ShortList calls De Niro to (briefly) discuss his NY festival, Tribeca Greetings from London.
How’s the weather over there?
The usual. It’s warming up over here.
Congratulations on the success of Tribeca. How did it come about?
We had talked about a festival. Then when 9/11 happened and the neighbourhood was devastated, we just decided to do it. We didn’t know what would happen. We put it together in, what, 120 days? That’s how it was born.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
I’m happy that the festival has gone on this long and has had an impact on people; local, national and international. I’m very proud that it’s becoming part of the fabric of New York and tradition. Very proud.
Which films have caught your eye this year?
The one on Gore Vidal, The United States Of Amnesia, and a wonderful film called Red Obsession – which I thought was very interesting – about the Chinese buying all the wine in France.
Talking of communist states, what should the US do about North Korea?
Oh, I don’t know. It’s so crazy, the situation. I’m not informed enough to say they know things that we don’t.
Do you think it’s dangerous to cast Kim Jong-un as a figure of fun?
He’s a little young to be playing with all those toys.
It’s kind of an idle threat, though...
[Tammy, De Niro’s assistant: “Guys? Hey it’s Tammy. Do you have any other questions about Tribeca?”]
Is streaming films online killing cinema?
I don’t know – everything’s changing technologically. Who am I to say where it’s going?
You prefer to read your scripts on an iPad. Ever played Angry Birds?
Do you watch TV on your iPad?
No. Some YouTube stuff. I don’t watch on the iPhone, it’s too small for me – other than that YouTube thing.
You own or co-own many restaurants. What’s the latest food trend?
There are as many great restaurants in New York as there are in London. Where do you wanna begin?
Who makes the best burger?
Ah! That’s a good question. In-N-Out burger’s very good, but they don’t have one here in New York – they’re in LA.
What would be in your ideal burger?
Well... everything. I like the whole schmear with a cheeseburger and all that.
Have you ever Googled yourself?
That’s it – I haven’t. I’d probably find a certain amount of inaccuracies. But that’s normal, y’know?
Have any of the films at Tribeca made you cry?
This year? I can’t remember which ones, but yeah.
How about 2012’s War Witch?
I didn’t cry at that one. But I cried at some of my own.
In a good way?
At the last one [Silver Linings Playbook].
[Tammy: “OK guys, time’s up.”]
[De Niro sings] I’m gonna laugh, I’m gonna cry, I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna dance! [Line goes dead]
Tribeca runs until 28 April; stream entries from this year’s, and previous, festivals through Virgin, iTunes, PlayStation and Xbox
(Image: Rex Features)