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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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Scarface: Make Way
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(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
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italkyoubored

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De Palma a la Mod
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Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Friday, September 25, 2015
KILDAY: 'BRIAN DE PALMA IS HAVING A MOMENT'
AND KENT JONES REVISITS DE PALMA'S WORK W/HIS SONS - "ALL ABSOLUTELY STUNNED"
The Hollywood Reporter's Gregg Kilday writes, "Brian De Palma is having a moment." Anticipating the upcoming screening of De Palma at the New York Film Festival, Kilday talked to NYFF director Kent Jones. "I remember the excitement I felt when I saw Dressed to Kill and Blow Out for the first time," Jones tells Kilday. "I went back to see both of them again a day later. During that time, there was a great debate about De Palma — he was hopelessly derivative of Hitchcock, he was a misogynist, he did sequences but not films, his stories didn't come together and so on. I fell into some of that punitive stuff myself."

Kilday writes that after watching De Palma, Jones was persuaded to revisit sevveral of De Palma's films. "My sons and I looked at them together, and we were all absolutely stunned," Jones said to Kilday. "He was and is a great filmmaker, end of story."


Posted by Geoff at 12:15 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 25, 2015 12:17 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015
NYFF VIDEO: BAUMBACH & PALTROW ON 'DE PALMA'
AND OTHER LINKS SURROUNDING THE P&I SCREENING FROM LAST WEEK

The video above comes from last week's press and industry screening of De Palma at the New York Film Festival. Amy Taubin was on hand to discuss the film on stage following the screening, telling the two filmmakers at the end that after watching their film, everyone on the NYFF selection committee would say that they wanted to go back and look at all of Brian De Palma's films now.

The second-to-last question from the audience is from a woman who worked on Carlito's Way. Here is the Q&A transcript from that exchange:

Publicist: Could you talk a little bit about Mr. De Palma as a teacher? I’d describe him as one of the most generous directors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I was a unit publicist for Carlito’s Way, and he didn’t say a word to me. But I never got kicked out of video village, anything I wanted to see I got to see, and it was the most amazing experience. I didn’t realize until watching this that… he’s a teacher. So could you talk a little bit about that?

Paltrow [nodding rigorously] : I really think that’s where the movie comes from. I think you sort of summed it up. That’s our experience of Brian, too, and that’s, exactly—not getting kicked out of video village… you know, virtually everybody would do that. I mean, that’s such a unique thing. And I bet you it’s not even conscious, he’s not distracted by that sort of thing. But that’s the core, I think, why we even made this in the first place.

Baumbach: Yeah, it’s interesting. I always knew about Home Movies, but in going through the timeline of his career, I guess I never quite thought, until we were doing the interviews and cutting the movie, is that he already had made Carrie and The Fury, and was now going to Sarah Lawrence and making this tiny movie with students and, you know, it’s so idiosyncratic. But as you know, Brian, as you point out, as you get to know him, it doesn’t actually seem out of line with the career—it actually seems very much in line with it. But it’s still… I don’t know any other filmmaker who’s done something like that.

MORE LINKS

Emily Buder, IndieWire

"'The Hollywood system destroys creativity,' Brian De Palma tells us in Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's documentary. That's not the first nor the last of the impassioned statements the director makes throughout the course of the film, which feels less like a retrospective and more like a cinephile confessional. 'It's in the same spirit as having coffee with him,' said Paltrow. That is, if you take your coffee blood red...

"Studio veteran influences aside, one of the most surprising revelations of De Palma is the extent of the director's stalwart low-budget conviction. 'What's the point of film school if kids don't learn how to create low-budget movies?' De Palma asks in the film. Clashes with studios, such as Columbia and Paramount, further highlight his commitment to his vision. But what stands out most is one of the most original films any low-budget guru has ever attempted... [In that last sentence, Buder is referring to Home Movies, as she then segues into the quotes from Baumbach talking about that film.]

"Throughout the film, De Palma speaks candidly of his confrontations with failure. Embedded within every film is a colony of mistakes, regrets and blunders De Palma is quick to detail. 'Your films are like a public record of things you didn't finish,' he says."

Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

"In De Palma, the filmmaker makes no attempt to hide Hitchcock’s influence — in fact, it opens with him describing the formative experience of seeing Vertigo at Radio City Music Hall, something he says he 'will never forget.' If anything, De Palma seems confused that more of his contemporaries weren’t influenced in the same way, situating themselves similarly as 'practitioners' of the vocabulary Hitch perfected.

