He played in more than a hundred films, twice won the most important film award for an actor – an Oscar. He is known as the most iconic actor of his generation and the best actor since the legendary Marlon Brando. It’s hard to imagine 1970s American cinema without his breakout roles in films such as Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978) and Raging Bull (1980). For his roles in “Father” and “Raging Bull” he received the most important award in the American film industry – the Oscar, nominations for “Taxi Driver” and “Hunter”. In the 1970s, often referred to as the best years in American cinema, a movie with De Niro in the cast was a guaranteed success.
Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943, in New York City. He was raised in an artistic family. His father, Robert Henry De Niro, was a painter appreciated by New York society and later a somewhat forgotten representative of the New York School of the postwar period. His mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter and poet who turned writing into a successful business. It was she who watched her son’s artistic development, making sure that he was in contact with theater and literature. Although little Robert’s parents were divorced and his father lived apart, he got on very well with him. Thanks to his father, he learned perseverance in work and the ability to be self-critical. His 1993 movie “The Bronx Law” was dedicated to him. The strong personalities of his parents and who grew up in the New York area called “Little Italy”, where he joined a street gang, earned the nickname “Bobby Milk” (he drank a lot of milk), the somewhat defining personality formed a movie star later on.
He made his debut at the age of ten. It was in the school play The Wizard of Oz. Years later, he admitted that in this way he fights his pathological shyness. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school and devoted himself to acting. By Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.
The film debut on the big screen took place in 1963 with the film “The Wedding”, although the premiere of the film took place six years later. He then starred in the short drama The Meeting (1965) and the French comedy-drama Three Rooms in Manhattan (1965). However, he became most famous for his role as a dying baseball player in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). A year later, Robert De Niro’s popularity exploded thanks to the role of Francis Ford Coppola in the sequel to The Godfather (1974). He won his first Oscar for this performance. An interesting fact is that along with Marlon Brando, who played the role of Vito in the first part of the trilogy, they are the only actors in history who received an Oscar for playing the same character. Today, many critics recognize De Niro as the greatest actor since Brando.
These two giants of cinema are connected not only by their place in the history of world cinema, but also by the method of Konstanty Stanislavsky – a system of acting based on the psychological realism of a character, in which the actor fully engages his body in his acting. . While Brando developed his own style based on this method, De Niro developed the style aggressively. He is the actor who was the first to radically use Stanislavsky’s method to transform his body. – said Lukas Adamski. “There would be no De Niro without Marlon Brando, but he never moved his body, he was always more Marlon Brando, and De Niro went further, sometimes making us forget that we admire Robert De Niro on screen,” he explained.
It was said in the film community that De Niro’s attention to detail “drives other directors and actors crazy” and that she is “obsessed”. Interestingly enough, he was rarely prepared to reach the pinnacle of his abilities right away. More often than not, he needed more doubles. He had to first feel the atmosphere of the situation, absorb all the psychological and physical nuances, and feel the energy of the other actors.
It is worth adding here that he gained 27 kg for his role in “Raging Bull”. Until “New York, New York” (1977), he learned to play the saxophone. For the purposes of “Taxi Driver”, in order to better understand his personality, he obtained a license and worked many hours as a taxi driver. He gritted his teeth for a role in Cape Fear (1991), and to make himself believable as the young Vito Corleone, he spent four months in Sicily practicing the local dialect. In Sicily he read a biography of boxer Jake LaMotta, then passed it on to Martin Scorsese, which resulted in “Raging Bull” a few years later.
So it should come as no surprise that while preparing for his role in “The Deer Hunter” (1978), he spent time in the company of steel workers who didn’t notice that the famous actor was working with them and simply referred to him as “Bob.”
The actor is also known for his rather specific contacts with journalists. It is difficult to persuade him to give an interview, and once he succeeds, there is no reason to count on his abundance. “He has become a true icon of New York, both on screen and in real life. Icon is the right word for a man of such an enigmatic disposition. Indeed, ever since journalists began interviewing him, he has acted like a shy wild animal. (…) And, perhaps, he himself – a man of extraordinary emotional resilience, who learned to be restrained, reserved and prudent almost from an early age ”- cf. American Film Expert.
“His power comes from what he doesn’t say.” – rated his girlfriend, actress Meryl Streep.
In 1973, De Niro began working with Martin Scorsese, whom he had known since his youth – they grew up in the same neighborhood, had mutual friends. Under his direct direction, he would later play most of his best roles, beginning with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull, The King of Comedy (1983), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear, and Casino” (1995). Of particular note is “Taxi Driver”, in which the catchphrase “You talkin’ to me?” (“Are you talking to me?”), improvised by the actor, demonstrating his technical prowess and excellent sense of the situation.
In the 1980s, De Niro starred in such films as Once Upon a Time in America (1984), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Make It Before Midnight (1988), and Wake Up (1988). 1990), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1993, he directed The Bronx Law, which, although appreciated by critics, did not bring the expected financial success. Later, he began to choose roles differently, performing in a slightly lighter repertoire. In 2012, he received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Silver Linings Playbook. At the time, many accused him of diverting his talent to frivolous things. The actor himself claimed that he no longer had to prove anything. In 2019, he returned to work with Scorsese, which resulted in “The Irishman”. A movie that reminds us of De Niro’s best acting years.
Robert De Niro is also a film producer and entrepreneur. Hotel and restaurant chain “Nobu”, one of which is located in Warsaw at ul. Wilcoza.
Source: niezalezna.pl, pap
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