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What is it that makes us love certain actors? What is it in their voice, their looks, their smile, a glance that just captures us for life? Actors love Bob’s work because it’s unfailingly honest and it’s uncluttered—he’s relentless in his desire to find just the right detail—the little thing that’s gonna tell you everything about a man. After The Deer Hunter, he and I made Falling In Love, and I had the privilege of watching his process. In a wardrobe test, for three hours, he tried on thirty-seven identical little boxy jackets—windbreakers. To me, they looked identical. But, he’s checking the cuff, the collar, the zip—‘up, no, down, down, yeah, no, yeah, down’—until he found the right one. And the right one was the right one because it signified. It told you everything about this guy’s socioeconomic status. It showed you his modesty and his precision. It was just tan. It was ignorable, but that’s different from unimportant. Details are important, and Bob knows that. He changed everything for generations of actors. He took Brando’s lesson in authenticity, which is claiming the moment for what an actor really feels, and then he just pushed it a little further in imaginative scope, shapeshifting his outside without ever compromising the soul of his character. In the brilliant and mundane and telling choices and details that accumulate to make a life’s work, we take the measure—the full measure—of Robert De Niro—this formidable actor; this fine, fine man.
Meryl Streep on Robert De Niro, x (via silverblueandgold)
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