10 Fascinating Robert De Niro Facts You Don’t Know
Robert De Niro is one of the greatest living actors in the movies. In celebration of his remarkable talent, we’re offering 10 interesting facts you don’t know about the actor.
1. Robert De Niro: The Actor
Robert De Niro is living proof that anyone can achieve their dreams. The New Yorker didn’t always know he wanted to be in the movies. In fact, he didn’t know he wanted to act until he walked out the cinema at the age of seventeen and declared to his friends he was going to be a film actor. No-one believed him – until he dropped out of his senior year of high school and joined Stella Adler’s acting school. The rest is movie history.
2. Robert De Niro & Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese go hand-in-hand when it comes to movies. What many people don’t realise is that the director and actor both grew up in the Greenwich village area of Manhattan, New York, just blocks apart. However, they did know each other when they were young. It was only in 1972, when introduced to each other at a house party, did the two realise they had seen each other multiple times but had never spoken.
3. Prostitution Ring
Back in 2008, Robert De Niro vowed “I will never return to France. I will advise my friends against going to France.” Why? Because the Oscar winning actor somehow become caught up in a Paris prostitution investigation. He was publicly named in the investigation but denied any involvement in the prostitution ring, and was so furious at the implication that he told the nation to take back their Legion of Honour, which he was awarded in 1997.
According to BBC News, the actor was “pounced on by several policemen when he came to Paris to shoot a film. They hauled him in for nine hours of questioning in front of a French prosecutor.”
The reason for hauling in the actor? Because his name was allegedly mentioned by one of the supposed call girls. Robert De Niro passionately denied paying for sex, and stated that even if he did that it wouldn’t have been a crime. He later filed a complaint.
4. Restaurant Owner
Ever heard of Nobu? Dined at the TriBeCa Grill? Enjoyed a meal at Rubicon? Booked a table at Ago? Well, they’re all owned or co-owned by Robert De Niro. In fact, you should take a look at the artwork at Rubicon restaurant, as they belong to his father, Robert De Niro, Snr, who was an expressionist painter.
5. Max Cady
One of De Niro’s notable performances is as Max Cady in Cape Fear (1991). To play the role as authentically as possible, Robert De Niro paid his dentist $5,000 to make his teeth appear as bad as he possibly could. Once the movie was complete, he paid another $20,000 to have his teeth restored.
6. Method Actor
Robert De Niro, like all great actor, is famous for method acting. He is known for employing whatever tactic he feels appropriate to get into the psyche of his character, which will ensure he can offer the best performance possible.
During the production of The King of Comedy, De Niro would make anti-Semitic remarks at his co-star Jerry Lewis, which he done to provide an authentic level of anger at his character. Lewis once stated: “I forgot the cameras were there… I was going for Bobby’s throat.”
Other method acting performances included his weight gain for his role as Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987), his job as a cab driver for two weeks prior to Taxi Driver (1976) and his move to Sicily before filming The Godfather: Part II (1974). Not forgetting how he ground his teeth for Cape Fear.
7. Bobby Milk
As a child, Robert De Niro was often referred to by kids in the neighbourhood as “Bobby Milk”, because he was as pale as milk and quite thin.
8. Turned Down Roles
Robert De Niro has turned down numerous roles in very successful films over the years. He rejected the role of Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in Gangs of New York (2002), and so the role went to Daniel Day Lewis. He was also asked to play Frank Costello in The Departed (2006) to direct The Good Shepherd. He was also considered to play the role of Harry in Home Alone (1990), but the role was given to his co-star and good friend Joe Pesci.
9. You Talkin’’ to Me?
One of the most famous lines in movie history has to be: You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Oh yeah? OK.”
Well, you might be surprised to learn that Robert De Niro actually improvised the whole quote in Taxi Driver. The original script simply called for Travis to look into the mirror.
10. Favourite Actor to Work With
Robert De Niro has worked with many fantastic actors and actresses over the years. But who was his favourite? Marlon Brando? Joe Pesci? Ray Liotta? Nope, none of them. His favourite person to work with is Meryl Streep, who he has starred in multiple films with, including The Deer Hunter (1978), Marvin’s Room (1996) and Falling in Love (1984).
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