Scorsese and De Niro Talk ‘The Irishman,’ and DiCaprio Is in the Audience

The director Martin Scorsese and his frequent star Robert De Niro shared a few small details about their forthcoming film, “The Irishman,” as part of a wide-ranging discussion Sunday at the Beacon Theater, where audience members were surprised to learn that Leonardo DiCaprio was in their midst.

For the event, part of the Directors Series of the Tribeca Film Festival, which the actor helped found, De Niro loosely played the role of interviewer. He asked Scorsese about specific elements of “Mean Streets,” “The Last Waltz,” “Raging Bull,” “Casino,” “King of Comedy,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and his recent drama about faith, “Silence.” As clips from those movies played on a huge screen behind them, the colleagues, both in sport coats and open-collar shirts, turned around in their seats onstage and leaned back to watch.

Sprinkled throughout the conversation were names like Terrence Malick (who wrote Scorsese after seeing “Silence” and asked, “What does Christ want from us?”), Michael Powell (the “Red Shoes” director whom Scorsese consulted when he was working on “Raging Bull”) and Norman Mailer (the author and fight fan who urged a reluctant Scorsese to make that film).

Scorsese spoke at length about his hesitance when it came to “Raging Bull,” in part because he didn’t know how to shoot sports. “If there’s a ball involved, forget it,” he said onstage, going on to explain that De Niro pushed for the film and broke down the boxing scenes at length for him.

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