I was going to start this piece with the line ‘In DeNiro’s latest crummy movie,’ but then I realized that saying ‘latest crummy movie’ and ‘DeNiro’ in the same sentence is way, way too vague. So how’s this: In What Just Happened, a fairly crummy movie, Robert DeNiro plays a Hollywood suit whose job often finds him mediating breakdowns and freakouts with famous actors. So who was mediating the breakdown on the set of Edge of Darkness last week, when DeNiro walked off the Martin Cambell movie?
The Boston Herald has done some digging into what just happened, and they seem to think that the most likely scenario went something like this:
One spywitness tells us that the two-time Academy Award winner left Boston after a disagreement with Martin Campbell over how many takes the director had De Niro do out at the Gannon Golf Course in Lynn last week.
According to that source, Campbell had Bobby D. repeatedly shoot and re-shoot a scene where his character tries to hit a ball out of a sand trap. At the end of the day, the actor reportedly approached the director to discuss the long day, and the discussion degenerated into a shouting match that culminated with De Niro hitting the road.
That contrasts with another source that says DeNiro was fired for not knowing his lines. That story seems a little bit nutty.
Producer Graham King sort of splots the difference: “The issue really was that Bob saw the character one way and we saw it another… And it was hard for Martin, especially, to get his head around how Bob wanted to portray the actor.”
It seems to me that he’s not discounting the golf course freakout, which could have been the culmination of a long simmering battle between DeNiro and Campbell.
Ray Winstone has since stepped into the role DeNiro vacated. One assumes he’ll get to know his lines. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson, the co-star of the movie, is just glad he’s not back in the headlines.