"The two filmmakers now also share the experience of walking through their careers with younger directors who idolize them, and De Palma has both the scope and specificity of the essential text Hitchcock/Truffaut, covering the entire career (even the movies we don’t really talk about) while pausing for in-depth explanations of the reasoning behind certain iconic shots, or the aesthetics of trademark techniques."

Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye For Film

"On the way out of the theatre, I told both of them that I was not the greatest De Palma fan, that I actually despised Passion, and that their documentary made me reconsider and curious to go back and re-watch a number of his films (not Passion, though). 'That's a good reaction to have,' Baumbach responded. Paltrow, when I brought up the great sense of completion due to the fact that they discuss all of his movies, confirmed that for them that was also a very important factor."

Nick Newman, The Film Stage

"Being a great admirer of Brian De Palma, I found that no film from 2015 was as purely pleasurable as Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow‘s De Palma, a blow-by-blow examination of the director’s massive oeuvre. Its structure is simple — De Palma speaks candidly about his upbringing, early efforts, and subsequent successes (as well as failures); many clips and archival materials are interspersed — but the effect to which their resources are wrung evinces a great deal of attention and care. In Baumbach’s own words, 'This is the only movie, probably, I can safely say, that I’ll be involved with that I can just keep watching over and over again. I find it so interesting.'

"After screening their work for press and industry members at this year’s New York Film Festival, the pair engaged in an Amy Taubin-led Q & A featuring audience questions. It’s hit-and-miss, as these things tend to be — I’ll pat myself on the back a little too strongly by noting that my own question, the very last, is the only one that seems to impress and stump both of these De Palma experts — but good insights are gathered throughout. My favorite part? When Baumbach explains the unexpected influence by saying, 'In a way, Brian, for me, sort of existed as what movies were awaiting me as a I got older. And then, once you start seeing them, they kind of go into your head and they don’t come out. I carry so many of those images over. The way I remember them, when I revisit them, I’m always surprised at how different they might be than the way I remembered them.'”


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 24, 2015 12:22 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015
'SCREAM QUEENS' OPENS WITH 'CARRIE' JOKE
IN THE USUAL RYAN MURPHY FASHION
Ryan Murphy directed the first hour of tonight's two-hour Scream Queens premiere on FOX. The premiere opens with a scene set in 1995, at a sorority house party. The first shot is a close-up on a girl's blood-soaked hands, the right one quivering. She holds them palms-up as she walks through a party crowd to her sorority sisters. When the head sister sees her, she says, "Did you just get your period all over yourself?" [Small SPOILER ALERT]..... It turns out that the blood belongs to a pledge who has just given birth in a bathtub upstairs. The kicker (and this is so very 1995) is that the girl didn't have any idea she had even been pregnant.

Scream Queens is a much jokier affair than Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story, although it is cut from much the same tonal fabric, with a heavy syrup of Glee. (Falchuk, who directed tonight's second hour, co-created Glee as well as Scream Queens with Murphy and Ian Brennan.) Aside from Carrie, the premiere episode reminds of Heathers, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Halloween (via star Jamie Lee Curtis), Psycho, Friday The 13th, and Tim Burton's Batman. There's also an outrageous murder conducted via text messages and Facebook posts that you can't help but give in to-- I was laughing out loud, all the way to the final gasp of an implausible but uproarious punchline.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:10 AM CDT
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Monday, September 21, 2015
'THE FURY' HELPED WHEDON NAVIGATE GENRE
FILM PROFESSOR & MENTOR SUGGESTED DE PALMA'S FILM WHILE WRITING SCRIPT FOR 'SERENITY'
Digital Spy's Emma Dibdin posted an article yesterday to mark thirteen years since the first episode of Josh Whedon's Firefly aired on FOX. One of the "11 things you may not know about" Firefly listed by Dibdin is this:
4. Whedon had trouble writing the script for movie sequel Serenity because of the wildly different genres its leading characters, Mal and River, represented.
"Mal is a Western fellow and River is kind of Noir, so how do I reconcile them?" His mentor, film professor Jeanine Basinger, helped him steer through the block with genre-blurring movies like Brian De Palma's The Fury and Nicholas Ray's classic Western Johnny Guitar.

