Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro to Reunite for Career-Spanning Tribeca Talk

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are reuniting on stage for an in-depth conversation about their respective careers at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The festival on Tuesday announced its lineup of Tribeca Talks, and Scorsese and festival founder De Niro’s conversation will headline the Directors Series.

The duo will talk about their long, intertwined careers, beginning with “Mean Streets” and through “The Irishman,” which will be released on Netflix later this year. That project is their first time collaborating since 1995’s “Casino.” Together they’ve worked on nine films, including “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “The King of Comedy” and “Cape Fear.” The chat between Scorsese and De Niro takes place on April 28 at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

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Also added to the Tribeca Talks series as part of the Directors Series are conversations with Guillermo del Toro, and another between David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence.

Then as part of the Storytellers series, The Roots drummer Questlove, comedians Sarah Silverman and Mike Birbiglia, actors Michael J. Fox and Denis Leary, writer Jaron Lanier, and screenwriter and actress Rashida Jones will also all be featured.

Tribeca Talks also announced a conversation between Queen Latifah and “Mudbound” director Dee Rees, and “Metal Gear Solid” creator Hideo Kojima will sit down with “The Walking Dead’s” Norman Reedus to talk Kojima’s new game for the PlayStation 4, “Death Stranding,” starring Reedus.

The 18th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 24 through May 5. Find out more information about the schedule here.

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Ben Stiller Dons Panda Suit To For Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ Tribute To ‘The Larry Sanders Show’

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Wanna Win Best Actor? Be in a Biopic

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Rami Malek is widely considered the frontrunner to win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Sunday night. But even if he doesn’t, there’s a good chance an actor from a biopic will win regardless.

That’s partly due to simple numbers. Four of the five nominees in this year’s Best Actor race come from biopics. with only one of them — Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born” — nominated for playing a fictional character. But this year’s lopsided representation of biopics among Best Actor nominees isn’t a rarity. Five times in the last 15 years, the same ratio of biopic-to-fictional character nominees has happened, four of those instances since 2013.

But even without superior numbers, the Best Actor category has come to be dominated by biopics. Six of the last eight Best Actor winners have all been from biopics, and so have 11 of the last 18. Overall, 26 performances from biopics have won the Oscar for Best Actor since the award was created, half of them since the 1990s. And for the first time in Oscars history, over the last decade the number of nominees for biopics have surpassed nominees who played original characters — a 23-22 split dating back to 2010.

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Dennis Bingham, a film professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the author of the book “Whose Lives Are They Anyway?,” identifies an important development in fostering the Academy’s love affair with biopics: the rise of actors striving for realistic, authentic portrayals of the real people they play.

This was first on display at the 1980 Oscars, when Robert De Niro won for playing Jake La Motta in “Raging Bull,” and Sissy Spacek won for playing Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” But it was cemented later in the decade by the emergence of two actors whose careers are defined by acclaimed biopic performances: Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep.

“The acting is so visible,” Bingham said. “What they did was, especially Day-Lewis with ‘My Left Foot’ in 1989 and Streep in just about all of her films, is a highly embodied form of acting in that it would no longer do to have George C. Scott play Patton in his own voice.”

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Ellen Cheshire, a British film writer and the author of the book “Biopics: A Life in Pictures,” identifies a surge of love for biopics from the Academy beginning in the mid-2000s, and says studios rushed to make biopics for the same reason they jumped at superhero films and franchises.

“People already know about these people, so there’s a built-in market of brand recognition. I think that always helps in terms of selling the film,” Cheshire said. “And if you can compare an actor against a real person, that always helps.”

The result has been more than one instance of competing biopics on the same subject. For instance, both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toby Jones made Truman Capote stories in 2006, and Hoffman won for Best Actor that year.

Biopics also benefit from easy-to-explain, often highly inspirational narratives that make developing them an easy decision. “We get seduced by their storytelling,” Cheshire said. “They’re structured in such a way with the highs and lows, and quite often there’s periods of great triumph and redemption, whether it’s rags to riches or riches to rags.”

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But if, as expected, a biopic actor takes home the Oscar on Sunday, will that translate to a Best Picture win? Based on history, probably not. While the Best Actor winner has matched the Best Picture winner at the Oscars 27 times, only five of those dual-wins were biopics: “A Man for All Seasons,” “Patton,” “Gandhi,” “Amadeus” and “The King’s Speech.”

