Director Martin Brest was heavily involved in making the police comedy “Midnight Run” work. To the point of leaving very bad memories for Yaphet Kotto, who shares the bill with the excellent Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin.
MidnightRun : Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin form a cult duo
After having lent his features to the disturbing Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart: At the Gates of Hell and gangster Al Capone in The Incorruptibles, Robert De Niro wants a lighter project. As he expresses his interest in the main role of Bigthe actor finally finds himself headlining MidnightRun. Paramount is considering a star to star in this buddy movie by Martin Brest (The Beverly Hills Cop) released in 1988.
The studio thinks in particular of Robin Williams, but it is finally Charles Grodin who is chosen. The chemistry between the latter and the Oscar-winning actor of raging bull impresses the director during the auditions.
Robert De Niro plays here Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter tasked with finding Jonathan “the Duke” Mardoukas (Charles Grodin). This man on the run is none other than the former accountant of the terrifying mobster Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina), capable of testifying against him. After tracking down his target in New York, Walsh learns that she’s phobic about flying, so he’ll have to find another way to escort her to Los Angeles. The improvised tandem obviously finds itself with Serrano’s men on their heels, but also with FBI agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto).
Joe Pantoliano and John Ashton complete the cast of this excellent detective comedy, carried by two fabulous actors who manage to develop a friendship as funny as it is touching.
The countless catches of Martin Brest
For the magic of the duo to work and for the comic springs to work, Martin Brest spares no effort. Asked for the site MikeFury.netscreenwriter George Gallo salutes the involvement of the filmmaker :
Marty was very focused, where I was a bit more scattered. I am not a person who suffers from having no ideas. On the contrary, I have too many ideas. Marty helped me stay focused on the main story. It has helped me a lot since our collaboration. Whenever I write, I try to keep the overall plot in mind so that I don’t navigate too many side stories.
For his part, if he does not deny the quality of the feature film, Yaphet Kotto keeps a very bad memory of the shootingprecisely because he considers that the director got too involved:
De Niro is very spontaneous and it always helps to work with an artist like that. But Marty Brest! “Herr Director” shot so many scenes that I lost all joy in making the film. It became hard and tedious work. He stopped eating during filming and became thinner and thinner every day, to the point of looking like a ghost behind the camera.
When I met Marty at Universal Studios with De Niro, he looked healthy and strong, but as filming progressed he started to become someone you would see in Dachau. It was strange. I fell ill and throughout the film I had a fever. (…) I was shocked that the film was so funny… It was absolutely not funny to do it.
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Midnight Run: why was the filming of the film with Robert De Niro very complicated? – CineSeries