40 facts about the GOAT Robert De Niro

The actor celebrates this August 17, 2022 his 79th anniversary…

1. Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. is more of Irish descent than Italian : three of his grandparents are from Ireland, against only one from Italy.

2. Robert De Niro, however, has Italian citizenship since 2004when the government granted him honorary citizenship.

3. Robert De Niro was born into a family of artists. Her father Robert Sr. was a famous expressionist painter, while her mother Virginia painted and wrote novels.

4. His parents divorced when he was just two years old. after his father became aware of his homosexuality.

5. He performed comedy for the very first time at age 10. At an end-of-year party in primary school, he played one of the characters from the Wizard of Oz.

6. As a teenager, Robert De Niro a time part of a gang of Italians from the Lower East Side. He was then nicknamed by his companions ‘Bobby Milk’ because of the pallor of his complexion.

7. He left high school the year he turned 16 to become an actor. He learned the trade alongside the famous drama teacher Lee Strasberg, an apostle of the Actors Sudio (a method based on a very detailed psychological research of the characters in order to become one with them).

8. His very first role on the big screen was in The Wedding Party, the very first film by Brian De Palma. Filmed from 1963 to 1966, it was not released in American theaters until 1969.

9. Robert De Niro auditioned for The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola. Interested in the role of older brother Sonny Corleone, however, he was not chosen – watch his test video.

10. Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando were, for 45 years, the only two actors to have each won an Oscar for playing the same characterVito Corleone.

Brando was awarded in 1973 for The Godfather IDe Niro in 1975 for The Godfather II.

In 2020, Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger joined the club after Phoenix won the statuette for portraying Todd Philipps’ joker (2019), eleven years after Ledger’s posthumous Oscar for The Dark Knight (2009).

11. In The Godfather II, Robert De Niro pronounces in all and for all only 17 little words in English. All the rest of his dialogues are in Sicilian./are in Sicilian

Only six actors in movie history have won an Oscar for a non-English speaking role. Among them, only De Niro and Benicio Del Toro are Americans. Note however that the task was easier for Del Toro, he who in Traffic (2001) spoke primarily Spanish, her mother tongue.

12. To prepare for the role of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro has passed his taxi driver’s license. He then got hired as a part-time driver and spent several weeks roaming the streets of New York.

13. The famous replica ” You’re talking to me ? » (“Are you talkin’ to me?” ») that Travis Bickle pronounces alone in front of his ice cream was improvised.

Basically, it was written in the script only “Travis looks in the mirror”.

14. Travis’ crest is inspired by his past as a Vietnam veteran.

It happened that the soldiers of the commando operations shaved their heads before leaving on a mission in order to mentally prepare themselves to shed blood. Other soldiers were then advised to avoid them during this period.

15. Contrary to his will, Robert De Niro couldn’t shave his head. Taxi Driver not having been shot in chronological order, he had to wear hair prostheses.

16. Robert De Niro saved Martin Scorsese’s life.

Depressed by the critical and commercial failure of New York, New York and addicted to cocaine, the director finds himself in the late 70s nailed to a hospital bed.

It was then that he received a visit from De Niro who asked him outright “whether he wants to live or die? » and who, without waiting for his response, hands him the script for raging bull (a biopic of boxer Jake LaMotta), and said to him: “If you want to live, let’s make this movie together. »

17. To step into the shoes of Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro learned boxing for a year under the supervision of the real Jake LaMotta.

The two men thus regularly put the gloves together. De Niro went so far as to participate in three amateur fights in a Brooklyn club (2 wins, 1 loss).

18. To reproduce the relationship between brothers Jake and Joey LaMotta as closely as possible on screen, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci lived with a roommate for several weeks.

19. Inhabited by the role, During a sparring scene with Joe Pesci, he cracked a rib by hitting it a little too hard.

The scene having been kept during the editing, the moan that Pesci utters during the impact is therefore absolutely not feigned (at 1’53).

20. As soon as his boxing career ended, Jake LaMotta had largely let go in terms of food. Robert De Niro thus took more than 25 kilos of fat to stick to the character.

The actor spent four months eating almost exclusively dough and ice cream. His transformation was such that it was Scorsese’s turn to seriously worry about his health.

21. Noodles’ role in Once upon a time in America by Sergio Leone (1984) was first offered to Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson, both of whom refused.

22. Joe Pesci owes his role in Once upon a time in America to Robert DeNiro.

While he was initially auditioned to play Max, Noodles’ best friend, James Wood was eventually chosen. De Niro then asked Leone to do him a favor by giving his friend a role anyway.

The director thus proposed to Pesci to choose any character among those who were not yet taken.

