Robert De Niro wants to play New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a movie about the coronavirus crisis. But maybe it should be the other way around.
While appearing on Thursday’s episode of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Cuomo approved of the De Niro casting — and offered a pretty spot-on impression of the screen icon’s famous “Taxi Driver” monologue.
“The next press conference, when a reporter asks me a question: ‘You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?’” Cuomo recited in his natural New York accent. “Oh boy, that’d be a treat.”
On Wednesday’s at-home edition of “The Late Show,” De Niro praised the politician’s handling of the public health emergency, telling Colbert, “He’s doing a great job. He’s doing what any president should do.”
Suffice it to say the feeling is mutual: When Colbert later informed Cuomo that the “Irishman” actor had offered on the show to portray him in a pandemic-themed project, the governor was pleased, calling De Niro “a genius.”
“I am a big De Niro fan. He is just phenomenal,” Cuomo said. “The breadth of his ability — just look at all the roles he’s played. He can do anything, right?”
In case anyone doubted his sincerity, Cuomo went on to list some of his favorite De Niro films, including 1979’s “The Deer Hunter,” 1991’s “Cape Fear” and, of course, 1976’s “Taxi Driver.”
The governor was surprised, however, to learn that Brad Pitt had already locked down the role of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Apparently he missed the latest virtual “Saturday Night Live” installment, which saw the “Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood” star impersonate the infectious disease expert in its cold open.
Cuomo has been making the talk-show rounds in recent weeks, discussing serious topics, such as his goals for containing the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as lighter fare, including the internet’s recent #Cuomosexual thirst for him and his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
Earlier in Thursday’s “Late Show” segment, Cuomo reflected on how his late father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has inspired him in challenging times.
“My father was always representative of our best selves,” he said. “If our better angels needed a spokesperson, they would hire my father. ... I still hear my father every day. His voice is still in my head, and his love is still in my heart.”