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‘Tonight Show’ To Take Viewers Behind Scene In ‘Larry Sanders Show’ Tribute

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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will take viewers behind the scenes Monday night,  February 25, in a special episode inspired by the The Larry Sanders Show.
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What Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill Can Still Teach a New Generation of Journalists (Guest Blog)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s been quite a week for the fourth estate, or the enemy of the people, depending on your viewpoint. Most notably, BuzzFeed has had a bipolar ride and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie took heat for being either too tough or too soft on the Kentucky high school student accused of harassing a Native American man. So consider it a momentary balm that three classic 20th century journalists — about whom few questioned their honesty and craft — are back in the news.

Speaking about Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill in the HBO documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists,new Oscar nominee Spike Lee says, “These guys were superstars.” Breslin and Hamill were as colorful as any characters they covered in their long New York City newspaper careers. They — and the film — were even mentioned in the New York Times obit for Russell Baker, another award-winning New York-based columnist, who passed away this week at age 93.

HBO threw a classy bash for “Breslin and Hamill” last Tuesday week at New York’s Columbus Circle, a who’s who (or, let’s face it, a who’s he) of every name in legendary East Coast journalism. Gay Talese, Carl Bernstein, Jeffrey Toobin, Robert Caro, Phil Donahue and Dan Rather were among the guests enjoying the film, swapping stories about their onscreen appearances. Breslin, who died in 2017, was represented by his widow and son. (His first wife and two daughters died tragically.) Hamill is still alive but was unable to attend.

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While Hamill was the more dashing figure — he dated Shirley MacLaine, Linda Ronstadt and Jackie Onassis — Breslin’s Queens-born personality proved to be truly inimitable. He wrote a popular novel called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” which became a 1971 movie starring Robert De Niro (who appears in the movie) and even hosted “Saturday Night Live.”

Neither Breslin nor Hamill were college graduates — Hamill didn’t complete high school — but they became famous for seeking the stories behind the stories. Breslin’s signature piece of reporting was his coverage of John F. Kennedy’s funeral. While virtually every reporter in Washington followed the details of the ceremony, the investigation into the assassination and the First Lady, Breslin went to Arlington National Cemetery to interview the gravedigger assigned to prepare the grave for the slain president. The man, who made $3.01 an hour, called that task “an honor.”

The documentary, directed by journalists Jonathan Alter, Steve McCarthy and John Block, comes at a crucial moment in the history of American media, which is why they were able to sell it to the usually forward-thinking HBO. “We made a six-minute sizzle reel and showed it to Richard Plepler [CEO of the network] and he bought it on the spot,” says Alter. “It helped that our film is loaded with celebrities.”

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Not surprisingly, a younger and thinner Donald Trump is featured in one section, calling for the death penalty for the five young men of color arrested for the 1989 attack of a Central Park jogger. (They were later acquitted.) But the most spirited and touching parts of the film are the joint interviews with its two subjects, both looking frail and old but with memories sharp. Breslin’s account of the deaths in his family will generate the viewers’ tears, tears he himself had trouble ever showing.

There were demons aplenty: alcohol, for one. Hamill speaks of his neighborhood where “the favorite bar was the nearest bar.” Hamill wrote a memoir called “A Drinking Life” and gave up booze in the ’70s. Breslin got in his most serious career trouble when, at Newsday in 1990, he faced backlash for his treatment of an Asian American co-worker. Breslin, too, gave up drinking in his later years.

Like “The Front Page” and “All the President’s Men, the doc affectionately recalls the time of competing big-city papers, when newsrooms were filled with the clacking of typewriters and the yelling of voices (“Copy!”)

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These days, as the late Tom Wolfe says in the film, newsroom co-workers are “sending messages six feet away.” Breslin never liked the term journalist, preferring “reporter.” Both men had what “Goodfellas” author-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi calls “street sense.”