23. In The Incorruptibles by Brian de Palma (1987), it was originally Bob Hoskins who was to lend his features to Al Capone. When De Palma learned that Robert De Niro was finally free, he convinced the producers to release Hoskins (for compensation) to hire De Niro.

24. To play America’s most famous gangster, De Niro took the role very seriously: he went to Italy to take a good dozen kilos eating pastashaved his head, and even found some of the tailors who made Capone’s costumes at the time.

25. For Freedmen, Robert De Niro called Henry Hill more than half a dozen times a daythe sidekick of Jimmy Burke (the gangster who inspired his character) to know every detail of his life: the way he held his cigarette, the way he held a bottle of ketchup, the way he matched his watches and rings to her outfits…

26. To embody the psychopath Max Cady as closely as possible in The raw nerves by Martin Scorsese (1991), De Niro went to a dentist to get his teeth knocked out.

He then returned to that same dentist after the shoot to have them put back in place.

27. In Casino by Martin Scorsese (1995), most of the dialogue between Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro was improvised.

The adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s investigative book marked the fifth collaboration between the two men. Knowing that they knew each other by heart, Scorsese would simply give them the outline of a scene and let the magic happen.

28. On Casino, more than 70 costumes were specially made to compose Sam Rothstein’s wardrobe. Robert De Niro was able to keep them all to himself once filming was over.

29. On the set of Heat by Michael Mann (1995), Val Kilmer was so in awe of Robert De Niro’s performance that he went to the set on his days off to watch him play.

30. At the end of 1992, Robert De Niro, 46, briefly dated Janet Jackson26 years.

Rumor has it that they flirted for a while, although neither of them ever confirmed.

31. In Jackie Brown (1997), Robert de Niro wasn’t Quentin Tarantino’s first choice to interpret the former jailer Louis Gara: he had first offered the role to Sylvester Stallone who declined.

32. For Tarantino it does not make a crease, Robert De Niro is “the best actor in the world”.

“I’ve never seen an actor so absorbed in his character. It’s a constant job for him. »

33. In 1998, Robert De Niro was questioned by the French police.

Suspected of acquaintances with a prostitution network, he took it very badly. Not content with promising to return his Legion of Honor, he told Le Monde newspaper that he “would never come back to France” and that he “would advise all his friends never to come”.

Fortunately, he has since calmed down – he notably accepted the role of president of the jury of the Cannes festival in 2011.

34. Robert De Niro survived cancer.

In 2003, he passed on the billiards to stem a cancer of the prostate which had diagnosed him.

35. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Robert De Niro founded the Tribeca Film Festival.

Along with producer Jane Rosenthal and her husband, real estate investor and philanthropist Craig Hatkoff, he’s on a mission to revitalize Tribeca, a neighborhood near the World Trade Center.

In 20 years, the festival has become a staple of American independent cinema.

36. In the Joker by Todd Phillips with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, Robert De Niro unofficially takes over the role of the star TV presenter played by Jerry Lewis in The Waltz of the puppets by Martin Scorsese in 1982while Phoenix takes over the role of the comedic wannabe played by De Niro.

37. Robert De Niro threatened Donald Trump to beat him up.

In 2016, when the presidential campaign was in full swing, he recorded a video in which he called him a ” dog “of ” pork “, “crook” and “asshole”then run: “It makes me so angry that this country has come to the point of having this idiot, this bozo the clown. He explains to us how much he would like to hit people? Well, I’d like to put one in his face. »

38. Coming to theaters soon, Killers of the Flower Moonwill mark his tenth collaboration with Martin Scorsese.

The feature film will follow an FBI investigation into a Native American tribe, several of whose members were murdered after oil was discovered on their land.

39. Robert De Niro clashed with Jay Z.

In 2012, the actor and the rapper crossed paths on Leonardo DiCaprio’s birthday. De Niro headed to his table to complain that he hadn’t returned his phone calls despite repeatedly trying to reach him.

The incident was relayed in the media, so much so that Jay Z had to justify himself on the radio show The Breakfast Club : “I treat people as they really are. Never mind their name, never mind if they are Robert De Niro. »

The two men nevertheless ended up burying the hatchet. in 2016, Jay and Beyoncé attended the premiere of Hands of Stone.

40. Good attention, Robert De Niro has nothing against rap and rappers, quite the contrary.

When last year Quavo of the Migos recounted his very first encounter with the GOAT, to his surprise the latter knew who he was.

“I said ‘What’s up?’ I told him that I had just written a rhyme about the trip I had just taken, and there he replied ‘For real. MIGOS, right?’. »

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40 facts about the GOAT Robert De Niro