Robert De Niro interview
LF: A lot of people seems to be intimidated by you. Even Jay [Roach] said that, the first time he directed you in Meet The Parents he didn't dare to give you any direction. How is it to have that effect on people?
DN: Once you start working with people that goes away.
LF: Are other actors intimidated by you?
DN: When you work on a movie day after day, that goes away, just everybody's working together. The relationship as characters towards each other was supposed to be like that, but as far as actual intimidation other than that, Ben [Stiller] and I are past that point. Working day after day you don't have much time for that.
DN: Well, he might have been, I don't know, but we have a great relationship. We're always kidding each other and we sort of play on that stuff at times but, but...
LF: Both Meet The Parents and this sequel are good studies in a comedic way about parent-children relationships. Did you draw from your own experiences and could you identify with your characters?
DN: Sure. I'm not like the character the way he is but I could understand it. But I'm not that kind of a parent with my own daughter.
DN: I'm protective, of course, but not in that way.
LF: In addition to being an actor you are also a successful restaurant owner. Which is your passion?
DN: I love acting, that's what I do. And directing, I do less of that, obviously. And the restaurant stuff has become very successful and I did that just because I like good food. That's just evolved.
LF: Some people say that comedic acting is actually more of a challenge then straight dramatic acting. What are your thoughts on that?
DN: Well, in some ways it depends on what the part is and what the situation is. I think with the comedy that I feel that I can do the way I do, it's fun to kind of make choices that you can't do in a dramatic situation because it would be funny, so, whereas you could do something that would be dramatic and at the same time you could put a little spin on it and you get away with it because it's meant to be funny, if that makes any sense.
LF: Do you still have to work on the character and rehearsing beforehand?
DN: Yeah, of course. That doesn't change.
LF: Is there a specific scene where it was very hard for you not to stop laughing while filming?
DN: One where Ben and I were talking about his family at the night before party and we were sort of improvising and we were both doing it very straight, you know, and I was as the prospective father-in-law and we were sort of riffing, or whatever on the names of the character's relatives. It was just very funny, at least for us it was. Couldn't stop, couldn't control ourselves.
LF: This is the second time you done a sequel to a comedy. What about your dramas, is there any character you would like to revisit?
DN: I was thinking once with Marty Scorsese about doing sort of a, I guess you'd call it a sequel to Taxi Driver where he's older and so on, but we never could come up with the right way to do it, so...
DN: Yeah I would like to do a few more movies with Marty. There's nothing concrete yet. We've talked about things over the years and, and I would like to do couple of more films with him.
LF: Does that mean it might happen?
DN: I don't, I don't know, I mean, it sort of fizzled out.
LF: How was it working with Mr. Dustin Hoffman?
DN: Dustin is fine. We've done two movies together, this is the second, and, you know, it's fun.
LF: In what ways?
DN: He has ideas sometimes, he'll think of something or change it and that's just the way it is. There is nothing that unique or different. He is different than I and all of us. Dustin, the way he works, and he's kind of nutty in some ways. He does things to break the tension. He'll try and he'll burp or fart, excuse my French, and stuff like that, he's done that.
LF: Is Dustin Hoffman a good neck kisser?
DN: Yeah, he's a good one.
DN: Well, it was supposed to be discomforting, so, I played that.
LF: As an Italian, are you used to kissing men on the cheek?
DN: (laughs) Sometimes. Kissing men…
LF: How was it having Barbra Streisand riding on your back?
DN: Well, it was interesting. She worked hard on that scene, I tell you. She felt like she worked out. That's one scene we worked on a lot.
LF: Was it your idea to have the artificial boob and how did it feel?
DN: No, it wasn't. I don't know where that came from. It came from John Hamburg and Jay probably or one of the other writers. I'm not sure but that wasn't my idea.
LF: How did it feel?
DN: It felt kind of weird but it was funny.
LF: How much does the phrase "Are you talking to me?" follow you? Two years ago on a TV show Inside The Actor's Studio the host James Lipton tried to get you to say the phrase which you refused to do, which is very understandable…