I recently finished reading a great book about the career of top movie actor Robert De Niro.
Man what a career! And what a disciplined guy. His work ethic and approach has really inspired me in other areas of my life, since I myself am not an actor.
He would always say that “You have to earn the right to Play a Role” or something to that effect. For a role such as his Oscar Winning performance in ‘Raging Bull’
that meant not only working closely with the real life middle weight champion Jake Lamotta but also becoming a boxer himself. He became very good, winning most of his fights. Lamotta claimed he would have been among the top
20 middleweights if he had become a professional. He became so good that he was dangerous, breaking Joe Pesci’s ribs
during the filming despite Joe wearing a thick vest. One funny thing happened involving director Martin Scorsese, who could not stand blood. De Nero, when training during real fights,
yelled at Scorsese as he was leaving “where are you going? Stay here! I am doing this for you, you know!”. He apparently wqas forced to watch the carnage.
My personal favorite Robert De Nero films include ‘Heat’ in which he plays an ace thief. Co-stars include Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Diane Venora and Ton Loc, among several others.
I also liked him as Al Capone in the classic 1987 thriller ‘The Untouchables’ which co-starred Andy Garcia, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Marcia Gay-Harden. Directed by Brian De Palma.
I also thought ‘Were No Angels’ was cool. This 1989 film co-starred Sean Pean, Demi Moore and John C. Reilly. Him and Penn play escaped convicts on the run, posing as catholic priests.
I liked ‘Cape Fear’. he played criminal Max Cady in a tour-de force performance. According to the book his preperation for this role was incredible. he was nominated for best actor for it in 1991.
Co-stars include Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck.
He was also nominated for best actor for the 1990 flick ‘The Awakenings’ which co-starred Robin Williams,
the 1978 Vietnam War flick ‘The Deer Hunter’ which co-starred Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken, and he won an oscar for best supporting actor
for his brilliant work in the 1974 blockbuster ‘The Godfather part 2’
He also got major kudos for his work opposite Jeremy Irons in ‘The Mission’, Terry Gilliams science fiction film ‘Brazil’,
and ‘Casino’ opposite Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. Of and Goodfellas and ‘Mean Streets’ as well, both directed by Martin Scorsese.
Robert De Niro has also directed 2 films: ‘A Bronx Tale’ and the recent Matt Damon & Angelina Jolie thriller ‘The Good Shepard’