Martin Scorsese Reveals Robert De Niro Turned Down Roles In Two Of His Biggest Movies

martin scorsese and robert de niro at an award show

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Having made some of the most iconic movies of their career together, you’d think that Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese would jump at the opportunity to work together every time it presented itself. As it turns out, however, there have been a few times over the decades where De Niro has turned Scorsese down.

Speaking to Deadline ahead of the premiere of his new film Killers of the Flower Moon at Cannes Film Festival, Scorsese revealed that he approached his legendary muse about both 2002’s Gangs of New York and 2006’s The Departed.

“We talked to Bob about it [Gangs], but he didn’t want to do it. ‘What about The Departed?’ ‘Nah, I don’t wanna do that.’ ‘OK.’ I didn’t work with Bob for 10 years until we did Goodfellas; we went off in different directions,” Scorsese told Deadline.

“Then we made another two, three films. And then, for another 19 years, we didn’t… So, with Bob, after Casino we stopped for a while and I did Kundun and Bringing Out the Dead. And then Gangs of New York. We always checked in, on that and everything else.

While Gangs of New York is largely considered to be one of Scorsese’s lesser films (sans the predictably transcendent performance from Daniel Day-Lewis), The Departed is the movie that ultimately landed him his first Academy Award for Best Picture.

When Killers of the Flower Moon hits theaters later this year, it will mark the tenth time that Scorsese and De Niro have collaborated on a film, which is a partnership that began all the way back in 1973 with Mean Streets. In addition to Killers of the Flower Moon and Mean Streets, Scorsese and De Niro have made Taxi Driver, New York New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Casino, and The Irishman together.

Alongside De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon stars Leonardo DiCpario — Scorsese’s other iconic muse –, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, Lily Gladstone, and John Lithgow. The film will hit theaters in the United States on October 20 and will likely hit AppleTV+ a month or so later.