The Tribeca Film Festival
kicked off Wednesday night with the premiere of the Jason Siegel/Emily Blunt comedy The Five-Year Engagement
, but the first must-attend event of the fest was Thursday in downtown Manhattan with the "100 Years of Universal Studios" panel.
Moderated by Deadline.com's Mike Fleming, it included the festival's co-founder Robert De Niro and Judd Apatow (who produced Five-Year Engagement). Representing a kind of a past (De Niro starred in such landmark Universal titles as The Deer Hunter and Cape Fear) and present (Apatow's Knocked Up, Bridesmaids) of the studio, Fleming touched on a wide range of topics in De Niro's career from backing up the hiring of legendary character actor John Cazale for The Deer Hunter though he was diagnosed with cancer to what motivated him to make the move to comedies in the '90s. But it wasn't all about De Niro; Apatow stole the show (no surprise there). Introduced after the six-minute reel of the highlights from the Universal vault, Apatow quipped, "I only caught the end of the reel, but what, they showed Out of Africa, Schindler's List and then Steve Carell getting his hair ripped off?"
Here are highlights from the panel:
De Niro's body of work has inspired so many to get into moviemaking, how did it affect Apatow growing up?
Apatow: "I was 10-years-old when I saw The Dear Hunter, we had the VHS of it. I watched it and I became this."
On the success of Bridesmaids:
Apatow: "I just wanted to work with Kristen Wig. She said, 'Let's do a movie on bridesmaids,' and I thought that was a great idea and we could get all these funny women [to star in it]... I didn't think we were doing anything new. I love Private Benjamin as much as the next guy."
And the chances of there being a Bridesmaids sequel?
Apatow: "It took us five years to make it so it was exhausting to get it made." He says he'll check in with everyone when they've caught their breath.
Speaking of sequels, is there going to be one for Midnight Run?
De Niro: "A young screenwriter came up with a script and it was good. The son of [Charles Grodin's character Jonathan] has got himself in trouble and he calls Jack (played by De Niro) for his help. I'd like to do it again, it was fun."
Scorsese was going to direct Schindler's List? Sounds like originally Steven Spielberg was going to direct Cape Fear and at the same time Martin Scorsese was putting together List. But during developing Fear the two directors decided to swap projects.
De Niro: "I don't remember what the reason was [for Spielberg leaving.] He felt there was some things that weren't working and he traded with Marty. It didn't really matter to me. If Steven went on to do it I would have done it and it would have been a different movie."
Rumors of a Raging Bull sequel:
De Niro: "I don't know about it. If someone came up with a good script I'll consider it."