Spanish filmmaker Eugenio Mira is a good friend of Fantastic Fest; he’s brought two films - The Birthday and last year’s Agnosia - to Austin. But the next time he comes to Fantastic Fest it could be as a Robert De Niro impersonator.
De Niro is starring in a new film from Buried director Rodrigo Cortes called Red Lights. In it De Niro plays a mentalist/magician, and there’s a scene where a younger De Niro appears on a talk show. Mira knew Cortes and found out about the part and thought that he had what it took to be the young De Niro.
Mira happened to be Thailand at the time, shooting 2nd Unit on The Orphanage director JA Bayona’s next movie, The Impossible. Mira made an audition tape anyway and sent it in to the casting director. Mira had never acted before, and he was up against real, professional actors - but the casting director loved him. And he made it to the top of the pile. Which meant his tape would go to Robert De Niro himself for approval.
And just like that, Mira was an actor. He got two days off from The Impossible and flew to Barcelona, where he got into make-up and did his best De Niro. Mira will be dubbed in the final film, but he still had to try and get it down.
Below is a video from Spanish TV documenting De Niro’s arrival in Barcelona. At about 2 minutes in you’ll see Mira doing his Bobby D impression. It’s adorable. Mira says that he spent some time with De Niro and that the actor was not just nice, he was sweetly shy. Aww!
Good luck, Eugenio - this could be a major career change for you. You could end up in Vegas, alongside Joe Pesci and Al Pacino imitators doing Goodfellas On Ice! Or maybe you could just use your newfound friendship with De Niro to get him into your next feature. Either way, bring it to Fantastic Fest!