Martin Scorsese must have an easier time wrangling Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci on-camera, because at a panel discussion for their new movie “The Irishman,” it was a comic free for all.
Pesci, wearing a pork pie hat and dark sunglasses, gave short answers and quick quips throughout the 30-minute conversation that followed a screening of the film at Lincoln Center in New York City on Friday.
Moderator Kent Jones, also joined by producers Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Jane Rosenthal, asked Pesci, who is mostly retired from acting, what it was like to return to movies.
“No,” Pesci replied.
When Jones asked him to elaborate, Pesci asked Rosenthal what the moderator was going on about. Scorsese cracked that Rosenthal was “translating” for Pesci.
When asked if he felt pressure to do the movie, Pesci had a bit more to say.
“I don’t know what to say, I just, no, no pressure. Oh, to do this? No, you didn’t say that,” he replied.
As for Scorsese’s directing style, Pesci said, “I just do whatever he tells me to. Thank you for asking.”
Pacino also came to wise crack, and De Niro was along for the ride, laughing.
Pacino admitted he thought the movie, 10 years in the works, was never going to happen, and that whenever he met with Scorsese he would ask if it was really getting made. Scorsese explained that Netflix eventually came through with the $150 million in financing the 108-day shoot required, and Pacino signed on, although Scorsese was never sure he actually read the script.
“I don’t like reading film scripts,” Pacino laughed.
“I don’t read them,” Pesci piped in.
Pacino said he admired De Niro’s work in the movie, calling him a real “Meryl Streep.”
When questions were turned over to the audience there was the sound of a can falling to the ground.
“They’re drinking again,” Scorsese cracked.
And when it was silent for about a minute before anyone asked a question, the director feigned enthusiasm.
“Wow. What a crowd,” he deadpanned.
The actors and Scorsese all received a standing ovation at the talk.
The film opens in theaters on November 1 and on Netflix on November 27.