Robert De Niro and Luc Besson Team for Gangster Thriller 'Malavita'

May 22, 2012
Source: Variety

Robert De Niro

French director Luc Besson is perhaps best known for directing Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, but he's also a prolific writer and producer who is responsible for a ton of great work in the action genre. Still, I was a bit surprised when Variety reported that Besson has cast Robert De Niro in a gangster thriller called Malavita, based on Tonino Benacquista's novel Badfellas. Besson has dealt with gangsters on screen before, but never with a heavy hitter like De Niro involved. The story follows De Niro as a former mafia boss in Witness Protection living with his family in Normandy, but his cover doesn't last very long.

Besson will direct from his own script, which is somewhat of a rarity in these later days of his career (the last movie he wrote by himself and directed was 2005's Angel-A). He was all set to write and direct a big scale movie starring Angelina Jolie, but apparently that project has fallen through for now. I haven't seen any of Besson's directorial efforts since The Fifth Element back in 1997, so I'm interested to see how his style has evolved over the years, especially slipping into a genre that seems a bit more grounded than some of his other work. Malavita will mark the first time he's worked with De Niro, and with the subject matter here, it doesn't surprise me at all that the actor has jumped on board this project due. I'd personally like to see him avoid these kinds of movies for the rest of his career because, seriously dude, we get it. But whatever - more power to him. At least he's working with an interesting director. Thoughts?

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Reader Feedback - 7 Comments


I thought Adele blanc sec was ok. His most recent? Loved Le Grand Bleu so this is exciting  hopefully de Niro brings his A game

Loser on May 22, 2012


I think these two together should make for a damn good movie.

grimjob on May 22, 2012


De Niro seems very lazy nowadays ..... but, hopefully the energy brought by Besson charges him up!!

Abhineet Gunjan on May 22, 2012


it's deniro and gangsters - i'm in.

beevis on May 22, 2012


2years Martin Scorsese say Wana make Irishman with (deniro / Pacino / Jo pesi) I hate this waiting but ok I will wait until end Deniro not good for triller

Ehsan Davodi on May 22, 2012


I'll watch anything Bobby D is in and him making a gangster flick at this stage of his career is too good to pass!

Crazy Legs on May 24, 2012


I thought Michael Caleo (who wrote episodes for Sopranos & pop-up video-way back-was writing/co-producing or something like that. Not sure why his name doesn't seem to be attached to project.

tangerine on May 16, 2013

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