“You’re not important enough to have writer’s block,” a self-pitying Hamill was once told. He got back on track and went on to one of his greatest achievements — being named on Nixon’s enemies list. Breslin, who won a Pulitzer for his commentary, also took pride in the enemies he accrued over the years. He became such a powerful figure that even David Berkowitz, the city’s notorious Son of Sam serial killer, wrote a letter to the columnist while the hunt was on. “He was the only killer who understood how to use the semicolon,” Breslin later pointed out.

Breslin, Hamill, Baker: three names everyone on deadlines should be required to study. Who would have ever thought that documentaries about old journalists — and new ones, like those in Showtime’s “The Fourth Estate” — would be the vehicles to teach a new generation of digital reporters how it must be done.

Perhaps new dogs can learn old tricks.

“Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” is scheduled to premiere on HBO on Monday.

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Penny Marshall Remembered: Rob Reiner, Robert De Niro, & Others Pay Tribute To Trailblazing Icon

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‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon & Robert De Niro Celebrate The Holidays With ‘It’s A Wonderful Trump’

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‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin’s Trump Returns for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Parody (Video)

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In it’s final episode before Christmas, “SNL” brought back Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump for a cold open sketch parodying “It’s a Wonderful Life,” dubbed “It’s a Wonderful Trump.”

In this version of the story, Baldwin’s Trump feels despondent about the way his presidency is going and wishes that he had never become president. He’s led on this journey by Clarence, played here by “SNL” regular Kenan Thompson.

“Since it’s Christmas, I just want to say that you taught me everything I know.” -Michael Cohen #SNL

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 16, 2018

We also got a bunch of guest stars, including Robert De Niro back as Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen and host Matt Damon reprising his role as Brett Kavanaugh.

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The whole thing is a parade of folks revealing that, unlike Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” actually everyone’s lives would be better had he never become president. Kellyanne Conway, for example, says that “after we lost the campaign the devil gave me my soul back.”

In this story Trump still did run for president, but he lost to Hillary Clinton. Or rather, “In this reality all she had to do to win was visit Wisconsin once,” Clarence says.

The cavalcade of people whose lives are improved by Trump’s loss include Eric Trump, who walks in just as he solves a Rubik’s Cube. Since he doesn’t have to run the Trump organization, he’s taken adult education courses and is smart now.

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Melania (played by Cecily Strong), meanwhile, speaks perfect English because she and Trump got divorced — she says that being married to Donald was holding her language skills back.

Meanwhile, Michael Cohen still loves Trump, Mike Pence has discovered his true calling as a DJ, Matt Damon’s Brett Kavanaugh is happy because people don’t think he’s weird when he says he likes beer, and E Niro’s Bob Mueller is happy that he has plenty of time to spend with his grandson.

Trump himself has benefited as well — he now has a full head of normal hair thanks to the work of a Syrian immigrant who was never denied entry to the US.

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The lesson Trump learns from seeing that everyone’s lives would be better if he wasn’t president is that “the world does need me to be president after all.”

“Not the lesson!” Thompson’s Clarence said.

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‘Saturday Night Live’: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Alec Baldwin Return for ‘It’s A Wonderful Trump’ (Watch)

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‘SNL’: Robert De Niro Returns As Mueller To Give Eric Trump Boogie Man Nightmares

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Robert De Niro, Grace Hightower Separate After 20-Year Marriage

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Robert De Niro and his wife, Grace Hightower, have separated after 20 years of marriage, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap Wednesday.

De Niro and Hightower married in 1997. They briefly divorced in 1999, with De Niro and Hightower engaged in a custody battle over their first child, now 20-year-old son Elliott, through 2001.

The divorce however was never finalized, and the two renewed their vows in November 2004 in front of an A-list crowd that included Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Ben Stiller.

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De Niro and Hightower first met in 1987 when she worked at the famed restaurant Mr. Chow in London. They have two children together, 20-year-old Elliott and six-year-old Helen Grace. De Niro also has four other children with his previous wife Diahnne Abbott.

The couple was last seen together on the red carpet in June at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in New York City. De Niro has since attended several other events, including most recently a MoMA benefit on Monday, solo.

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That Time Martin Scorsese Broke Out in Hives the Morning of the Oscars

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Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards: Michael Moore Finishes His 2003 Oscar Speech

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‘SNL’: Robert De Niro Returns As Mueller, Jeff Sessions Bids Emotional Goodbye To White House

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