Tag Archives: Robert De Niro

NOLAN interviews DE NIRO, PACINO, MANN — Six Clips from the Academy panel on HEAT

Last week the Academy hosted a reunion of the cast and filmmakers of HEAT.  Christopher Nolan moderated a post screening Q & A with director Michael Mann, and stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

Above are six clips from the session, including discussions of the writing of the film; the main characters Vincent and Neil; the coffee shop scene; the characters of Eady, Justine and Drucker; the look of the film; and the sound and music.

De Niro and Pacino were joined by actors Amy Brenneman, Val Kilmer, Diane Venora and Mykelti Williamson, producers Pieter Jan Brugge and Art Linson, cinematographer Dante Spinotti, film editor William Goldenberg and sound re-recording mixer Andy Nelson.

Kristopher Tapley reported on the event in Variety :

As has been recounted before, Mann took his own inspiration from the real-life saga of criminal Neil McCauley, who was finally killed by Mann’s friend, Chicago police detective Charlie Adamson, in 1963. They were two men … who had a fondness for one another, despite being on opposite sides of the law. “They had the kind of intimacy only strangers can have,” Mann said.

That, and the idea of two characters the audience could invest in and pull for despite their goals being at such stark opposition to one another, was the germ of “Heat.”

087f8f1e1d2c4badb8e6352686f92ffeTalking character specifics, De Niro spoke about visual cues. “At the onset, I thought there should be that difference in the characters in terms of how they come off, what colors they’re in,” he said.

He also found it instructive that while Hanna’s life is falling apart — he and his wife (played by Venora) are “passing each other on the down-slope of a marriage, my third, because I spend all my time chasing guys like you around the block,” the detective confides in his foe mid-film — McCauley’s is just getting started. The career criminal has dreams of moving to Fiji, perhaps settling down with Eady, a young woman who enters his life and nearly disrupts the entire credo he lives by: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

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Robert De Niro Loves His Flip Phone and Doesn’t Care Who Knows

“Last week, Anne Hathaway outed Robert De Niro, Hollywood legend and her co-star in The Intern, as being a fan of The Bachelor,” writes Miller.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Robert De Niro attends the 2015 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards Dinner and Auction at Cipriani Wall Street on June 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

.”And now, here’s an equally endearing anecdote from the Oscar-winning actress about Martin Scorsese’s go-to gruff—specifically that he has not yet adapted to those fancy-schmancy smart devices you kids call phones.

“While discussing their generation gap with People, Hathaway, ever the diplomat, says that the only difference she noticed between herself and the 72-year-old actor was his wisdom: ‘I just always think, My gosh, how much more have you seen!’

“De Niro, however, does not hesitate to pipe in with one key deviation he noticed, in terms of technology and social networking. ‘I have a computer,’ the actor says, ‘but I don’t do Facebook, don’t do Twitter, don’t do . . . what’s the other one?’

“When Hathaway comes to the actor’s rescue—’Instagram’—she drops the endearing bombshell about his phone.

“’Bob, can I out you about something?’ she asks before proceeding. ‘He has a flip phone. We talked about it [on set] when he wasn’t around. We all thought it was cute.’

“(In De Niro’s defense, a 2015 study shows that a third of Americans are not smartphone owners.)

“De Niro, refusing to be smartphone shamed, offers this explanation: ‘They’re easy to use!’”

De Niro isn’t the only one who loves flip phones.

05-anna-wintour-flip-phone.w529.h352Last year Vogue editor Anna Wintour was photographed by NewYork magazine using her flip phone at the US Open.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.24.48 PMRihanna

Rihanna uses a flip phone, making it seem like the most fashionable accessory available.

warren buffettWarren Buffett, worth $67 billion, showed off his flip phone on CNN last year. “This is the one Alexander Graham Bell gave me,” he joked to Piers Morgan.

BsQuPKate Beckinsale goes old school with her flip phone. ..

Scarlett…and so does Scarlett Johannson.

Why are people returning to the old phones? Treehugger has some possible answers: ” The smaller, more pocket-friendly size, the battery that lasts one to two weeks, and, if you’re not picky, options that can still be bought for a small price.

“Also, remember how rugged those older phones were? How many times did you drop yours and have it survive with barely a scratch? Smartphones are notoriously fragileand many people are tired of worrying over cracked screens.

“But maybe most of all, people are switching as a direct response to the totally connected lives we now lead. If you already have a tablet or laptop or both, why have a smartphone too? A basic phone that lets you make calls and send texts may be preferable at that point.

“And just like people’s fondness for music on vinyl, an old cell phone has a vintage feel and people feel trendy and different from the masses by using one instead of a smartphone that looks everyone else’s smartphone.

“We have two types of profiles: the 25 to 35 year-olds attracted by the retro and offbeat side of a telephone that is a little different, and those who are nostalgic for the phone that they used when they were younger,” said Maxime Chanson, who founded Lekki, a cell phone reseller, in 2010.

