15-year-old NJ teen produced Robert De Niro’s ‘The War With Grandpa’

15-year-old NJ teen produced Robert De Niro’s ‘The War With Grandpa’

“The War With Grandpa” may star a who’s who of senior actors, but the person behind it is a teenage boy.

Tre Peart, 15, is the executive producer of Robert De Niro’s curmudgeonly comedy, released last Friday — making the teen from Marlboro, NJ, the second-youngest movie producer ever, after Marsai Martin, an executive producer of 2019’s “Big” remake, “Little,” which came out when she was 14.

“This has been seven years in the making. I grew up with this project,” said Peart, who worked on the set of the film in Atlanta and fulfilled his school obligations with private tutors alongside the movie’s child actors. “It’s really special. We are going to the theater to see this movie as a family and hopefully hear some laughs from the audience.”

The project has actually been in the works since Peart was 8. That’s when he read “The War With Grandpa,” by Robert Kimmel Smith, for a school assignment and loved it so much, he wanted to watch the movie version. But it didn’t exist. So he tapped his parents Rosa and Marvin, film producers whose credits include the animated movie “Escape From Planet Earth” and “Life on the Line” with John Travolta.

Tre Peart
Tre PeartTamara Beckwith

“I asked my Mom to read the book, and I said we should make it into a movie. She liked it, and she taught me how to write a pitch … It was a whole new world for me.” His dad, Marvin, read the resulting pitch the next morning on a flight to Los Angeles and agreed it would be a worthy project. With further research, they learned the book had sold a whopping 1.3 million copies, so they optioned it.

When it came to casting, Tre immediately suggested De Niro, an actor his parents frequently praised. “All of his movies were inappropriate for me at the time, but my parents were always talking about how great of an actor he was. So I was thinking, ‘Why not Robert De Niro?’ ”

Tre with his parents Marvin and Rosa Peart.
Tre with his parents Marvin and Rosa Peart.Tamara Beckwith

Both his parents thought he was aiming too high, but as Marvin said: “Turns out, the kid was onto something.” They were able to land the “GoodFellas” star.

“He is so great,” said Tre of De Niro. “On the first day of filming, I walked into my trailer and there was a letter and flowers from him. It said, ‘Congrats on your first movie and good luck to the youngest producer I ever worked with.’ That was so kind.”

Tre, who was 12 at the time, said he often took liberties and would pop into De Niro’s trailer. “I was young and didn’t really know what it meant to walk up to Robert De Niro’s trailer. I would just hang out and spend a few minutes in there,” he said. “He always had CNN on in the background.”

Cheech Marin, Robert De Niro, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken in "The War With Grandpa."
Cheech Marin, Robert De Niro, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken in “The War With Grandpa.”Courtesy Everett Collection

The teen said he’s still in touch with the “Raging Bull” actor, but that the famous friendship isn’t going to his head. He’s still hunting for more films to produce, and has a few things cooking right now.

“I can’t tell you specifically, but there are things regarding ‘The War With Grandpa’ franchise and future projects involving Mr. De Niro,” he said. “And there have been a few other books I have read and brought to my parents.”

When he’s not scoping out film projects, Tre loves video games and plays on his school’s football team. Come Sundays, the Seattle Seahawks fan is watching his favorite player, Russell Wilson.

Film producers Rosa and Marvin Peart have credits including the animated movie "Escape From Planet Earth" and "Life on the Line" with John Travolta.
Film producers Rosa and Marvin Peart have credits including the animated movie “Escape From Planet Earth” and “Life on the Line” with John Travolta.Tamara Beckwith

Sports broadcasting is one of his other passions. “I want to intern with all of the big sports channels when I am older,” he said. He is also developing a show about the sports TV world and has a podcast.

And he’s a diligent student of film, chipping away at a Google Doc list his mom made him of must-see movies. “I said, ‘If you want to do film, you have to watch the great ones,’ ” said Rosa. So far, some of his favorites include “The Breakfast Club,” “Black Panther” and one very famous mob franchise.

” ‘The Godfather Trilogy’ is my favorite. I was just given the greenlight to watch it. There is so much meaning behind every shot and line, and I loved every part of it.” And he insists it isn’t because of De Niro’s portrayal of Vito Corleone in the second movie.

“No, I am not biased at all,” he said with a laugh.

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