Robert De Niro gives one of his best performances in years in "Silver Linings Playbook," but don't tell that to A.O. Scott. The venerable New York Times film critic interviewed De Niro for The New York Times Magazine and wrote that De Niro isn't enjoying what many are calling a comeback; for Scott, De Niro never left. (Don't tell that to the people who sat through "New Year's Eve.")
Scott and De Niro chatted about a wide array of topics in the new interview, ranging from "Silver Linings Playbook" to De Niro's early career work to his recent viewing habits. Below, find five great quotes from the lengthy discussion. (Bonus points for those who read these aloud in their best De Niro voice; "You talkin' to me," et cetera.)
1. On his recent run of playing dads onscreen: "Then it will be grandfathers and if I'm lucky great-great-grandfathers if I'm still standing."
2. On his acting process: "I don't get into these long-winded heavy discussions about character — do we do this or that or what. At the end of the day, what you gotta do is just go out there and do it."
3. On the current state of Hollywood: "The obvious changes are the action films and all that stuff, the cartoon-character type stuff, which, for what it is, it's O.K. The whole blockbuster type thing which I think started with 'The Godfather,' the first 'Godfather' and 'Jaws,' and that kind of kicked off this whole other thing, and it morphed into what it is today."
4. On reading his own reviews: "Yeah. I read a review of one film I did with Pacino [ed. note: 'Righteous Kill'], it was about four years ago, we played two cops, and the critic said I looked like a puffed-up whatever. I said they're right. I laughed. But I also did that intentionally because I let myself get heavy because he’s a cop. It was just funny."
5. On his viewing habits: "I'm going to ask you something — have you seen 'Argo'? What was that like, because I’m curious to see it. [...] I can't think of a recent movie that I've looked at. 'The Fighter' I liked a lot."
For the full interview, head over to The New York Times Magazine. It's a highly recommended read.