De Niro’s Tropical Love Affair with the Dominican Republic
Double agents, high drama, betrayal and plenty of high-tech gadgetry. “The Good Shepherd,” directed by Robert De Niro and released in 2006, had all the magic ingredients of a classic spy film. With Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie providing the obligatory glamor it was no surprise that the movie became a box office success. What is perhaps less obvious, even to those who may have watched “The Good Shepherd” on more than one occasion, is that many of the scenes were shot in the Dominican Republic.
De Niro and the Dominican Republic
De Niro had already spent time in the Dominican Republic during the filming of Godfather Part II when the island served as a viable substitute for the inaccessible Cuba. Now working as the director of this high-octane spy thriller, he chose the Dominican Republic again as the backdrop for the Cuban scenes, as well as some of the other more exotic sequences.
When De Niro came to the island to choose the most appropriate locations for the movie he certainly didn’t go unnoticed. In fact he met with President Leonel Fernández in Santo Domingo and toured the old city, carefully looking for the streets that would best fit his image of Havana. He also toured the more rural parts of the island to find scenery that could be used for the Congo scenes; again, viewers would be unaware that the movie scenes were in fact a long way from the real African jungles that were being portrayed.
During the filming of the De Niro movie the local people were said to have been very excited at the frequent sightings of Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon and Robert De Niro himself wandering through their neighborhoods. De Niro himself is said to have become very fond of the Dominican Republic and looked at ways in which to invest in the local tourism industry.
On the one hand it does seem a little bit sad that in these De Niro films the Dominican Republic is pretending to be someplace else. On the other hand it is a great endorsement of the rich variety of exotic landscapes and historic buildings that any visitor can enjoy on a vacation in the Dominican Republic.
Photo: By colros