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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

In a Facebook post today, Sam Irvin tells a story about meeting Robert De Niro in 1970:
When BLOODY MAMA opened at my dad’s Plaza Theater in Asheville, NC, in March 1970, AIP sent a 26-year-old actor who played one of Shelley Winters’ sons in the movie. He drove a vintage 1930’s car like the one in the film. He parked the car out in front of the theater, right under the marquee, for photo ops with the local newspaper and TV station. He signed autographs but nobody knew who he was. At age 13, I said to him, “It’s so cool to have a real-live movie star at my dad’s theater.” He smiled sardonically and said, “I’m just an actor, kid. Shelley Winters is the star.” My father and I took him to lunch and I was riveted as he talked about working for director Roger Corman — whom I idolized for all his Vincent Price / Edgar Allan Poe movies. I wanted to ride off into the sunset with this guy but after lunch, he left me in the dust. Five years later, in 1975, this same guy won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in THE GODFATHER: PART II. His name was Robert De Niro.

Note that a month after that Drive-In experience, Hi, Mom! was released in theaters.

Posted by Geoff at 7:34 PM CDT
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Sunday, November 3, 2019
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/jillandal.jpgIn an article about Martin Scorsese's The Irishman at GMA News Online, Al Pacino is asked by Janet Susan R. Nepales about his relationship with Robert De Niro:
The names Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have been mentioned in the same sentence over the years to define a generation of actors. Can you talk about your relationship? He told us there are things that he can discuss with you but can’t discuss with other people because you are in a similar situation.

Really? (Laughs) No, I’m joking. Of course, I met him when he was a young man; we were in our mid-20’s. I met him on 14th Street — I was living on 14th Street between Avenue B and C at the time with my wonderful girlfriend, who was Jill Clayburgh, who’s passed on.

So we were very close, we were together many years and she knew Robert from Sarah Lawrence and they worked together in films with Brian De Palma. I met him on the street, and I was introduced to him. I’ll never forget it. I thought when I met him that he was an interesting guy.

I even said to her, who is this guy? Interesting guy. He exuded a sort of thing, I didn’t even understand it but I felt it. She said, oh he’s a great actor, I worked with him. Then I remember him. Something happened in the course of our lives that brought us together but probably was because we happened at the same time, unknown until I guess ’69, ’70, something like that.

Then our careers started paralleling and we were compared to each other, etc. There was a lot of stuff about all that. We would meet from time to time in the course of it. Probably it was a little different back then when you became famous, it was not something that was talked about much or readily accessible. We were caught off guard so to speak, that what happens to you when you get in that position. There’s a period of adjustment.

Bob and I would occasionally meet and we would talk about it, about what was happening to us. That gave us a bond that we’ve kept throughout. I feel toward Bob like a brother and I trust him. I have Bob to thank for getting this part. This was his idea. This whole project was. He got Marty and got me with Marty, who I had never worked with before. So that’s the kind of thing we have and the kind of person he is.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CST
Updated: Monday, November 4, 2019 12:06 AM CST
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Sunday, January 6, 2019

In an interview with The New Yorker's Michael Schulman, posted last week, Robert De Niro is asked about his shift into comedies:
The first decades of your career you mostly played dramatic roles. That seemed to change around the time that “Analyze This” and “Meet the Parents” came out. Was comedy something you were itching to do?

I mean, I’d done things that were—they’re not comedies, but “Greetings,” “Hi Mom!,” stuff like that. Quasi-comedy of a certain type, whatever the label would be. But, with “Analyze This,” Billy Crystal had this script and he wanted to get it to me, and so he got it to me. And I said, “O.K., let’s have a reading of it and let’s see.” Because I thought it would be kind of fun to do this if we got it right, and if we got the characters more real. Not doing caricatures but doing characters.

In a way, that character is a comic version of mob characters that you had been playing in dramas. Did you have a feeling that you wanted to play off your own image?

Yeah, I didn’t mind that. I thought it would be O.K.

The interview opens with Schulman asking about the pipe bomb that had been sent to De Niro's office in late October, one of several that had been "sent to high-profile Democrats and critics of the President," according to Schulman. This leads into discussion of Donald Trump, De Niro's recent recurring role on Saturday Night Live, and eventually touching on De Niro's experience as a young man in the late 1960s:

When did you find out about the bomb? Where were you?

I was in my house, working out. I got a call early in the morning that it was there in the office.

What went through your head?

There’s so many crazy people. The state of the country is so terrible now, with a person who has set such a bad example of bad behavior. I’m waiting for the bad dream to end. So what are you gonna do? What am I gonna do?

