Robert De Niro's first project with David O. Russell delivered an Oscar nomination and one of his most accomplished performances for some time. The pair obviously struck it off on Silver Linings Playbook, so the news that they are reuniting on Russell's next, a so-far untitled Abscam thriller, is immensely cheering but not a major surprise.
Talking to Empire, De Niro explained that he'll be playing a man immersed unwittingly in the corruption exposed by a late '70s FBI sting. “My character is a guy who comes in and represents the whole gambling thing, trying to help them work it out. Unwittingly, he’s also being used. He’s legitimate, in that he can do casinos, but he’s also connected to the underworld.” So a fixer of sorts? “Right.”
The film follows con man Melvin Weinberg (Christian Bale) who works scams with partner Maxine Gardner (Amy Adams). The pair are busted by FBI agent Jimmy Boyle (Bradley Cooper) and offered a deal: help run a sting that takes in mob criminals and, more intriguingly, crooked politicians.
"It’s the story of how the government prosecutor went after federal politicians", explained the actor. "They were taking bribes to allow the legalisation of gambling in New Jersey." Expect a complex world of sleaze and corruption, in other words. “I’m still learning about it myself," laughed De Niro.
Jennifer Lawrence, Louis CK and Jeremy Renner are also on board for the production which is shooting now, with De Niro rumoured to be joining them in May.