ROBERT De Niro was such a big pain during the making of the 1997 movie "Jackie Brown" that then-Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein had to calm down director Quentin Tarantino.
"This is a great actor and actually a great guy, who's going through a difficult time . . . I think he's really having like a scratching-his-head session, you know, with his own life and his own career," Weinstein says to Tarantino in a phone conversation leaked to Page Six. "I think he knows he can play a certain kind of role from now for the next 20 years. But I think he wants to change the course of his career."
In the movie, a tribute to '70s blaxploitation flicks, De Niro plays an ex-con named Louis Gara. He apparently believed he should have been paid more. "He thinks he's going to . . . make John Travolta look like that was an amateur night in Dixie," says Weinstein in the 11-year-old recording, referring to Travolta's comeback in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
Responds Tarantino: "He's still dealing with, subconsciously, the fact that he's not going to get paid for doing the thing that he's created after 20 years . . . He's built his reputation on roles like Louis . . . 'How can you not pay me?' "