Robert De Niro gets called on his failure to work with female directors

Ben Arnold
Robert de Niro Robert De Niro at the 17th annual Marrakech International Film Festival, in Marrakech (Credit: EFE/EPA/JALAL MORCHIDI)

Robert De Niro has been called on why he’s worked with so few female directors during his five decade career on screen.

The movie legend was appearing at a masterclass event at the Marrakech Film Festival on Saturday night, led by the French actress and director Maiwenn.

According to Variety, a number of personal questions aimed at the notoriously difficult to interview De Niro ‘fell flat’.

At one point Maiwenn, who has made celebrated movies including Polisse in 2011 and Mon Roi in 2015, asked De Niro whether he’d received enough love from his mother.

“I should be in an analyst’s chair,” he joked, adding: “She was an artist, an academic.”

But as for working with female directors, he appeared a bit stumped.

Goodfellas (Credit: Warner Bros)

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t have a problem working with a woman. If it’s a good script I’d do it.”

De Niro has only worked with three female directors, French helmswoman Agnès Varda on One Hundred and One Nights, Penny Marshall on Awakenings, and Nancy Meyers on The Intern.

Other than that, nearly all of his 100-plus movie appearances have been directed by men.

He also spoke about his long-standing relationship with Martin Scorsese during the masterclass, who he’s most recently worked with on the forthcoming Netflix production The Irishman.

“Marty will let you go as far as you need to go and worry about it later, and he’ll use it,” De Niro said.

“Some directors don’t think that way. If you offer this kind of a left turn or out-of-the-box type of thing, they’ll just say let’s move on. Marty just has that capacity to let you do what you want to do.”

The Irishman is due for release next year.

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