Robert DeNiro’s approach to acting

By Michael Karpienski | Last Updated: November 18, 2023
Robert DeNiro is one of the greatest actors of our time, and one of the most famous method actors in the industry. Method acting is an acting technique when an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a role or character for a project. DeNiro is well known for his immersive acting approach and his extensive research towards character development, which brings authenticity to each role he plays. One example of this is while he was preparing for his 1976 movie Taxi Driver, DeNiro actually got his taxi license and drove a taxi for months to get in the right headspace for the role. All to become the legendary character, Mr. Travis Bickle.
In an interview with Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino says “I’ve never seen an actor so completely consume himself in character – in true character work during [the shoot]. When Robert is playing Louis and you’re looking at every single piece of footage… he is Louis. He is working moment to moment.” He continues: “Some acting people suggest something to the effect of ‘there’s a zillion choices out there and any one of them is possible and any one of them is great.’ I don’t believe that at all. If you’re really in character you only have a few choices [about how to react when something happens]. DeNiro has that down.”
Together, our team at Upandupspace, chose some pieces of advice from Robert DeNiro himself:
“A lot of young actors have the idea that: ‘I’ve got to do this right. There’s a right way to do this.’ But there’s no right or wrong. There’s only good and bad. And “bad” usually happens when you’re trying too hard to do it right. There’s a very broad spectrum of things that can inhibit you. The most important thing for actors – and not just actors, but everybody – is to feel loose enough to create what you want to create, and be free to try anything. To have choices.”
“Personally, I always try to listen, because maybe I’m not getting something… It’s important to listen to everyone, as many people as you can, and get their input. But then finally you have to make your own decision about what you’re going to do, and that's it. That’s what you feel and that’s it. And that’s the most important thing, I think. The MOST important thing. Because that’s where the uniqueness comes in. Because it’s you. You’ve done it… It’s not anybody else’s. It’s YOUR choice.”
“The talent is in the choices.”
“In acting, I always try to go back to what would actually be the real situation, the real human behavior in life.”
“You draw on whatever’s relevant to the part you’re playing; it makes it more personal.” “One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price.
“It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.”
“You don’t need words to express feelings.”
“There is only one way to gain access to the truth and that is to not expect anything.”
“You don’t just play a part. You’ve got to earn the right to play it.”
Tarantino Interview

ENTERTAINMENT

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BROADWAY SHOWS

1. JAJA’S AFRICAN HAIR BRAIDING

Jocelyn Bioh's Broadway playwriting debut is about a group of West African immigrant women working in a Harlem hair braiding salon Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Opening: October 3, 2023
Writer: Jocelyn Bioh
Director: Whitney White

2. GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!

The original stars of The Book of Mormon reunite in the Broadway premiere of the hit Off-Broadway musical comedy.
Theatre: James Earl Jones Theatre
Opening: October 12, 2023
Writers: Scott Brown & Anthony King (book, music & lyrics)
Director: Alex Timbers

3. MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

The first ever Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical will open in Fall 2023 after its sold-out runs Off-Broadway and in London's West End..
Theatre: Hudson Theatre
Opening: October 10, 2023
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez, Krystal Joy Brown, Katie Rose Clarke, Reg Rogers
Writers: Stephen Sondheim (music & lyrics), George Furth (book)
Director: Maria Friedman

MOVIE RELEASES

Cat Person, directed by Susanna Fogel, 10/6

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,directed by Sam Wrench, 10/13

Killers of the Flower Moon,directed by Martin Scorsese, 10/20

The Holdovers,directed by Alexander Payne, 10/27

Five Nights at Freddys,directed by Emma Tammi, 10/27

FILM FESTIVALS

Dumbo Film Festival, 10/19-10/22
NYC Short Film Festival,10/21
NY LGBTQ+ Film Festival,10/12-10/24
Bushwick Film Festival,10/25-10/29
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