Harvey Keitel’s marriage was secured by Robert De Niro in twist of fate: ‘There she was’

Thelma and Louise – Louise – £30,000 (Car Chase)

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New Yorker Harvey Keitel is among a standout cast in Thelma and Louise, which tonight airs at 10.30pm on BBC One. Among his co-stars are the likes of Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Michael Madsen and Brad Pitt. The 1991 drama itself was directed by heavyweight Ridley Scott.

It follows the tragic story of two friends who decide to go on the run after they killed a would-be rapist in self-defence.

The heartbreaking tale won Best Screenplay at the Oscars, while Sarandon and Davis also got Best Actress nods at the award ceremony.

Keitel portrays Arkansas State Police Investigator Hal Slocumb, who is leading the investigation into the death of the man, and while he understands the women’s situation, he is confused by why they have decided to go on the run.

Away from the camera, Keitel has amassed an incredible back catalogue of appearances in films such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Irishman, but continues to enjoy a relatively quiet life.

He once recalled how his celebrity friend Robert De Niro was influential in securing his second marriage to wife Daphna Kastner.

Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Keitel explained the connections between De Niro, and how he met his wife for the first time in the Eighties.

He said: “I met my wife in Rome at a party for Robert.

“She allowed me to take her to dinner at the [Dal Bolognese Roma]. Then I called her back again a second night.

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“She came and we had dinner together a second night. And then I asked her if she would like a drink in my hotel room — and she said, ‘No, thank you.’

“And I spent a lot of money on her. It was a good restaurant.”

Keitel then noted how they did not see each other for 17 years until their paths crossed at a party hosted by De Niro.

He said: “And there was this girl who I bought two dinners for at Dal Bolognese 17 years ago — and it was my wife, Daphna. And we stayed together.

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“Seven weeks later, I was going to a film festival in Italy and I asked her to come with me.

“She said ‘yes,’ and on the flight, I said, ‘What do you think about getting married?’ She gave a great answer: she said, ‘OK.’”

He added: “The topper was, we got pregnant about a year later, and our son is born on Robert De Niro’s birthday.”

Keitel’s first marriage to actress Lorraine Bracco lasted 11 years, from 1982 and 1993.

Their relationship ended in heartbreak, however, as the pair became embroiled in a long custody battle over their daughter, Stella.

Thelma and Louise is known for its heart-stopping ending, where the couple’s car appears to glide out over a canyon.

But in the extended version of the film, a scene appears to show them moving quickly into the vast rocks while Hal rushes to see what will happen to them.

It then shows a final shot of the pair driving off into the distance, which was meant as a more symbolic representation of their journey to “keep going”, rather than survival.

Speaking about the decision to go with the shorter edit in 1997, Scott told Entertainment Weekly: “You know they’re gonna die. But I wanted to go out on the high of the car in control.”

Thelma and Louise airs tonight from 10.30pm on BBC One.

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