Posted by Geoff at 3:27 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 20, 2015
SUNDAY TWEET - TIFF 2015
AND KIRKLAND PICKS THE MOST FASCINATING FILMS THAT CLOSED THE TORONTO FILM FEST


Bruce Kirkland, excerpt from The Toronto Sun
"The most fascinating films that closed the festival
"

In honour of TIFF’s 40th anniversary, we look back with wonder, and sometimes frustration, with some of the films that were Closing Night Galas. But first some thoughts on festival dynamics. All film events suffer from ‘End of Festival Malaise’. Many entertainment media have already abandoned TIFF this year, as always. That is exactly what happens in other cities including Cannes, the Grand Pere of filmfests.

Because of this phenomenon, producers, filmmakers and distributors want their prestige pictures to play in Toronto on the opening weekend. More impact, more media hoopla, better chances of coming out of TIFF with new sales or bigger box office or even an Oscar campaign underway.

“You’re right,” TIFF director Piers Handling says. “Every festival is front-loaded. It’s very difficult not to do that. There is too much pressure, because everyone feels that the press is here for the first week of the festival and they tend to kind of go after the Wednesday. But it still is a public festival — and obviously there is a large Toronto public that continues to go to the films. There are Galas and special events involving major names at the end, including our Closing Night Gala. But it does appear somewhat to be an irreversible trend.”

Handling says that TIFF is handling the situation “as best we can,” including offering a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic Vertigo on Sunday, 3:00 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. “It will be extraordinary — with the Bernard Herrmann score played live by the TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) in RTH!”

As for TIFF’s Closing Night Galas, the first Festival of Festivals in 1976 showcased the Soviet film, Queen of the Gypsies (also known as Gypsies are Found in Heaven). Since then, some other fascinating films have taken the slot:

Divine Madness (1980): My first official Toronto Sun interview was Bette Midler for Michael Ritchie’s wildly entertaining musical and comedy doc. Great interview, great doc, great way to end TIFF 1980!
Threshold (1981): Richard Pearce’s medical drama, starring Donald Sutherland as a heart surgeon who pioneers artificial heart transplants, has never been given the accolades it deserves.
Children of a Lesser God (1986): With William Hurt and Marlee Matlin co-starring in Randa Haines’ romantic drama, Mark Medoff’s stage play became a worthy film about a deaf woman intersecting with a speech therapist.
Twist (1992): Celebrated Toronto documentarian Ron Mann still deserves a shout-out for his post-WWII popular dance doc. It focuses on the Twist — and what ‘60s youth can forget Chubby Checker?
Rudy (1993): David Anspaugh’s biopic about the runt of the litter who finally realizes his dream to play a few seconds of U.S. college football is a favourite of sports fans. But most forget it launched at the Toronto filmfest.
That Thing You Do! (1996): Tom Hanks made his feature directorial debut with this hep-cat rock ‘n’ roll drama. It got Toronto dancing in the aisles with Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Steve Zahn and Hanks in the ensemble.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997): I teased my filmmaking friend Jean-Jacques Annaud for casting Brad Pitt in the lead role, but this political film about an Austrian’s unlikely friendship with the young Dalai Lama is still visually striking.
Femme Fatale (2002): Brian De Palma, a festival habitue, delighted in screening his lurid crime drama at TIFF. Rebecca Romijn co-starred with Antonio Banderas.
Amazing Grace (2006): Based on reality, Michael Apted’s heart-felt film chronicles the desperate battle to take Britain out of the brutal slave trade late in the 1700s. The hymn’s guilt-ridden, anti-slavery origins story is told here.
Stone of Destiny (2008): Actor-filmmaker Charles Martin Smith delighted in telling this true-life tale about Scottish rogues who steal back the legendary Stone of Scone in the 1950s. But it missed its mark at the box office.
The Young Victoria (2008): Jean-Mac Vallee’s masterful Demolition opened this year’s TIFF. His first English-language success — a biopic of the young Queen Victoria with Emily Blunt — propelled his career into the mainstream.


Posted by Geoff at 7:46 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 20, 2015 7:49 PM CDT
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Friday, September 18, 2015
CARLOTTA WOWS W/'BODY DOUBLE' PACKAGE
LIMITED 'ULTRA COLLECTOR' EDITION: BLU-RAY, 2 DVDS, 200-PAGE BOOK w/UNRELEASED PHOTOS


Carlotta Films out of France shocked in the best way possible this morning when the company announced on its Facebook page that it will be releasing a limited "Ultra Collector" edition of Brian De Palma's Body Double on December 2, 2015. Limited to 3000 copies, the three-disc set will include a "new restoration" of the film, plus supplements, on Blu-ray/DVD, as well as a 200-page book featuring new and archived literature about the film, as well as previously unreleased photos.