“Some use it to complement their smartphone, but others are going for the vintage, tired of the technology race between the phone makers.”

 

A Gorgeous Supercut: 120 Years of Cinema

-1Youtube is littered with tribute videos that review the history of cinema, but this one is something special. French editor Joris Faucon Grimaud has created an inspired tour thru the last 120 years of film. You will see over 300 of your favorite movie moments, some of which  you had forgotten. Most are from Hollywood films. Grimaud makes surprising connections that give each shot added meaning and context.

Thanks to Oktay Ege Kozak over at The Playlist for bringing it to our attention.

Here’s the list of films included:

Une scène au jardin de Roundhay
La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon
L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat
Lover of Beauty
Edison’s Films
Edison’s The Kiss
Le Voyage dans la Lune
The Great Train Robbery
The General
Les Vampires
The Birth of a Nation
Intolerance
Pandora’s Box
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Kid
Broken Blossoms
Way Down East
Nanook of the North
The Phantom of Opera
The Golden Age
Sunrise
Strike
Battleship Potemkin
Metropolis
Citizen Kane
La Belle et La Bête
The Dictator
Le Quai des Brumes
The  Wizard of Oz
City Lights
M
The Seven Samurai
Rashōmon
A Date with Judy
Sunset Boulevard
Frankenstein
The Night of the Hunter
Witness for the Prosecution
La Dolce Vita
Singing in the Rain
12 Angry Men
Psycho
Casablanca
Double Indemnity
All About Eve
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Gone With The Wind
It’s a Wonderful Life
Paths of Glory
Rebel Without a Cause
To Kill a Mockingbird
The 400 Blows
La grande vadrouille
Les Tontons Flingueurs
Belle de Jour
La Piscine
It Happened One Night
Vertigo
Dr. Strangelove
North by Northwest
Lawrence of Arabia
Lolita
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Contempt
Breathless
Some Like It Hot
Manhattan
Mad Max
Top Gun
Taxi Driver
Goodfellas
The Godfather
Raging Bull
Once Upon Time in America
The Godfather II
Apocalypse Now
Full Metal Jacket
The Thin Red Line
Platoon
Hook
Schindler’s List
Once Upon Time in The West
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The Quick and the Dead
Stagecoach
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Little Big Man
Dances With Wolves
Giant
Rio Bravo
The Wild Bunch
Dead Man
Unforgiven
3:10 to Yuma
No Country for Old Men
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
True Grit
Django Unchained
Fantasia
Snow White
Cinderella
Alice in Wonderland
Dumbo
The Sword in the Stone
Pinocchio
The Lion King
Sleeping Beauty
Balto
The Jungle Book
Aladdin
Peter Pan
Mulan
Tarzan
Princess Mononoké
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Spirited Away
Lady and the Tramp
Beauty and the Beast
Corpse Bride
Bambi
The Fox and the Hound
How to Train Your Dragon
Pocahontas
Toy Story
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Wall-E
Up
Toy Story 3
Fight Club
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Jurassic Park
Men in Black
Requiem For A Dream
Reservoir Dogs
A.I.
Pulp Fiction
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Matrix
Spiderman 2
Lord of The Rings
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone
X-Men 2
American History X
Dr. No
Casino Royal
Star Wars:The Revenge of The Sith
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Kick Ass
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Minority Report
The Shining
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Saw
Insidious
Watchmen
300
Transformers: The Dark Side of The Moon
Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows part 2
The Avengers
Mission Impossible III
Saving Private Ryan
There Will Be Blood
V for Vendetta
Avatar
Star Trek: Insurrection
Die Hard
Léon
Titanic
Alien
Edward Scissorhands
Sin City
Eyes Wide Shut
Yves Saint Laurent
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Usual Suspects
Basic Instinct
Brokeback Mountain
Kill Bill
Secret Window
Little White Lies
The Shawshank Redemption
Birdman
Drive
La Vie en Rose
The Wolf of Wall Street
Interstellar
Man of Steel
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
Batman
Batman Returns
The Godfather
Jaws
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Taxi Driver
Back to The Future
Rain Man
Scarface
2001 A Space Odyssey
The Tree of Life
Pulp Fiction
Lost Highway
Heat
Forrest Gump
La Haine
A Clockwork Orange
The Big Lebowski
Donnie Darko
The Notebook
Dirty Dancing
Mulholland Drive
Braveheart
Blade Runner
Gladiator
Se7en
The Artist
American Beauty
Amélie
The Great Gatsby
Black Swan

 

Tidbits from the Tribeca ‘Goodfellas’ Reunion

2698239bl News reports  from the Tribeca Film Festival’s  GOODFELLAS reunion include new revelations about the making of the film and funny stories from the q&a after the show, moderated by Jon Stewart. 

