Cigar Aficionado Publisher Chats With De Niro

Marvin Shanken says he has never prepared more thoroughly for an interview.

By the time the September issue of Cigar Aficionado hits newsstands Aug. 25, Robert De Niro will officially and briefly be slightly older than magazine publisher Marvin Shanken. The actor will celebrate his 72nd birthday on Monday, while Shanken will turn that same age in October.

It’s not too often that De Niro does interviews, let alone with someone his own age. Throughout the Q&A, conducted in May at Cigar Aficionado’s offices, Shanken tries to get the actor to identify a favorite movie, a notable one from the Scorsese collaboration catalog, and so on. De Niro demurs, explaining that he is not comfortable framing his movies that way.

But towards the end of the extended conversation, the actor finally relents and offers a “personal” thought about one of his 95 films:

I’m not saying it’s the best movie but it was a movie that meant a lot to me.

Everybody’s Fine. Directed by Kirk Jones. It’s about a father who is estranged from his children who takes a road trip to try to reconnect with them. It was released by Miramax a few years ago [2009]. They did a lousy job promoting and distributing it. Miramax was being sold by Disney around this time. I only wish it was Harvey Weinstein who represented it. It died in America.

At one point, Shanken screens for De Niro, a former cigar smoker, scenes from films where the actor has puffed on a stogie and asks about those sequences. If there’s one overriding theme to the conversation, it’s just how casually things have come together for De Niro over the years on both the artistic and business fronts.

Other high-profile interviews conducted by Shanken for Cigar Aficionado include Francis Ford Coppola (2003), Fidel Castro (1994), Ronald Perelman (1995) and Michael Jordan (2005).

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Robert De Niro Highlights Tribeca’s Many Charms

Photo courtesy: Cigar Aficionado