Robert De Niro in fighting form ahead of Cannes honours

Paris (AFP) –


Robert De Niro lit up the red carpet in Cannes on Monday where the world's top film festival was to give a special screening of his new boxing movie in the evening.

De Niro, 72, is being honoured in Cannes 36 years after his Oscar-winning performance as self-destructive boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's 1980 classic "Raging Bull".

A smiling De Niro, posed for photographers on the red carpet just hours before the premiere of "Hands of Stone", a biopic about one of the greatest Latino fighters of all time, Roberto Duran, in which he plays his trainer Ray Arcel.

The movie tells the story of the Panamanian brawler (played by Edgar Ramirez) who took the WBC welterweight title from Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, only to shock the world by walking back to his corner in the rematch five months later saying, "No more."

Duran -- who began his professional career at 16 -- fought on till he was 50.

"I'm excited to be coming back to Cannes especially with this movie that I'm so proud of," said De Niro earlier this month.

Producer Harvey Weinstein said: "'Hands of Stone' is vintage De Niro. Anyone wh‎o knows Bob, knows what a passion he has for boxing and his huge input into this movie made it very realistic and smart."

De Niro starred in two films which won Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or -- Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" in 1976 and "Mission" by the British director Roland Joffe 10 years later.

"Hands of Stone", directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, will be released internationally in August and September.