Tomris Laffly’s article in Indiewire’s  Thompson on Hollywood blog— excerpted below — sets the stage. She writes: “Martin Scorsese’s seminal gangster film GOODFELLAS –which is widely deemed his finest directorial achievement –celebrated its 25th anniversary Saturday on the closing night of the Tribeca Film Festival, as the movie’s star and festival co-founder Robert De Niro joined the cast on stage.

Martin Scorsese and cast on set of 'Goodfellas'
Martin Scorsese and cast on set of GOODFELLAS.

“When narrator Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) declared ‘As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be gangster’ at the start of the unveiling of a gorgeous re-mastered 4K print of GOODFELLAS, the packed Beacon Theater erupted in enthusiastic applause. Many others followed throughout the screening as the huge crowd nostalgically revisited the film and its most famous moments. Predictably, the ‘Funny how’ scene between Hill and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) nabbed the most rapturous laughter and clapping.

“The screening was also an affirmation of Scorsese’s authentic and energetic depiction of amoral and despicable behavior. The debate that erupted at the opening of Scorsese’s non-didactic yet cautionary and often laugh-out-loud funny take on gangsters was not dissimilar from the reaction to last year’s instantly controversial WOLF OF WALL STREET, as naysayers accused the filmmaker of glorifying excessive behavior. GOODFELLAS famously scored one the worst test screening results in Warner Bros. history, but went on to earn critical acclaim and six Oscar nominations (with one win for Joe Pesci). Now it’s a classic.”

Laffly is referring to the first audience preview screening held in Orange County in 1990. Producer Irwin Winkler remembers the events in a Playboy interview, which describes a far different reaction to the opening of the film than the enthusiastic applause at Tribeca screening:

“Once the GOODFELLAS sneak preview got rolling, things went haywire, right from the hero’s first line of narration: ‘As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.’

“’People started running out of that theater like the place was on fire,’ recalls Winkler. ‘We had 38 walkouts alone after the scene where Joe Pesci’s character, Tommy DeVito, knifes the body of Billy Batts in the trunk of a car. And that was just the beginning of the movie. The screening didn’t go badly. It was disastrous.

“So disastrous that, as the movie’s dark humor and merry mayhem of stabbings, shootings and cocaine-fueled freak-outs piled up, 32 more people fled the theater. After the preview, which De Fina called ‘scary,’ studio execs read a barrage of audience reaction cards typified by one from a dissatisfied customer who’d scrawled ‘F*ck you’ all over his. ‘It upset a lot of people,’ says Scorsese. ‘People weren’t prepared for the mixture of humor and violence, the lifestyle, the attitude.’” Read the full interview with Winkler here, in Stephen Rebello’s article, which is subtitled “The Making of the Mafia’s Ultimate Home Movie.”

The NY Daily News reports Scorsese’s recollection of the reception of the film: “It’s hard to believe in hindsight, but GOODFELLAS wasn’t well received by everyone upon its release. ‘There was this owner of a restaurant that I used to eat at that said we’re not allowed in there anymore,’ said Scorsese, hinting that the place was an Italian establishment. ‘Because apparently we denigrated a certain ethnic group.’ ”

Closing+Night+Screening+Goodfellas+2015+Tribeca+qlBe6GE5jhelPaul Sorvino, Debi Mazar, Robert De Niro, Lorraine Bracco and Kevin Corrigan attend the closing night screening of “Goodfellas” Saturday during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at Beacon Theatre.

Laffly continues her Indiewire coverage from Tribeca: “The biggest treat of the night was the reunion panel after the screening, moderated by Jon Stewart, with Scorsese’s co-screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi as well as actors De Niro, Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino. Stewart’s questions could have been sharper and more fine-tuned, yet the Q&A session did yield choice and little-known behind-the-scenes stories.

Here are eight highlights:

1. No-shows Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese greeted the audience in style.

Currently shooting his new film THE SILENCE in Taipei with Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, Scorsese saluted the crowd before the screening with a pre-taped video message… Scorsese  revealed that the music in GOODFELLAS –from Tony Bennett to Darlene Love– represented the way his own life was musically scored. One of the best times they all had on set was during the breakfast scene with his mother (Catherine Scorsese, playing Tommy’s Mother): ‘There were only one or two lines that were written out. The rest was what it was like to be around my mom, Joe, Bob, and Ray. But we didn’t tell her about the body (in the trunk).’

Pesci’s pre-screening message was more concise. ‘Joe Pesci couldn’t be here, but he sent this email,’ said Robert De Niro, reading: ‘F*ck, f*ck, f*ckity, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck.’

‘I’ll translate,’ he went on. ‘Dear Bob, I am sorry I can’t be there. Love to all. Best, Joe.’