Body Double will be the very first release in Carlotta's "Ultra Collector" series, of which it plans four titles per year.


Posted by Geoff at 11:49 AM CDT
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NYFF PRESS & INDUSTRY SCREENING OF 'DE PALMA'
HAPPENED YESTERDAY (THURSDAY 9/17), AMY TAUBIN ON STAGE W/PALTROW & BAUMBACH AFTERWARD



CHRIS KNIPP REVIEW: THE KIND OF FILM ONE SHOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER ON DVD
Here's an excerpt from Chris Knipp's review of De Palma:

"As De Palma talks, apparently in a single long interview, Baumbach and Paltrow, who claim a decade-long friendship with him, edit in clips to illustrate the movies and their influences. De Palma is very specific and not very theoretical, but makes several key general remarks along the way. The rest we have to deduce by ourselves. First he says he doesn't work from character as they (Baumbach and Paltrow) do, but starts with 'structure' and lets the film develop from there. He also says that everybody remarks on the genius of Hitchcock, but he is the only director to follow Hitchcock's methods extensively...

"The one long interview that seems to provide the material for this film includes De Palma's description of his dysfunctional family, his Quaker education, his undergraduate studies at Columbia and graduate work at Sarah Lawrence, and his various marriages and divorces, but personal details are firmly subordinated to the 28-film oeuvre, but he does describe his early and in some cases long-term relationships with major film figures who were contemporaries: Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese, De Niro. Baumbach and Paltrow's illustrative material is invaluable. Clips showing long tracking shots (Pacino, Nick Cage), of chases and shootouts, help give just a glimpse of De Palma's technical gift for storytelling with motion.

"The chronological approach means De Palma can describe developments in the film industry, his role in the New Hollywood when briefly directors could be independent and creative in a studio setting, followed by the takeover of the bottom-line obsessed aesthetically challenged producers of the Eighties and onward. As he comes to the end of his of a nearly fifty-year career, De Palma says a director's best work is usually done in his twenties and thirties and forties, and suggests that he may not be up to the physical demands of the job now as he nears seventy: so he takes us from the beginning to the end. He may not be the most profound or uplifting filmmaker, but he must be one of the frankest, humblest, and clearest. This is a highly informative film about De Palma's work; it's actually the kind of film one should have on DVD and watch over and over to focus on and cull out elements."


Posted by Geoff at 2:00 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 17, 2015
AMAZING INTERVIEW FROM VENICE, @ THE PLAYLIST
MORE LIKE A LONG CONVERSATION, ABOUT 'DE PALMA', THAT YOU SHOULD READ RIGHT NOW
What else can I say-- this interview in which The Playlist's Jessica Kiang talks to Jake Paltrow, Noah Baumbach, and, by the way, "Would you mind awfully if Brian De Palma was also present at your interview?"-- at the recent Venice Film Festival, is something you need to go read right now. Here's a small excerpt:
In the film, several times you mention your theory that it's only when directors are in their thirties, forties and fifties that they make their most interesting films...[Here De Palma's partner, who is sitting in on the interview and has obviously had words with him before about this act of gentle self-sabotage sighs "How many times did you have to say that?" and De Palma lets out a gust of laughter in response]
BDP: I'm sorry! What can I say? I'm a student of directors, and I noticed that.
Yeah, and the Hitchcock example you give in the film is perfect.
BDP: Exactly. "Torn Curtain" is not really the greatest picture. And let's not forget "The Birds" with that model stumbling about.
So what does that mean for your future directing career?
BDP: I'm finished. I'm done.
[Widespread protest. Expressions of disbelief.]
BDP: Anything else is just for kicks.
You can't be.
JP: You have like three things on!
NB: Oh dear. It was this interview that did it. The final ending.
JP: Oh come on, when are we gonna see your "Trouble with Harry," Brian?
BDP: [relenting a bit] Oh, I don't know. I always have ideas, and being on the independent film making stage, we try get them together. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But yes, I'd like to keep working, because the brain keeps clicking. I guess I'll keep doing it until in the immortal word of William Wyler, "You can't walk anymore."
Pshaw, you can still be wheeled on.
NB: Thing is, you get to prove yourself wrong now. So with your next movie, all the critics will say, "Brian proves himself wrong, makes his best picture."
JP: All shot in your apartment from your La-Z-Boy
BDP: Maybe. If it was shot in the apartment.
JP: That would bring its own aesthetic.
Honestly, I feel like if you'd had a Kickstarter up at the end of the screening last night the audience would've have put their hands in their pockets and you'd probably have got instantly financed.
NB: So maybe now's the time to strike!
BDP: I'm open to offers….
You must have some passion projects somewhere in a drawer.
BDP: Oh, there's always passion projects...
[At this point I'm given the one-last-question signal, but De Palma kindly insists the PR gives us a little more time]

