American actor Robert De Niro is widely regarded as a true master of his craft. Over the course of his illustrious career, De Niro has worked in New Hollywood masterpieces like Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter. The versatile actor has maintained his momentum with modern gems like Silver Linings Playbook and Joker, among others.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Tarantino showered De Niro with immense praise: “He deserves his reputation as probably the greatest actor of his generation,” he said, adding: “I think he is the best actor in the world. I’ve never seen an actor so completely consume himself in character, in true character work during the work.”
De Niro maintains that the key to his success was the circumstances he found himself in: “I was lucky,” the actor claims. When the interviewer tries to dismiss that by stating his well-known ability to put in a lot of effort in character development, De Niro insists: “Well, then I am lucky I have the drive to do the work but you’re always lucky.”
While talking about a popular phenomenon in which co-stars start getting competitive about their performances and achievements, De Niro advised against it. He highlighted the symbiotic relationship between the cast, saying: “You’re not in a competitive situation with another actor. The better they are, the better you are.”
In the same interview, De Niro also spoke about another essential key to the process of acting: “It’s important to listen to everyone, as many people as you can and get their input but then finally, you have to make your own decision about what you’re going to do… That’s the most important thing because that’s where the uniqueness comes in.”
De Niro’s approach to acting has been celebrated throughout the years because of his uncanny ability to make the characters his own. “You never know what you do that could be totally out of left field but which actually might work, give something fresh to the whole scene, the character, whatever,” the actor believes.
Although he admits that he is a shy actor, De Niro acknowledges that there are many like him who leave their shyness at the door when they start acting. In many ways, it is a liberating experience to be able to escape from yourself and become someone completely different. De Niro, for one, has made a career out of it.
For the aspiring actors who are reading this, Robert De Niro has asked you to stop doing what you often tend to do. Instead of artificially injecting passion into your work, De Niro calls for a more holistic understanding based on the dramatic atmosphere: “You have to do more, do something but you don’t have to do anything, nothing and you’re better off. It’ll work.”