2. De Niro: ‘We feel connected when we get back together, as we are tonight.’
 

The Tribeca Film Festival co-founder’s sentiment was seconded by actor Paul Sorvino. ‘We sometimes run into each other. What happens is, you see each other 10 or 15 years later, and it is as if the time has not passed. Because we got to know each other so well at an emotional or spiritual level; and it never goes away.’

3. Running into Scorsese at the Venice Film Festival helped Ray Liotta to land the leading role.

‘I was the first person they met,’ the actor recalled, noting that De Niro recommended him and that it took a year to get it. ‘I think what sealed it is – I did a movie called DOMINICK AND EUGENE, which was at the Venice Film Festival. Marty was there with THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, walking across the lobby of the hotel. I went to him and said ‘Hey Marty, it’s me! I wanted to say hello!’ The way I said hello…it just seemed to happen.’

 

4. Nora Ephron helped to connect Martin Scorsese with her husband Nicholas Pileggi.

The author of the bestselling book WISEGUY (from which GOODFELLAS is adapted) said that Scorsese kept calling him, wanting to connect. ‘I was getting these pink slips that said: ‘Call Martin Scorsese.’ But I thought it was my friend David Denby (playing a trick), so I didn’t respond.’ Scorsese couldn’t figure it out, and finally called Pileggi’s wife Nora Ephron. ‘I got home that night and she said: ‘Are you crazy? Martin Scorsese is trying to reach you and you won’t call him back.’

goodfellas-quotes-hd-wallpaper-175. Henry Hill loved Ray Liotta’s portrayal.

Scorsese didn’t let Liotta talk to Henry Hill before the film was completed, thinking that his real persona would interfere with his portrayal. But after the movie, Liotta got a call to meet Hill in a Bowling Alley in the San Fernando Valley with his brother. ‘The first thing he said was: ‘Thanks for not making me look like a scumbag.’ And I said: ‘Did you see the movie?’
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6. Paul Sorvino almost quit the film, three days before shooting began.
Worried about not being able to find the spine of his character, Sorvino apparently called his manager three days before the shooting began (after he already spent four weeks in prep), asking him to get him out of it. ‘I am a poet, an opera singer, author, sculptor…none of it is gangster,’ the actor explained. ‘I was lost. And one day I was going to fix my tie and I saw this guy (referring to his image in the mirror), and I scared the hell out of me.’v30rx2qca7huq2a07. Lorraine Bracco got a little help from her background in creating Karen.
Although she didn’t know anyone in real life close to the character she portrayed or the women Karen hangs out with, Bracco said her upbringing was helpful. ‘I have an Italian father, but I have an English mother. So I learned a lot about being Italian from my dad. And we lived in a Jewish neighborhood, which helped to create Karen. I just did my homework. Being surrounded by a great director and crew and Ray… It was easy.’

8. Nick Pileggi on Martin Scorsese, perfectionist.
 

As tight-lipped De Niro was unwilling to tackle the question of what Scorsese would want to change in the film today if he could, Stewart turned the mic to Pileggi. Recalling the night of the film’s New York City premiere, he noted that Marty had many more editing ideas in mind: ‘We were at the Ziegfeld, I was sitting next to him, and he said –pointing to an elbow- ‘We should have cut that.’ ‘Marty, I said, we’re at the Ziegfeld, it’s the opening of the movie, and the editing is over.’

Entertainment Weekly adds this wonderful factoid:

Even the ketchup technique is authentic.
Before filming the scene with the meal at Tommy’s mother’s, Scorsese had Pileggi reach out to Hill to find out which method for getting ketchup out of the bottle Jimmy ‘The Gent’ used. That’s why De Niro rolls the bottle in his hands, as we see in the finished film.”

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GOODFELLAS is 25 Years Old, So Here Are 25 Things You Don’t Know About The Film

The NY Daily News has a great article by reporters Rachel Maresca and Philip Caulfield, who have collected a surprising list — reprinted below — of things you (probably) don’t know about GOODFELLAS. The film has been called “one of the most quoted, influential, enjoyable and endlessly revisited movies of all time.”

goodfellas-main-reviewJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill and Robert De Niro as James Conway in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” The filmmakers are celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Maresca and Caulfield write:

We took care of that thing for ya.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of “Goodfellas” this year, the Daily News has compiled a list of 25 things every movie nut should know about the classic gangster flick, which is being honored on the closing night of The Tribeca Film Festival Saturday.

To celebrate, the cast of the Martin Scorsese movie will reunite and participate in a sit-down conversation hosted by Jon Stewart.

The violent, profane and often funny film, based on Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family,” featured several cameos by the story’s real-life characters, and is revered by movie fans for its colorful dialogue and memorable lines.

Now go home and get your shinebox . . .

