De Niro screens film about gay father at Sundance
A little known fact about Robert De Niro’s early childhood is that his father was gay and left his mother in 1945 when he realised he could no longer continue to act as a straight man.
De Niro’s mother and father still remained close, as did father and son until the day he died – so it should come as no surprise to those in the know, that the actor would make a documentary about Robert De Niro Snr’s life.
The 40-minute documentary focuses on the life of his father, who was a figurative artist of some acclaim. The film had its premiere at Sundance Film Festival this week, followed by a Q and A panel.
De Niro said he made the film as he wanted his kids to know who their grandfather was.
"I did this for him," De Niro told festival-goers at the Q and A session after the screening. "I wanted my younger kids who were born after he died to know what their grandfather did. I even kept his painting studio intact so they could see it.”
Robert De Niro Sr was a successful figurative painter during the 40s and 50s. He married De Niro Jr’s mother Virginia Admiral, a painter and poet, in 1941 and De Niro Jr was born two years later. De Niro Snr died in 1993 at the age of 71.
The documentary’s director, Perri Peltz told the Hollywood Reporter the project was initially commissioned by De Niro as a private piece to be made for family, but the film will now screen on HBO later this year.
“Originally, Bob wanted to make the film just for his family,” Peltz told the Hollywood Reporter. “But then we realised it tells the story not just of Robert De Niro's Sr.'s work - which is amazing - but the entire art world of the time.”