These days, many fans know Robert De Niro for his roles in iconic films such as Goodfellas, Meet The Parents, and Taxi Driver. De Niro’s bonafides are well established, as represented by his more than 130 acting credits on IMDb dating back to his first on-screen appearance in 1965. What many fans may not know, however, is that Robert De Niro once convinced Star Trek: Discovery actor Anson Mount to appear in the 2002 coming-of-age film Crossroads, by running lines with the star which were written for Britney Spears.
Robert De Niro convinced Anson Mount to accept a part in Crossroads, going so far as to play Britney Spears’ character opposite the future Star Trek captain.
The hilarious behind-the-scenes story took place on the set of Robert De Niro’s 2002 film City By The Sea, which also starred James Franco, Eliza Dushku, Frances McDormand, and Anson Mount. Apparently, Mount had been given a copy of the Crossroads script and had been asked to consider the project, though he was not yet sold on committing to the teen comedy. When De Niro got his eyes on the script, he explained to the young actor that he was perfect for the role and even prepared Mount for scenes alongside Britney Spears by reading her lines.
It’s not exactly shocking that Robert De Niro pushed Anson Mount toward a lighthearted comedy, as the esteemed actor had been dabbling in a number of comedic projects around that time.
While it may sound jarring to imagine Britney Spears delivering a monologue with the gravelly tones of Vito Corleone himself, this exchange apparently convinced Anson Mount to take on the role. Mount plays the romantic lead, Ben Kimble, in the 2002 film alongside Spears’ Lucy Wagner, who spends the majority of the film searching for her long-lost mother alongside a band of close-knit friends traveling the country.
The film premiered during the height of Britney Spears’ massive career, raking in over $61 million at the global box office against an estimated production budget of only $12 million.
Though Crossroads failed to impress critics, earning a paltry 15 percent critic score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film provided Anson Mount with the opportunity to star alongside massive Hollywood names such as Zoe Saldana, Taryn Manning, Dan Aykroyd, Kim Cattrall, and Barbarian‘s Justin Long. Mount has Robert De Niro to thank for convincing him to take on the project, as only a few short years later, the star would land major placements on television projects, including The Mountain and Line of Fire.
In 2019, Mount received major recognition for his role in Star Trek: Discovery as Captain Christopher Pike, reprising his role in a number of additional Star Trek projects, including Short Treks and Strange New Worlds.
Robert De Niro has helped a lot of stars get their footing in Hollywood, but this is the only time he did so by acting like Britney Spears.
It’s not exactly shocking that Robert De Niro pushed Anson Mount toward a lighthearted comedy, as the esteemed actor had been dabbling in a number of comedic projects around that time. De Niro famously portrayed the nightmarishly invasive father-in-law Jack Byrnes in 2000’s Meet The Parents alongside comedy legend Ben Stiller and did work on the hit Billy Crystal comedy Analyze That in the same year that he had filmed City By The Sea.
With more than six decades of history working in film, Robert De Niro has a great deal to offer Hollywood both on and off the screen.