1. Several Hollywood A-listers were mentioned for the role of Henry Hill, including Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Cruise’s “Top Gun” co-star Val Kilmer, who sent in a tape of himself playing the character, “Goodfellas” producer Irwin Winkler revealed to Playboy recently.

2. Author Nicholas Pileggi didn’t return director Martin Scorsese’s initial call about making his 1986 book “Wiseguy” into a movie because he thought someone was pulling his leg. “I didn’t believe it when Marty left a message. I thought it was my friend David Denby, the film critic, winding me up. So I just ignored him,” Pileggi told The Guardian in 2013. Scorsese eventually got Pileggi’s attention by reaching out to his wife, Nora Ephron.

3. Ray Liotta didn’t meet Henry Hill until after the movie wrapped. According to Hill, Scorsese insisted on keeping the two apart. “He didn’t want me to influence him whatsoever,” he once told an interviewer. Robert De Niro, however, met with Hill and endlessly quizzed him for insights into his character, Jimmy Conway, who was based on mobster James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke.
maxresdefault-1Robert De Niro as James Conway sitting in restaurant booth with Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in GOODFELLAS.

tumblr_n7p5ycyyth1rn5a30o1_500Ray Liotta as Henry Hill sitting with Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill at a nightclub in GOODFELLAS.

4. Instead, to get into character, Liotta listened to hours upon hours of interviews Pileggi taped with Hill while writing “Wiseguy.” “Henry Hill was eating potato chips the whole time . . . it (was) just a horrible noise,” Liotta recalled to a radio interviewer in 2014.

5. Both of Scorsese’s parents are in the film. His mom, Catherine, plays Joe Pesci’s character’s mother, while his father, Charles, plays Vinnie, the old mobster whom Paulie warns about putting too many onions in the tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene. Charles died in 1993, while Catherine died in 1997.

goodfellasMartin Scorsese’s father, Charles Scorsese, played Vinnie, an aging mobster who gets a little heavy-handed with the onions in his tomato sauce in the prison dinner scene.

goodfellas-1
Catherine Scorsese, the director’s mother, as Tommy DeVito’s mother.

6. In the scene where Henry and Karen Hill are discussing the witness protection program, the prosecutor they are speaking to is Ed McDonald, the actual federal prosecutor who put Hill in the witness protection program. McDonald, now in private practice, told the Wall Street Journal in 2008 that all of his lines were improvised, including the famous, “Don’t give me the ‘babe in the woods’ routine, Karen.”

7. “Goodfellas” was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won only one, a Best Supporting Actor trophy for Joe Pesci.

8. Pesci’s acceptance speech was just five words: “It’s my privilege, thank you.”
golden-globes
Lorraine Bracco (l. with James Gandolfini and Edie Falco in 2000.)

9. Lorraine Bracco turned down the chance to play mob wife Carmela on the HBO series “The Sopranos” because she’d already played a mob wife Karen Hill in “Goodfellas.”          “I said, ‘Look, I don’t think I should play Carmela because I did it, I did it in a Scorsese movie, I got an Oscar nomination. I really don’t think I’m going to bring so much to this for you that I haven’t done already,” she recently told HuffPost Live.
goodfellas23f-9-webJoe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in the classic 1990 mobster flick.

10. Joe Pesci’s character Tommy DeVito is based on Lucchese family hit man Thomas DeSimone, aka “Two-Gun Tommy” or “Tommy D.” While Pesci is only about 5-foot-4, DeSimone was actually a hulking 6-foot-2 in real life. Describing Tommy’s death in the film, Henry Hill says: “They even shot Tommy in the face so his mother couldn’t give him an open coffin at the funeral.” In reality, DeSimone vanished in 1979 and his body was never found. He was 28.

11. According to “Wiseguy,” DeSimone did in fact pistol whip William (Billy Batts) Bentvena to death after Batts ribbed him about being a shoeshine boy, but the insult and the murder occurred a few weeks apart. During the gruesome attack, DeSimone smashed the butt of his .38 revolver into Batts’ face and screamed, “Shine these f— shoes!”

12. The famous “Funny how?” scene was inspired by an experience Joe Pesci had working at a restaurant and mob hangout as a young man. As Liotta and other castmates tell it, Pesci got put on the spot after he quipped that one mobster was “a funny guy.”
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13. Chuck Low, who plays the pestering wig salesman Morrie Kessler, was Robert De Niro’s real estate consultant before appearing in the film.

14. De Niro’s character, Jimmy Conway, was based on James Burke, a top associate of the Lucchese crime family nicknamed “Jimmy the Gent” because of his dapper appearance. As depicted in the movie, Burke masterminded the 1978 Lufthansa robbery, which ripped off nearly $6 million from a JFK cargo hold and was the largest robbery in the U.S. at the time. He and Hill were also players in the 1979 Boston College point-shaving scandal.

