Robert De Niro sought advice from friends ahead of directorial debut for ‘A Bronx Tale’

Even Robert De Niro gets the jitters.

The iconic actor confessed that he was nervous ahead of directing his first feature film, 1993’s “A Bronx Tale,” because it was “something new.”

“I didn’t know,” he told Page Six exclusively at a screening of the critically acclaimed movie during the Tribeca Festival at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Saturday.

In fact, he said he “got advice” from “certain friends who had been in similar situations — actors who directed movies.” However, he didn’t disclose who specifically he talked to.

“You just gotta jump in and do it and take it moment by moment, day by day and that’s it,” he added.

Robert De Niro at Tribeca Festival 2023.
Robert De Niro called friends for advice before making his directorial debut in “A Bronx Tale.”

The movie, based on a one-man play by Chazz Palminteri, tells the coming-of-age story of an Italian-American boy who is torn between the temptations of a local Mafia boss (Palmientri) and his hardworking bus driver dad (De Niro).

At the time, De Niro had been looking for a project to direct “and I couldn’t find anything,” he told us.

“I wanted to direct something and finally I said, ‘I better make a decision,’ and then I saw Chazz’s one-man show and I said, ‘Let me see about this.’ I spoke to him and I felt I could add something to it and I like Chazz, we had a great relationship, so it was all nice.”

Poster for "A Bronx Tale."
The movie starred De Niro and Chazz Palminteri.
Tribeca Film Festival

The “Goodfellas” star, 79, shared that he hopes the movie still holds up 30 years after its premiere.

“I’m going to see it again,” he said. “I hope it does, I haven’t seen it in a while!”

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Katherine Narducci, 57 — who played De Niro’s wife in the movie and was making her movie debut at the time — was also at Saturday’s screening.

When asked how she scored the role, she told us, “There was an open call. It was in The Post, and De Niro was looking for a 9-year-old to play his son in this untitled movie, and I asked my 9-year-old son if he’d like to audition, and he said, ‘Sure.'”

Robert De Niro in "A Bronx Tale."
De Niro played a bus driver in the 1993 movie.
Getty Images
Katherine Narducci at "A Bronx Tale" screening for Tribeca Festival.
Katherine Narducci played De Niro’s wife in the movie and it was her first film role.
Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

But things were harder for Narducci, who was also an aspiring actress. Despite fitting the role, she was told that they were only considering members of the Screen Actors Guild.

“I wasn’t SAG,” she said. “But [casting director] said, ‘I tell you what, here’s my number. If we don’t find our actress today, give us a call tomorrow, we’re going to open it tomorrow. I took her number, next day I called and the rest is history!”

“It was like hitting Lotto,” she said about being cast opposite De Niro. “It was like a dream come true and it was very special. It was very special, so for anyone who doesn’t believe in open calls and cattle calls and thinks they’re bulls–t, they’re not and I’m the living proof and that’s to all the actors out there!”