Robert De Niro birthday special: Movies that almost starred him
Robert De Niro turns 78 today! The Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winner is known for his versatility and methodical approach to a particular role, case in point, The Godfather Part II. His frequent collaboration with Martin Scorsese has given us many gems, and we hope this association continues. But did you know, many notable films almost starred De Niro? On his birthday, let's explore.
The Godfather rejected De Niro, but not for long
In the early 70s, De Niro had auditioned for Sonny Corleone's character in The Godfather. He failed to dazzle the makers, and the role went to James Caan. But, this wasn't exactly a loss for De Niro, as something big was waiting for him. He was later approached for the role of young Don Corleone in The Godfather II, and the rest is history!
De Niro was outranked by Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining'
Stanley Kubrick, The Shining's director, almost considered De Niro for Jack Torrance's role in his psychological horror-drama. Along with him, Harrison Ford and Robin Williams were also considered for the same. However, the director outranked everyone and went with his easy-to-go choice Jack Nicholson. De Niro later thanked for not being chosen as watching the movie gave him nightmares for almost a month.
He almost played Jesus in 'The Last Temptation of Christ'
Scorsese-directorial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) faced crisis at first. To help his friend get the film done, De Niro offered to do Jesus' role. Scorsese took Willem Dafoe instead, and had said that Jesus' character was "not his (De Niro) kind of role." As expected, the film offended a section of Christians, but impressed critics nonetheless. But, De Niro as Jesus, hmm?
De Niro turned down 'The Departed' for 'The Good Shepherd'
Scorsese scored his first Best Director Oscar for The Departed, and as an unspoken rule stands, he first offered the sweet and sensitive role of Charlie Queenan to his bosom friend, De Niro. But our Manhattan-native was more into his next directorial, The Good Shepherd, which received favorable reviews. And The Departed, on the other hand, scorched the 79th Academy Awards, winning four trophies.
De Niro as Dr. Hannibal Lecter is an interesting thought!
De Niro as Dr. Hannibal Lecter? Hit or miss? Well, we wouldn't know that because he had rejected the role of the Shakespearean monster, which was also offered to Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. Of course, Anthony Hopkins played that The Silence of the Lambs part with perfection, and it's hard to imagine anyone else as Lecter. But De Niro+cannibal/killer is an exciting combination!