How much blame do you place on the President for something like that happening?

I think on a subconscious or subliminal level, and many other levels, it gives the O.K. to other people who are maybe more on the verge of thinking, or fantasizing, that he’s somehow given the O.K. to do that. I used to think, Well, maybe once he becomes President, he’ll maybe—he’s a New Yorker. Not that that means anything, in certain ways, but it does in others. I thought, Maybe he’ll come around. But then he’s been worse than I ever could think. ’Cause he has no plan. He has no center whatsoever. He even gives gangsters a bad name. ’Cause a gangster will give you his word and will pride himself—or herself. He doesn’t even understand that kind of logic. He thinks he’s slick and all that. There’s something wrong with him mentally.

It’s interesting that you compare him to a slick mobster guy—

Well, he thinks he’s a mobster. He’s a mutt. And I’ve said that before. I’ve said it publicly. And everything that he says about other people—that they’re losers, that they’re this and that, every terrible thing he says—he’s really saying about himself. I don’t know what his parents did, I don’t know how they treated him, whatever, but it’s all projection.

I imagine that a lot of people out there in the country who admire him are also people who’ve admired you over the years, even just demographically. Older white men tend to like President Trump. And I would think that they might see in him things they could have seen in Vito Corleone or Jake LaMotta, these guy-guys who don’t take any bullshit.

There’s a difference. He doesn’t represent—he likes to act like he does, I guess from that stupid show he did, that a lot of people bought and believed that he would act a certain way. And I remember seeing a documentary about these two writers who helped create the whole aura, the whole look, the office, the presentation, and everything. These two schlubby guys, two writers. They said, as I remember it, they said, “We created this thing.”

You mean the makers of “The Apprentice,” who created the character.

The character. And now he’s in reality and he’s got to make real decisions. I don’t know if I’m answering your question. You’re saying people who like me—yes, there is a similarity with my characters. But I’m an actor. Those are characters I play.

Have you seen any kind of backlash from your fans, people who are Trump supporters?

No. I can’t worry about that.

Did you ever interact with him personally over the years?

I met him once at a baseball game.

What happened?

I was there with a few of my kids. He came into the box that I was in, said hello, and we shook hands. I never wanted to meet him. Because I think everybody’s onto what he’s about. What amazes me is that people buy into it—people who have a responsibility to the country, not to him. They have gone along with this. And we all know who they are. Republicans who can go into the private sector and get a job making more money in a law firm or something. Instead, they opt to stay in this situation with a criminal and sell themselves. And everyone who’s involved with him has been tainted, and people will never forget it. The only one is Mattis, a little bit, and he stumbled the other day when he went down to the Mexican border and tried to give a Pancho Villa story. I felt bad, because I have great respect for him, and we all do.

And now he’s gone.

Yeah, I don’t blame him. It’s dangerous that he left. We’re in a crisis in this country. We have a fool running it, and, when a guy like Mattis finally has to go, we have a lot to be concerned about. I don’t see how we can go two more years with this guy.

I assume that the reason the person sent you a bomb was because of what you said at the Tony Awards, which was not what I expected to happen at the Tony Awards. Was that a decision you made beforehand or was it impromptu, to say, “Fuck Trump”?

It was impromptu. I feel that more people should speak out against him and not be genteel about it. At Tribeca, I said, “I’m tired of being nice about it.” They have ads on CNN about truth. “This is a banana, this is an apple,” or whatever they have. That’s what we’ve come to with all the “fake news” stuff.

How did your role as Robert Mueller on “Saturday Night Live” come about?

Actually, my wife, who—we’re [searches for the word and pulls his hands apart] separating now—but she had thought of it. I said, “What can I play on ‘S.N.L.’?” Because I love “S.N.L.” And she came up with Mueller. So I told Lorne Michaels. This is how I remember it—I could be wrong.

Is there a key to playing Mueller?

Mueller is the hope. Mueller is our hope. And he’s doing everything—he’s doing it perfectly.

But he’s not someone who’s seen in public very much these days. How did you decide to play him?

I didn’t. It’s a skit—the makeup and everything. They put jowls and prosthetics on, the chin, the nose, eyebrow.

Did you grow up in a political household?

Not really. Some but not much.

What was your experience of the antiwar movement, the politics of the late sixties, early seventies?

I felt that the war was not a just war. And, you know, it was a turbulent time in America, as I think it is now. It might even be worse now.

Did your parents have a particular kind of politics that they spoke to you about?

My mother was a little more leaning toward the left, in some ways, but never telling me much. My father was an artist. He was apolitical, pretty much.

Posted by Geoff at 2:50 PM CST
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