Robert De Niro on Making His Own Vaccines Documentary, and Returning to Boxing and Cannes With Hands of Stone
Robert De Niro never came to Cannes with Raging Bull — though he was here in 1976 when Taxi Driver got roundly booed and still won the Palme d’Or — so this week was something of a do-over. He got a 15-minute standing ovation for an emotional tribute to his entire career and the premiere of his new Weinstein Company boxing movie, Hands of Stone. The movie’s title refers to the nickname of Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Durán (played by Carlos star Édgar Ramírez), who in 1980 defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (a really buff Usher) to win the welterweight world championship title, and the film traces both Durán’s life story and his relationship with his trainer, Ray Arcel (De Niro). De Niro doesn’t throw on gloves himself, but he’s been behind this movie for five years, and it’s pretty remarkable watching him work the ring again, feverishly combing Ramírez’s hair — a trick of Arcel’s to make his guy seem fresh as a daisy every time he came out of his corner. We spoke with De Niro and Ramírez on a rooftop in Cannes about their big night, injuries, and De Niro’s decision to show, and then not show, the controversial anti-vaccination documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe at the Tribeca Film Festival.