Today we celebrate Robert De Niro, who I personally consider a sort of initiator of myself in the cinematography world as I grew up with his movies, as many of us Romanians did. So many characters and worlds he has created for us to see, hear and feel. He started acting in 1965, and since he starred in over 100 movies. He won 48 awards out of which he got 2 Oscars for his roles in The Godfather and Raging Bull. I don’t remember watching a bad Robert De Niro movie, so I was really delighted with the fact that he has 6 upcoming premieres announced in the next two years, out of which a movie with Anne Hathaway and a sequel to the Silver Linings Playbook, for the which he got nominated at the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
In the transcript I enjoyed doing you will find out about Mr. De Niro’s connection to painting, theater and documentary movies. There are two excerpts taken from two different taped interviews one is with Charlie Rose and the other was aired on The Wall Street Journal.
You’ve done some comedy recently. Do you want to do more of that?
I enjoy it, yeah. I like things that have comedy and drama and that show the irony of the situation. You can have a very dramatic situation going on but there is humor and irony in it.
I read that you made the documentary about your father who was a painter for your children.
I wanted to make a documentary about my father so that my grand-kids, his great-grand-kids would know who he was, what he was about. And I kept his studio just about the way it was when he passed away about 20 years ago. I wanted the kids to see it when they got older and appreciate what their grand-father did.
How did the documentary help you?
I always felt that for me it was my responsibility to preserve my father’s legacy. So I wanted to do a documentary about it. Then HBO took it and I was happy about that. Basically it was for the family. I did not know how long it would be, if it was an hour or two hours. I said that I just wanted to have some footage that I bought from someone who followed my father around in the 70s. We use it in the film, not that much, but we do use it, so we were lucky to have that, because it does help in areas with it. I wanted to do the documentary before it got too late. Some of his contemporaries are still with us. They are very much alive and well and I wanted to make sure that they would be able to get interviewed.
If they got to see it, what did they think?
I don’t know if the participants have seen it yet. We’re gonna have a family screening.
He appreciated me as a son just getting him on a plane. As time went on I know that he was proud of what happened with me. As I got older I took my kids to the openings of his shows. It turned into a tradition.
Why did you choose to do a documentary now?
It was just a matter of when we will start, so Jane Rosenthal said let’s do it now. I said right let’s do it know.
When you look back on all the things that you have done what’s given you the most satisfaction?
The movie projects that I worked on as an actor, as a director. I have so many things to be thankful for, the Tribeca Film Festival, my kids.
Is there any top where you haven’t been too?
I have a bunch of projects that I’m very enthusiastic about all of them. We’re just trying to get them lined up.
Al Pacino goes back to the theater. Do you ever want to go back to the theater?
I was thinking about it lately, because I’ve seen in plays many friends of mine. I’ve thought about it and I don’t know what at this point, because it is a commitment of time, but I’m looking for stuff.
Did you inherit any of your father painting instincts?
No. I was never interested in art. Not that much. That was his thing since he was five. I wish I was more interested in that. I tell my kids now. They don’t care about my stuff. I take them to movies, to festivals. I wish I had done certain things with my parents. I regret it now. I’m just trying to make them aware of that. So think twice before you say you don’t want to do it.
Is easier to build a hotel than making a good movie?
They are all hard. Nothing is easy. It sounds easy. You think is easy. People are enthusiastic about doing it, but when it actually comes up to doing it that is not so easy.
When young actors come to you looking for an advice, what do you tell them?
I tell them to keep at it and not be discouraged. If you’re going for readings you always have to try your best and just follow your instincts, so you can be easy and free as supposed if you’re not gonna get it, so you have a more devil may care attitude, I think that helps a lot.
You still have a devil may care attitude?