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Robert De Niro & Eric Roth Reteam To Bring 'The Good Shepherd' TV Series To Showtime

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 5, 2012 6:02 PM
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If there is one movie in the past few years this writer feels was underrated and dismissed too easily, it's Robert De Niro's 2006 effort "The Good Shepherd." Running way ahead of more critically acclaimed fare like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," De Niro's film was an equally cold and sober look at the spy game, which quietly but effectively explored the moral and emotional toll it takes. For a while, he had been talking up a sequel -- and was even dreaming of a trilogy -- but considering the film cost about $80 million, only grossed $59 million domestically and topped out around $100 million internationally, it's no surprise Universal wasn't in a hurry. But it seems the project hasn't left his desk, and now has found some intriguing new life.

De Niro and screenwriter Eric Roth are set to dip into the world of spies once again, as they are teaming up to bring "The Good Shepherd" to Showtime. They will use the small screen format to delve deeper into the characters from the film, and will center on the family of a CIA operative. And we'd reckon the breathing room and space is an attractive opportunity for De Niro who mentioned this spring that Universal had given the go-ahead for a followup film, but at a much lower budget that he turned down.

Roth will write and De Niro will direct, but the big question will be if they will be able to crack the expectations of a weekly show. One of the big complaints for many was that "The Good Shepherd" was too cold, internal and slow. And a serialized format generally demands more cliffhangers and incidents to keep viewers returning, rather than a slow burn which is a much tougher sell. But at least on Showtime they'll be free of the constrains of network TV, so that's a plus.

Either way, this is much more promising than "Midnight Run 2" or another 'Fockers,' and it's clearly something De Niro is invested in, having kept at it this long. So we're excited to see how this turns out. [Deadline]

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  • Shobhit | April 10, 2013 4:50 AMReply

    TGS was a super spy film!Hats off to Robert De Niro for producing such a classic in this day and age.A pity universal studios didn't see the value in this!The initial plan I recall was for a sequel to be based around the intriges of the cuban missile crisis and for the final film of the trilogy to conclude with the chaos around the collapse of communism.

    Truly that would have been spectacular!But no the public wants rubbish like Hangover and American Pie!!

  • AA | September 6, 2012 1:52 PMReply

    This is great news. TGS was an amazing film.

  • James | September 6, 2012 12:48 PMReply

    Tinker tailor is old school! Good shepherd is the new kid on the block. Either that or I have been time travelling and watched tinker's sequel Smiley's People already. No wait I watched that 30 years ago on tv.

  • Matt | September 6, 2012 10:21 AMReply

    "Running way ahead of more critically acclaimed fare like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," De Niro's film was an equally cold and sober look at the spy game..." is a bit of a silly thing to say, though, seeing how TTSS was a bestselling novel and a critically acclaimed BBC series in the '70s.

  • kitcon | September 6, 2012 8:22 AMReply

    I agree. If TGS were released now it would be more kindly received. Could even be an Awards contender.

  • jimmiescoffee | September 5, 2012 9:46 PMReply

    'The Good Shepherd' is a very underrated movie.

  • AS | September 5, 2012 8:35 PMReply

    By far the best film I've seen about the C.I.A. Matt Damon gave the best performance of that year, imo. I just wish it was HBO instead of Showtime (since their track record is a bit more sketchy).

  • A | September 6, 2012 1:51 PM

    After what they did with Homeland, I have complete confidence in Showtime.

  • Eneko Ruiz | September 5, 2012 6:30 PMReply

    Yes, I know, all those fast-paced cliffhungery shows born on US cable: In Treatment, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, The Wire...

  • jon | September 5, 2012 6:04 PMReply

    The Good Shepherd was an amazing film.

  • yer | September 5, 2012 6:45 PM

    I thought I was the only one who thought that. Glad to see others like it as much as I did.

  • Christian | September 5, 2012 6:11 PM

    Agreed, along with The Assassination of Jesse James, The New World, etc., I think The Good Shepherd was one of the more overlooked gems of the last decade. De Niro should quit acting completely and direct full time.

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