Robert DeNiro brought his latest directorial effort, The Good Shepherd, to Berlinale, where it’s in competition for the Golden Bear. The movie was very enthusiastically received apparently, and in the press conference afterwards, DeNiro expanded on his ambition for follow-up movies. "I’d love to do a second part, from 1961 when the Berlin Wall went up to 1989 when the Wall fell," said De Niro. "And then I’d like to do a third part from 1989 to the present."
I’d line up for it, even though I feel like this film is a little too lean, that it doesn’t get to breathe in the way that a great epic should. But would anyone else line up for it? And would any studio finance it? The Good Shepherd cost 85 million and has done almost 60 million domestically, and it got shut out of the Oscars. It’s a sad example of a movie that didn’t get the treatment it deserved; brought out in a very crowded part of the year and demanding a lot from an audience, The Good Shepherd’s box office take is comparatively heroic.
Still, DeNiro’s not dumb – he knows how much the movie made, and he knows the economics of the business. He could be trying to make the film look like a success for its foreign release (looking like an American bomb could only hurt its overseas box office), or he could have some kind of a plan in mind about how to get another movie or two made. Heck, he’s actually talking about one movie more than he was during the US press tour for The Good Shepherd. I like to imagine that it’s the second – in the months since I have seen it, The Good Shepherd has grown in my mind, and I can’t wait to see it again. Of course what I really can’t wait for is a much longer director’s cut.