Robert De Niro is truly one of the movie titans of our times. No one can contest his talent and ambition, but few of us have heard of some different aspects of his career. The actor amazed us in a variety of roles, regardless of the movie genre. Comedy, thriller, action, he can do them all! Taxi Driver, The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino are just a few of the wonderful movies where you can witness his wonderful performances. The next lesser-known facts about Robert De Niro are known by few people. Nevertheless, some of them stood as a basis for his successful career.
1. Best Co-star
De Niro has an impressive career featuring numerous collaborations with different actors and actresses. However, one of the lesser-known facts about Robert De Niro is that he has one preference, one top person he enjoyed mostly to work with. It is not Ray Liotta, nor Marlon Brando or Joe Pesci, but Meryl Streep. The two starred in several films such as The Deer Hunter (1978), Falling in Love (1984) or Marvin's Room (1996).
2. Famous Line
Another one of the lesser-known facts about Robert De Niro is related to the Taxi Driver movie. The filming of this motion picture involved a lot of impromtu moments. One of these was the famous line “You talkin' to me?”, which was completely improvised by De Niro, along with other lines. In the original script he simply had to look into the mirror. The monologue is usually used by actors as a warm-up in order to put the emphasis on other words each time they repeat the same phrase.
3. Roles He Turned Down
As any immensely successful actor, De Niro did turn down quite a few roles during his career. For instance, Daniel Day Lewis received the chance the play Bill The Butcher in the Gangs of New York movie in 2002 because De Niro refused the proposal. Other roles that he avoided were Harry in Home Alone (1990), which went to Joe Pesci, and Frank Costello in The Departed (2006). The reason he refused the last one was because he wanted to be able to direct The Good Shepherd.
4. Method Acting
In order to throw the best performances, De Niro makes use of any technique he can think of in order to get into character. This is called method acting. For example, during the filming of The King of Comedy, he did make some anti-Semitic remarks at Jerry Lewis, his co-star, in order to anger him so much that his performance would become as realistic as possible. De Niro is also known to have worked as a cab driver prior to filming Taxi Driver (1976), as well as gain weight for The Untouchables (1987) and move to Sicily for The Godfather: Part II (1974).
5. Max Cady
Speaking of method acting, one of the lesser-known facts about Robert De Niro is that he completely changed his teeth for the movie Cape Fear (1991). It cost him about $5,000 to change the appearance of his teeth to a deplorable state, and another $20,000 to have them restored. This definitely proves his limitless passion for acting.
Lastly, De Niro is an inspiration to all of us who are pursuing dreams and wish to make them come true. He decided to pursue an acting career at seventeen years old, one day after watching a movie at a cinema. After boldly declaring to his family and friends that he was going to be an actor, he dropped out of high school during his senior year to the great astonishment of everyone. He started attending the acting school of Stella Adler and went on to become one of the most prolific actors of our times.