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Star Wars: Robert De Niro vs. Mel Gibson

Star Wars: Robert De Niro vs. Mel Gibson | De Niro, Pacino Movie 'Twist' | 'The Twist' Is No. 1, but Not to Rock Hall

Star Wars: Robert De Niro vs. Mel Gibson

Everyone in the movie business is buzzing about Robert De Niro walking off the set of "Edge of Darkness.”

De Niro was back in New York Wednesday night for the premiere of “Righteous Kill” with Al Pacino. But he left “Edge of Darkness” abruptly last week after shooting one scene. His co-star was supposed to be Mel Gibson. It was that actor’s return to the screen after his poisonous 2006 arrest in Malibu that included an anti-Semitic and racist tirade.

Since then, Gibson — who’d already raised questions about his possible problems with Jews from his “Passion of the Christ” — has been considered persona non grata in Hollywood.

He’s also had problems because his father, Hutton Gibson, is a public Holocaust denier who often writes for questionable publications.

There were questions raised in the British press this week about whether or not De Niro might have left “Edge of Darkness” over the anti-Semitic comments Gibson made to a Jewish police officer in that Malibu arrest. Perhaps, the papers thought, De Niro had Jewish ancestors.

But Gibson also addressed a female officer, who is black, as “sugar t--s.” This might not have gone over well with De Niro, whose lovely wife Grace happens to be African-American. De Niro is also a vociferous backer of Barack Obama for president.

De Niro’s other problem with “Edge” and Gibson could have stemmed from his change of talent-agency representation this year. Back in April, he left Creative Artists Agency for Endeavor. The latter’s Ari Emanuel is no fan of Gibson. It’s hard to understand how he allowed De Niro to get into a Gibson movie in the first place.

Writing in the Huffington Post on July 30, 2006, Emanuel said: “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line. There are times in history when standing up against bigotry and racism is more important than money.”

De Niro, Pacino Movie 'Twist'

No, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino don’t do the Twist in their new police thriller, "Righteous Kill."

The movie, which seems on its face to be pretty much the same stuff we’ve seen before, has a neat plot twist. I’m not going to tell you what it is. It’s worth plunking down a few bucks to find out.

“Righteous Kill” is not "The Godfather II," the first movie that ever featured these two actors together. Nor is it “Heat,” the second and only other film with them facing off.

Jon Avnet has directed a very mainstream entertainment here. It’s not cutting-edge. It is simply good fun to watch these two pros finally get a chance to really interact on screen.

Someone at Wednesday night’s premiere called it “Grumpy Old Detectives.” But it’s more. Pacino and De Niro see to that.

They’re like two old gunslingers out West. And in the end, you certainly leave the theater hoping they make more movies together.

For Overture Films, “Righteous Kill” should prove their first nice-sized hit.

But they still have to learn how to throw a premiere party. Both De Niro and Pacino left the premiere after a couple of minutes. Their guests — including Mickey Rourke, Richard Belzer, Chevy Chase, and Matthew Settle from “Gossip Girl,” etc. — had to fend for themselves.

De Niro had had a lot of food brought up from Nobu to this cavernous concrete nightclub on West 56th Street for the after-party. But he asked that it all be sent over to his apartment instead.

Pacino simply exited fast. Maybe they were afraid of bad reviews. But everyone liked “Righteous Kill.” The pair could have stayed and accepted a few compliments.

'The Twist' Is No. 1, but Not to Rock Hall

“Righteous Kill” has a twist in its plot. But Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” was just listed as the all-time No. 1 single chart single in pop history by Billboard.

Forget the fact that lists are meaningless and that for years, Billboard’s charts were manipulated by payola.

Let’s say they’re right. “The Twist” is No. 1. The irony here is that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refuses to induct Chubby Checker.

The reason? Hank Ballard and the Midnighters wrote and recorded “The Twist” originally in 1958. It wasn’t a hit. But then Chubby Checker got it, and his version in 1960 went to No. 1 for three weeks. Two years later, a rarity: Checker’s version ascended the charts again. In between, the Midnighters' original single also went up the charts.

But it was Chubby Checker who had the hit, he went on to have “Let’s Twist Again” and a bunch of chart-toppers. He remains an active presence on the tour circuit. You can check him out at www.chubbychecker.com.

Having the No. 1 all-time single isn’t enough to get you into the Rock Hall. The next batch of potential inductees on the Hall’s ballot will be announced in a couple of weeks. Bon Jovi tops the list. Other acts eligible this time around include Sade, Pet Shop Boys and Spinal Tap.

Still not in, besides Chubby Checker: Billy Preston, Mary Wells, Chicago, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Todd Rundgren, Ringo Starr, The Moody Blues, Leon Russell, Blood Sweat & Tears, Carole King (in as a writer only), Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Wanda Jackson (aka the female Elvis), Little Anthony and the Imperials, Sonny Burgess (of Elvis’s band), The Hollies, The Zombies, The Turtles and so many more. You can read complete lists at www.futurerockhall.com.

Recourse? Boycott Rolling Stone magazine. It’s owned by Jann Wenner, who controls the Rock Hall and its selections.