As far as iconic actor-director relationships go in the vast history of cinema, the brilliant connection between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro is right up there with the very best.
There is perhaps no finer quintessence of movie collaboration in Hollywood than that of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. The duo has worked on nine movies together, and you’d be hard pushed to say that there has been a certified dud amongst them.
Perhaps most impressive of all about the movies they have made with each other is not the quality contained therein but the diversity on display. From the profoundly complex stylings of the delusional Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy to the disturbed violence of Travis Bickle Taxi Driver, the pair have pushed each other on in terms of quality and daring over a number of decades.
Considering their vast experience together, it should come as little surprise that Scorsese once branded De Niro as “the greatest actor of his generation” when the director presented the actor with the Variety Creative Impact in Acting Award. During his introductory speech, Scorsese said De Niro’s “creative impact in acting will always be felt so long as there are actors to express their art”.
“We met when we were 16 years old,” Scorsese added. “I think the first movie star I had worked with was Paul Newman in ‘The Color of Money.’ Before that…it was all just working with friends, almost like home movies…and that culminated in ‘The Irishman.’ It took us many years to figure out that was the picture we wanted to make.”
Having worked together most recently on the Netflix epic The Irishman, De Niro described working on the movie as “homecoming for me” as he rolled back the years alongside numerous recognisable faces. “I was making a movie with my best friends,” he added.
“When I think about it I can’t believe how fucking old these guys are. You can’t de-age friendships. We spent 108 shooting days [on ‘The Irishman’]; I wish we could have shot for 108 more. Marty, can we do some reshoots?”.
When speaking about his relationship with Scorsese, De Niro later commented: “I consider myself very lucky to have that long of a relationship with him,” during an interview with People. “I can’t imagine my life without it,” he added.
“Marty is very sensitive about people and actors. He takes what actors give him and uses it,” he added. “He is aware and well-informed about things and likes to read stuff. Directors have to be well-rounded in many facets of life. He’s really great.”