Robert De Niro’s next movie project sees him making a welcome return to the type of role he occupied in his heyday. BUS 757 has the mumbling, brooding one playing The Pope – not the beloved Pontiff (though there’s arguably a resemblance) but a dodgy casino owner with a holy nickname who becomes caught up in an audacious plot to both raid a bank and hijack a bus.
The story sounds like a frantic blend of HEAT and SPEED, though with a budget of $15 million the emphasis is likely to be less on explosions and more on character. The heavyweight screen veteran is to the first casting to be confirmed and is sure to attract some exciting talent to the table. Written by Stephen Sepher (4 MINUTES) and directed by Scott Mann (THE TOURNAMENT), the movie will shoot in September in Baton Rouge. The producers are EFOF, who are also handling De Niro collaborator Martin Scorsese’s new project SILENCE.
I’m one of those people who admires the legendary actor greatly but feels he has perhaps wasted some of his time in the past 20 years with choices like GODSEND, LITTLE FOCKERS and RED LIGHTS. There was also the minor matter of chuckling at a pornographic pen in Extras, though it showed he’d mellowed since turning, Travis Bickle-style, on critic Barry Norman after an interview for no apparent reason. Although more recent performances make him indistinguishable from the permanently- smirking Australian comic Adam Hills, BUS 757 looks like a return to his hard-bitten crime roots and it will be interesting to see if he can still knock the whole gangster thing out of the park.