In “Wiseguy,” Hill describes Burke’s love of stealing: “If you ever offered Jimmy a billion dollars, he’d turn you down and then try to figure out how to steal it from you.” He died of lung cancer in a Buffalo hospital in 1996 while serving a 20-to-life sentence for murder.

mcdgood-ec024Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway in GOODFELLAS.

15. In the famous introduction scene, Fat Andy, aka “Moe Black’s brother,” is played by Louis Eppolito, one of the notorious NYPD “Mafia Cops.” As a detective in the 1980s and early ’90s, Eppolito — whose father, uncle and cousins were made guys in the Gambino family — secretly worked for the mob, filtering tips and information that eventually led to several murders. Along with Stephen Caracappa, he was convicted of racketeering, murder and conspiracy in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison.

16. Sonny Bunz, the beleaguered Bamboo Lounge owner who gets a bottle cracked over his head, was played by Anthony Borgese, a Brooklyn-bred actor who uses the stage name Tony Darrow. As a young man, Borgese worked in the real Bamboo Lounge in Canarsie, where Hill, Burke and DeSimone hung out.

17. Queens native Christopher Serrone said playing young Henry put a giant target on his back during his teen years. “Every kid in my neighborhood wanted to be the guy who beat up the gangster kid from Goodfellas. It was tough,” Serrone, now in his late 30s, told the Daily Mail recently. “I took my share and gave my share.”

18. Nearly four decades later, the Lufthansa robbery is still being prosecuted in New York’s courts. In January 2014, Vincent Asaro, a 78-year-old Bonanno family capo, was nabbed in an FBI sweep and charged with plotting the 64-minute heist with Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill. Asaro isn’t depicted in “Goodfellas,” but he was in the room when the real Tommy DeSimone pumped a bullet into Spider’s foot. He took the bleeding kid to get patched up.

goodfellas2Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in GOODFELLAS.

19. The movie’s second-to-last shot shows Pesci firing a pistol point-blank at the screen. It’s a reference to the ending of the 1903 silent film “The Great Train Robbery,” where one of the bandits does the same thing.

20. In the final scene, De Niro’s defense attorney, who says the line “Mr. Hill, you know everything about being a rat,” is played by Eddie Hayes, a legendary New York mob lawyer who was the inspiration for the slick-talking attorney in Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.”

21. Frankie Carbone, who is found hanging from a hook in a refrigerated meat truck, was played by Frank Sivero. In recent years, Sivero has filed a handful of lawsuits accusing people ripping off the character. Later year, he went after “The Simpsons” for allegedly stealing his likeness for a Springfield mobster, while another suit targeted a Southern California deli for hawking a “Frankie Carbone” sandwich using his photo.

22. The exact number is in dispute, but it’s generally believed that the “f-word” is said between 300-320 times in the movie. However, another Scorsese flick, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is said to be Hollywood’s F-bomb Don, with 544, according to a Slate tally.

23. In the scene where Tommy shoots Spider in the foot, the drunk mobster waves his smoking revolver and shouts “Take him to Ben Casey!” as Spider writhes in pain on the floor. Ben Casey was the titular doctor of a hit TV show that ran in the early ’60s.

24. While the movie has a reputation of being a bloody whack-a-thon, only five character deaths are depicted on screen, including Stacks Edwards, played by a then little-known Samuel L. Jackson.

25. Henry Hill died on June 12, 2012, at the age of 69. “His heart gave out,” his girlfriend said at the time. Two years earlier, he’d confided to a reporter that he never stopped feeling like a marked man. “There’s always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves,” Hill said in 2010. “I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age. I’m just grateful for being alive.”ss3432312_-_photograph_of_ray_liotta_as_henry_hill_joe_pesci_as_tommy_devito_robert_de_niro_as_jimmy_conway_from_goodfellas_available_in_4_sizes_framed_or_unframed_buy_now_at_starstills__92124__93223.1404460384.1280.12

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Robert De Niro’s Greatest Roles

The Telegraph has posted a gallery of Robert De Niro’s greatest roles. The list includes Raging Bull, Cape Fear, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather Part II, but also We’re No Angels, Midnight Run, and The Untouchables. Captions below are from the Telegraph gallery.

Ragingbull2_2644954kAs Jake Lamotta in RAGING BULL.

“Often cited as one of America’s finest films, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull charts the rise and fall of real life boxer Jake Lamotta. Difficult to watch, De Niro’s Lamotta is violent and cruel on a path to self destruction as he deals with his inner demons. De Niro ‘ain’t going down for nobody’ and this emotionally charged role is one of his best.”

CAPE FEAR, Robert De Niro, 1991

As Max Cady in CAPE FEAR.

