Easily one of the most dynamic actors, writers, producer, director, and overall hyphenates of 20th century American film and now the 21st century, Robert De Niro has been a vital and necessary member of the global film community, whether we are talking about his breakout roles in films such as “The Godfather, Part II,” “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull,” and “Taxi Driver” to his founding of the TriBeCa Film Festival and Institute after 9/11. With such a long and varied career, De Niro has definitely got some fun, if not astounding nuggets of trivia that we’d like to offer to you in this week’s TRUST Trivia. Let’s go!
At one point, De Niro held the record for most weight gained for a role – 60lbs to play Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull.” This record was later overtaken by Vincent D’Onofrio who gained 70lbs to play Gomer Pile in “Full Metal Jacket.” De Niro, a method actor by training, described the weight gain, as “one of the most brutal things I’ve ever put myself through.”
De Niro, born and raised in New York in the heart of Greenwich Village, actually grew up next to his collaborator and friend, Martin Scorsese. Though they did not meet until 1972, upon their introduction, they quickly recognized each other from their childhood neighborhood despite never having interacted once before then. Small world, eh?
According to his biography, while rehearsing and developing his character Travis Bickle for Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” De Niro decided to base the physicality and movement of Bickle on that of a crab; if you pay close attention, much of the character’s movements are static, and then when provoked to move, he shifts from side to side, rarely walking in a straight line or without a listing-style movement.