Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro shared a stopping but loving hour on stage at the Tribeca Film Festival tonight, and director David O. Russell joined them halfway to maintain the dialogue.
The entertainment, which was live streamed on Facebook, focused mainly on the work of the two actors, including films such as Limitless Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. The conversation also included many reflections on her experience as a director. De Niro has twice directed ( A Bronx Tale and The Good Shepherd ) and Cooper's directorial debut, a new version of A Star is Born is intended for release
"It can only enrich your awareness of what everyone is going through," De Niro said in response to a viewer's question about coming behind the camera. Cooper added, "As a director, there are so many things that you think of as an actor, I just forgot … It was exciting because I kept surprising myself."
After Cooper said his film was shot in 42 days, De Niro said his films took at least twice as long. "I do not know how to do it differently," he said, joking. "That's why they no longer demand anything from me." While refusing to name any projects, De Niro, 74, said that he expected that he would produce a total of three to five films during his lifetime.
When embarrassing silence broke out every few minutes, Cooper filled her with hints about his earliest contacts with De Niro. (During a break, De Niro pulled out his phone and said, "I told people to text me if there was a question." When the audience chuckled, he put the phone away.) Cooper remembered his first encounter with De Niro, years before the two appeared in Limitless recalled Cooper as De Niro's appearance at Inside the Actor's Studio asked a question. When De Niro called the question for a particular moment in the film Awakenings "A Good Question", Cooper remembered that simple gestures felt like "a light shot through me". He would recite a recording of the exchange to remember "going with his gut feeling," no matter how daunting his industry experience was.
A later experience, Cooper recalled, was when De Niro called Cooper to a meeting at his hotel when he prepared for the 2009 film Everybody's Fine and saw Cooper's audition plaything. While Cooper lost to Sam Rockwell, De Niro wanted to offer his encouragement. "You told me," You will not get the role, but I see something. "And you hugged me, and I left." Smiling at the suddenness, but also at the friendliness of the exchange, Cooper said: "That kept me moving forever."
When the conversation turned Silver Linings  for which both actors received Oscar nominations, their chatter grew with Russell, who initially sat in the audience for so long that Cooper called Russell to the stage. In the end, the three did not have too many more extended exchanges, even though Russell laughed a big laugh as he remembered (with much imitation) a meeting with Joe Pesci. The actor's advice to work with De Niro could definitely have been transferred to the panel this evening. "You'll find that if you do not tell him what to say," Russell-as-Pesci warned, "he's not going to say anything."
De Niro said more than a few things, but as usual, it held rather Englipig, though often justified in a sincere appreciation for his employees. When they moved from Limitless to other projects, some of which are still in development, De Niro remembered that Cooper would always be a reliable partner. "I knew you would do a good job," he said. "And that's a nice thing."