 women in 2021, Cuomo was also criticized for concealing nursing home COVID-19 victims.
What did Cuomo say about De Niro?
Soon after De Niro guest-starred on The Late Show, Colbert brought Cuomo on the air and informed him of De Niro’s comments. “I am a big De Niro fan,” Cuomo revealed. “He is just phenomenal. The breadth of his ability, I mean, look at all the roles he’s played. He can do anything, right?”
Nevertheless, the public was unaware in 2020 of the allegations against Cuomo.
On June 9, 2021, the governor presented De Niro on the opening day of the Tribeca Film Festival. Cuomo praised the work of Tribeca and awarded De Niro with a state award. He said De Niro “represents the best of New York.” Tribeca was founded in 1989 by De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, who received an award from Cuomo as well.