De Niro

De Niro

A Life

Book - 2014
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"His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely--if ever--been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances. Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. An extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist. The insights gained from DeNiro's intense working habits shed new perspective on his portrayals. The story of De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Crown Archetype, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780307716781
Characteristics: 600 pages, [16] pages of plates :,illustrations (chiefly colour) ;,25 cm.

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trotter73
Dec 19, 2014

There are personal stories about DeNiro, but as the author notes, DeNiro is a private person that doesn't like giving interviews so it's hard to get a real feel for who he is.

I found this to be a very detailed book on DeNiro's film career.
It gives the background to each of his movies, his preparation for the role, how the movie was reviewed and how successful it was. Also, original cast choices, for example, on Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence got the roles, but originally they had Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel in mind and then Mark Wahlburg and Angelina Jolie, but they backed out.

Also, Schindler's List was a Martin Scorcese movie that they let Spielberg have so they could make Cape Fear instead.

"You talking to me" was taken from Bruce Springstein concert.

And there was an insinuation in the book that John Belushi who was DeNiro's friend OD'd on heroin because he was trying to be like Deniro in his extreme method acting and took the drug to prepare for a character he wanted to portray in a movie.

I do agree his movies haven't been to the same standards as his early work, but I can't expect him to throw himself into the roles like when he was young and single with a family.

alexica Nov 18, 2014

Kind of a sorry tale about a once great actor who decided after a while that he didn't care any more and started to take easy roles just for the money. You get the idea that if you knew him, you might not like him or respect him very much. The author does a good job of analyziing his early movies, pariculalry his disciplined approach to roles which is why so many actors revere him. But after a while, he seems to lose interest. His attitudes toward women are not admirable either. It appears that he started out hungry and honest but grew self- indulgent as the millions he demanded and got, rolled in. So sad for someone whose legacy was once headed for greatness but has now grown dimmer.........

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