“De Niro’s performance as Max Cady in Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 classic makes Travis Bickle look like a Sunday School teacher. Cady, having just been released from prison for rape, is intent on destroying the urbane lawyer (Nick Nolte) who testified against him. De Niro, covered in nasty tattoos, slowly seeps into your skin, becoming the person you’d least like to live next door to.”

robert_de_niro___taxi_driver_by_gabrielttoro-d6gv2rsAs Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER.

“Martin Scorsese’s film takes you by the scruff of the neck and takes you into the dangerous, decaying New York of the Seventies. De Niro’s Travis Bickle, the taxi driver of the title is a porn-obsessed loner who ends up as a would be assassin. The scene in which Bickle talks to himself in the mirror – ‘You talkin’ to me?’ is De Niro’s most famous, and one of the most imitated (badly) in cinema history. ”

robert-de-niro-the-godfather_110383-1600x1200Playing Vito Corleone in THE GODFATHER PART II.

“As Vito Corleone, a young De Niro transforms from man to Don in this fantastic revenge story. Corleone travels to Siciliy, whereupon he delivers the fateful line to his father’s murderer, Don Ciccio (Guiseppe Sillato): ‘My father’s name was Antonio Andolini…and this is for you!’ What a way to take the final step into becoming The Godfather. ”

wna-xTeamed with Sean Penn in WE’RE NO ANGELS.

This film “shows Bobby D’s propensity to ‘goof’ and show he’s got a fun side. Actually, he’s good fun in this as Ned (although it looks as if someone’s stuffed his mouth with cotton wool), an escaped convict in Depression-era America who, together with Sean Penn’s Jim is mistaken for a priest. Mistaken identity high-jinks abound, with De Niro gamely tucking into” the David Mamet script for director Neil Jordan.

Midnight-Run-PosterOpposite Charles Grodin in MIDNIGHT RUN.

“We know Robert De Niro’s class as a dramatic actor but Midnight Run, in which he stars as bounty hunter Jack Walsh, showed he could be very funny in a comedy role. His interplay with Charles Grodin (Jonathan Mardukas) and the FBI agent played by Yaphet Kotto are a delight and the whole film crackles with energy. You can tell De Niro enjoyed making this one.”

ACAs Al Capone in THE UNTOUCHABLES.

“Perhaps the star’s broadest, baddest, most cartoonish villain, a hatefully degenerate Al Capone in Brian De Palma’s vision of crime-ridden Chicago. Thinning hair scraped back and mouth never far from a malevolent smirk, he circles underlings at a black-tie dinner before bringing a baseball bat down on the unlucky head of a greedy cheat.”

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Actually, De Niro’s most cartoonish villain was a role not included in the Telegraph gallery: Fearless Leader in THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE.

The rest of the Telegraph list: King of Comedy; Mean Streets; New York, New York; What Just Happened; Jackie Brown; Meet the Parents; Sleepers; Casino; Falling in Love; Heat; Goodfellas; The Deer Hunter; and Brazil.

MIDNIGHT RUN—”The Movie That Made Robert De Niro Bankable”

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Under the title “The Movie That Made Robert De Niro Bankable,” Vulture is running an excerpt from critic Glenn Kenny’s new book Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor.

Kenny positions MIDNIGHT RUN as De Niro’s initial venture away from maverick filmmaking, his “first foray into middle of the road movies” of the Hollywood mainstream. “It’s Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple with guns,” says Kenny. The appeal of the film rests primarily on the chemistry between De Niro and co-star Charles Grodin; Kenny calls their matchup “inspired.”

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MIDNIGHT RUN ROBERT DE NIRO CHARLES GRODIN.JPG

The film opened well, says Kenny, quoting the New York Daily News, which reported that the movie was “among the nation’s top five box office hits — a select group De Niro rarely inhabits (its returns are already more than the total grosses of such De Niro films as Falling in Love and True Confessions).”  Matt Singer, writing in The Dissolve, states that appreciation for the film has grown over time, that it “has slowly risen in stature thanks to decades of play on cable, VHS, and DVD” and is beloved by many. Actor Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation) considers MIDNIGHT RUN a film that must be seen by everyone. Interviewed by Singer, Scott tells why.

“The Dissolve: Why is Midnight Run compulsory viewing?

Adam Scott: I feel like Midnight Run has every single element I look for in a movie. It’s just kind of a grab-bag of everything. But it also isn’t self-aware at all; it’s just a movie that happens to hit upon everything that satisfies me as a moviegoer. It’s really, really funny. Its action scenes are perfectly done. It’s genuinely suspenseful; it’s scary at times. It’s very sad at times. There are two very real lump-in-the-throat moments. It’s such a whole meal, it’s one of my favorite movies.”

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Scott also highlights the chemistry between the two leading men.

“The Dissolve: Now I’m going to put you on the spot with a Sophie’s Choice: Who is better in the movie, De Niro or Grodin?

