Bebe (Susan Sarandon, left), Father Moinighan (Robin Williams, center) and Don (Robert De Niro, right) in THE BIG WEDDING. Photo credit: Barry Wetcher
Updated: January 1, 2013 6:21PM
Robert De Niro might be one of the toughest guys in Hollywood, but getting him on one knee was a surprisingly easy task.
“It took two words,” says Justin Zackham, writer-director of the romantic comedy “The Big Wedding,” opening April 26. “Susan Sarandon. She’s as sexy as it gets.”
Still, Sarandon realized she was witnessing something special when De Niro dropped for a proposal scene in front of Robin Williams, who plays a priest.
“When you think of [De Niro], you generally think of these tough guys like Raging Bull or Taxi Driver,” Sarandon says. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And he did the scene in a very moving, adorable way.”
In “The Big Wedding,” however, De Niro’s character spends much of the movie pretending to be together with another woman — his ex-wife (Diane Keaton) — for their adopted son’s wedding. They cannot stand each other and haven’t seen each other for 10 years, yet they have to pretend to be a happily married couple
De Niro, recently seen in “Silver Linings Playbook,” also poses as a dutiful Catholic during the wedding weekend, even agreeing to go to confession, where he quietly curses at the priest.
But he keeps up the act in an effort to reunite his family, including his daughter (Katherine Heigl) and son (Topher Grace), which has been fractured since his divorce.
When he is able to drop the charade with his ex-wife and propose to Sarandon’s character, De Niro spontaneously gave her bare foot an extended kiss.
“He plays someone not at all sensitive to women’s needs, but eventually he comes around,” Sarandon says. “It show’s there’s hope for all men.”
Gannett News Service