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Robert De Niro blames himself for not knowing enough about comedy

Written by on June 15, 2024

Robert De Niro blames himself for not knowing enough about comedy to pull off a future Oscar-winning role.

The ‘Raging Bull’ actor, 80, starred in and started filming the never-produced 1970s film ‘Bogart Slept Here’ – before the script was reconfigured into the 1977 film ‘The Goodbye Girl’, which won its star Richard Dreyfuss, 76, an Academy Award.

De Niro said his then-director Mike Nichols, 83, didn’t find him a comedic fit and eventually fired him.

He told Quentin Tarantino, 61, about the project during a question and answer session at the Tribeca Film Festival as it launched its De Niro Con celebration of its iconic co-founder: “I blame myself. I didn’t know certain things. It was a certain type of comedy – (scriptwriter) Neil Simon – that had the timing that would be a certain way… it just wasn’t working.

“I shot for about two weeks. It was the worst. You know, I’ve had maybe three times in my life that I’ve ever had that experience with a director.

“You can’t make them happy and they’re not happy and you’re kind of feeling that. So this was one of them.”

De Niro added he later ran into filmmaker Mike at a dinner – where the director apologised for firing the actor.

The star said he responded: “I’m OK. I did OK. No problem.”

De Niro Con is set to continue over the weekend with more screenings of films including ‘The Godfather Part II’, ‘Analyze This’, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘The Deer Hunter’.

The De Niro and Tarantino talk started on Friday (14.06.24) afternoon with a screening of ‘Jackie Brown’.

Tarantino’s 1997 third feature saw De Niro play a role as the newly-released convict Louis Gara.

The ‘Pulp Fiction’ director praised De Niro’s portrayal of the “slow” ex-con, as his senses were dulled from years in prison and hits of marijuana after his release from behind bars.

Tarantino told De Niro: “I’ve watched the movie with a lot of different audiences and they always respond so much to how out of it and stoned you are when they’re trying to talk, when they’re having the whole meeting about the money exchange.

“You’re caught up in the phone cord and you realise that was a comedy scene going on right inside of there. You played it as a comedian. I think it was a situation where you just said, ‘Oh, I can do a little bit more here. I can have my own little bit going on while they’re doing the narrative.’”


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