Shooting new CIA drama THE GOOD SHEPHERD was a logistical nightmare for Robert De Niro because he had to persuade director pals to alter their schedules so he could make his movie.
De Niro spent eight years trying to get the film financed and made and put a lot of his own money into the project, so he felt justified in asking Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh to change their schedules and allow him to move ahead with his.
De Niro, who had to turn down a role in Scorsese's THE DEPARTED to direct his labour of love, asked the movie mogul to speed up Matt Damon's role in his drama so he could use him for The Good Shepherd.
Damon recalls, "He had to end up talking to Marty to frontload me in The Departed... I ended up wrapping The Departed on a Friday and starting The Good Shepherd the following Monday."
Scorsese was the first person to see the finished movie because De Niro wanted his friend to pass judgment on his efforts.
Ironically, De Niro had initially picked Damon's The Departed co-star Leonardo Dicaprio as the star of The Good Shepherd.
The actor/director explains, "We were gonna do it (with him) but it was so complicated with the schedule and this and that, and I went to Matt... Matt came and thank God he did."
Then, Damon had to persuade Soderbergh to shelve his movie THE INFORMANT, so he could work with De Niro. The OCEAN'S ELEVEN director didn't hesitate and he and Damon will now shoot that film at the end of 2007.