Posted by Geoff at 7:43 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2015 11:16 AM CDT
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TOM WOLFE TO SPEAK AT 'BONFIRE' SCREENING
25 YEARS ON, AUTHOR TO REFLECT ON THE NOVEL & FILM AT 92Y IN NYC, OCT. 27
Thanks to Hugh for letting us know that Tom Wolfe will speak following a screening of The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Brian De Palma's film adaptation of Wolfe's most famous novel. The event will take place at 7pm October 27th, at 92nd Street Y in New York City. The screening is part of the 10th Annual Forum on Law, Culture & Society Film Festival, which presents "films that illuminate the moral dilemmas and dramatic moments of the legal system."

The 92Y web page offers this description of the event: "This comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith and Bruce Willis explores the mix of ambition, racism, politics and greed in 1980s New York, when being a Master of the Universe defined the very meaning of Wall Street excess and entitlement. Twenty-five years on, Tom Wolfe reflects on the novel and film, and United States Attorney Preet Bharata offers his view on its continued relevance."

In addition to Wolfe and Bharata, novelist and law professor Thane Rosenbaum will also be on hand for the post-film discussion.


Posted by Geoff at 12:04 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2015 11:14 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
DE NIRO'S BEEN TALKING 'THE WEDDING PARTY'
"MY CAREER HAS JUST HAPPENED THE WAY IT DID"
Robert De Niro has been out promoting his new film, a Nancy Meyers comedy called The Intern. More Content Now's Ed Symkus has a nice little interview with De Niro in which he touches on his earliest film memories, his films with Brian De Palma, and De Niro's work as a director. Here's an excerpt:
Q: Can you recall any early memories at a movie theater that made you say I want to be an actor?

A: I don’t remember specifically. I saw the usual things; in those days there were a lot of Westerns, and there were the classic double bill features at the Loews Theater, movies with Spencer Tracy or Marlon Brando or Tony Curtis. One departure I remember was “Suddenly Last Summer” with Elizabeth [Taylor]. I also liked going to the movies because it was air conditioned when it was so stiflingly hot (laughs). I started studying acting when I was 10, going to acting school on Saturdays. I don’t know what actually kicked off my wanting to do it at that time. I forget. But when I was in my teens, I started up again.

Q: I first saw you in “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!” so I was introduced to you as an offbeat comic actor. Has there ever been a plan of making a comedy then a serious one then a comedy?

A: No, you do what comes along, then find a way to rationalize why you want to do it or justify it. So my career has just happened the way it did. I guess I’m still a work in progress. I actually first worked for Brian De Palma on “The Wedding Party” when I was 19. I played one of the groomsmen. I think the only other person you would know in it is Jill Clayburgh.

Q: You’ve directed two films: “A Bronx Tale” in 1993 and “The Good Shepherd” in 2006. Any plans for another?

A: I don’t know. I want to do a sequel to “The Good Shepherd,” but I never planned on directing more than five movies in my life, so if I do another one ... well, it’s possible, but it would have to be really special.


"I WAS LOOKING AT THE CONTRACT AND IT SAID 50 DOLLARS"
A couple of weeks ago, The Mirror's Gerard Couzens reported that, in an interview with an unnamed Argentinian magazine, De Niro talked about picking up the check for that first role in De Palma's The Wedding Party: "When I went to pick up my check I was with my mom because I was under-age and she had to sign the contract for me. I was looking at the contract and it said 50 dollars. I thought it was 50 dollars a week but she explained that it was 50 dollars for the whole thing."

Posted by Geoff at 10:43 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 10:45 PM CDT
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