Monday, February 05, 2007

How Far Will An Actor Go?

Robert De NiroHow committed is Robert De Niro when it comes to preparing for a role? They joke about it. Playing De Niro when he finds out a movie he was planning to do has been cancelled, Sean Penn says, in an SNL skit, “I can’t believe it! I had three vertebrae surgically removed to make myself shorter for this role!”

To play the young Vito Corleone, he became fluent in Sicilian dialect. There was the filing down of his teeth to perfect the appropriate maniacal snarl in Cape Fear; the proficient jazz sax mastered for New York, New York; the custom-made silk undies insisted upon, but never seen, in The Untouchables, allowing him to swish exactly like Al Capone. Almost no need to mention his fabled 4½-stone porkathon for Raging Bull. In researching The Deer Hunter, it is whispered, he played real Russian roulette. On Awakenings, so authentic were the results of his brain scan, it was feared he had acted himself into a genuine coma.

I don't really believe the Russian roulette thing -- sounds too much like having a vertebra removed. I do love Bob, though. Who doesn't? De Niro talks with Jeff Dawson at The London Times.

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