"You talkin' to me, Rupert?" Famously press-phobic actor Robert De Niro is pairing with media baron Rupert Murdoch to open a Sydney branch of sushi mecca Nobu. "Rupert and his son Lachlan came into Nobu and we had a meeting over drinks," says Nobu partner Richie Notar. "We've looked at some properties. If all goes well, we'll do a Sydney Nobu with the Murdochs."
The pairing makes for the weirdest of buddy movies. "He's a left-leaning man who despises tabloid journalism," marvels a friend of the actor. But Murdoch is only the latest of De Niro's co-stars. In Miami, De Niro and Notar are engaged in a game of Monopoly, opening a Nobu branch in the Shore Club hotel, owned by Ian Schrager rival Phil Pilevsky. Schrager, whose Delano Hotel happens to be next door, has nevertheless been in talks with De Niro about an art center in NoHo's upcoming Astor Place Hotel. In the eighties, Notar was chauffeuring Schrager to Studio 54, but he says the Miami venture was business as usual. "We didn't do it because we were taking sides," says Notar. "It was a great deal, and we still hope to do something with Ian."
De Niro may have forgotten Murdoch's pan of his film Night and the City: a "useless picture" with "no redeeming qualities." Notar has higher hopes for the project. "Maybe this is a good move," he says. "Murdoch probably wouldn't write anything bad about one of his partners."
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