Scott: Man, the movie is so dependent upon their relationship and the interplay between those two guys, I absolutely cannot separate them. Like the “litmus configuration” scene. If that was just one of them, and someone else that couldn’t really keep up with the other, it wouldn’t work, and that’s the whole movie. I don’t think it’s possible to parse out those performances; I think one is simply not possible without the other.”

In fact the cast is filled with wonderful actors giving excellent performances. Writing for Hitfix, Alan Sepinwall notes that the picture “provides room for a small army of great character actors doing fine work. I’m not sure Dennis Farina‘s ever been better (and certainly not funnier) than he is as the hot-tempered Jimmy Serrano, Joe Pantoliano delivers one of his funniest, oiliest performances of that phase of his career as Eddie, John Ashton is wonderful as Marvin, Yaphet Kotto‘s temper is so well-used. This is the first movie where I really noticed Philip Baker Hall (who’s mainly on the receiving end of various threats and one-liners as Serrano’s wary attorney Sidney), for instance. It’s just overflowing with ‘Hey, It’s That Guy!’s.”

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But the critical point is this: De Niro is funny. Sepinwall says, “De Niro is one of the greatest actors the cinema’s ever seen, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can deliver an indelible performance. But in light of his career both before and after, his Jack Walsh is kind of startling. Going into the movie, he was known, understandably, as a powerhouse dramatic actor, one with a pair of Oscars on his mantle for playing the young Vito Corleone and Jake La Motta, and though there were sometimes funny moments in his films, he’d never done a pure comedy before. “Midnight Run” was actually something of a consolation prize after he failed to get the Tom Hanks part in “Big,” and though the movie features action, suspense and genuine drama … it’s primarily a comedy, and De Niro is incredibly funny in it. Though it would have been easy for De Niro, director Martin Brest and writer George Gallo to just make Jack the straight man to The Duke, he’s given a wonderful, blunt, sarcastic sense of humor and can play off of every character in the movie. (He’s nearly as funny opposite, say, Yaphet Kotto as Alonzo Mosley as he is with Grodin.) ”

MV5BMTI3NzkwNTgwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk3OTgwMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Kenny concludes: “From this point forward, De Niro would be unstoppable in a new and different way.”

De Niro honors his artist father in new documentary

UntitledRobert De Niro has produced a documentary to honor his late father, the abstract expressionist painter, Robert De Niro Sr. The film, called “Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr.,” has premiered at Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in June.

According to the Associated Press, De Niro Sr., was part of the post-WWII art scene, which produced such talent as Jackson Pollock. He was endorsed by the famed art collector and socialite, Peggy Guggenheim. But while he was successful when he started out, De Niro Sr.’s work went out of style as pop art became the trend.

He died in 1993 at 71, but his story is now being told by his Oscar-winning son. De Niro  also put some of his father’s work on display at the Julie Nestor Gallery in Park City.

Untitled 2Robert De Niro, Sr., Last Painting, 1992, copyright Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr., Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York/ARSNY.

Director Perri Peltz has said of De Niro Sr.: “In some ways his story is the universal tale of the struggling artist who works and works but fails to receive the attention he deserves from critics, collectors or dealers. It begs the question of what is fame and why is it important? Why do some people become famous and receive all of the recognition and benefits of fame while other equally talented people work in relative obscurity? For De Niro, Sr. that lack of recognition was impactful. We gained insight into his struggle and sense of self. “dc48a1925bef473d906ccb97b38bbb75-b01834712e0d4e41b3a6a44894571024-1

GRUDGE MATCH: De Niro vs. Stallone

The new trailer for GRUDGE MATCH has dropped. A comic title bout between two film heavyweights… Jake La Motta vs. Rocky Balboa!

Alan Arkin looks to be hilarious, as usual.

James White at Empire reports:

“Grudge Match follows what happens when two old school boxers, whose careers peaked in the 1980s, are brought back together for one final, grand slam fit of fisticuffs.

It’s all the idea of boxing promoter Dante (Kevin Hart), who spots an opportunity to reunite bitter old rivals Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone), who traded blows and championship belts before Razor announced his retirement before a big deciding match.

Before they get back in the ring, though, the pair meet while filming motion capture scenes for a new boxing game, and the old conflict comes bubbling back to the surface. Soon, the HBO bout is a hot ticket, but can the two old timers make it through training?

While the trailer shows the film is frontloading the laughs, it does appear there’s a fair chunk of emotion running through this one too as the veteran fighters consider their lives and confront old demons, including Billy’s discovery that he has a son (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal).”

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Happy Birthday Robert De Niro

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The Playlist suggests you celebrate by watching this 1999 episode of Inside the Actors Studio.  “For a man with a reputation of being cagey at best in interviews, and even moreso when it comes to details of his personal life, this is a rare chance to see De Niro at his most open and engaging. It’s really a must-watch for any fan of the actor, as he not only discusses his films, but also his parents, childhood and much more. Check it out.”