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Phone call regarding DeNiro


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September 26, 2008 –

ROBERT De Niro was such a big pain during the making of the 1997 movie “Jackie Brown” that then-Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein had to calm down director Quentin Tarantino.

“This is a great actor and actually a great guy, who’s going through a difficult time . . . I think he’s really having like a scratching-his-head session, you know, with his own life and his own career,” Weinstein says to Tarantino in a phone conversation leaked to Page Six. “I think he knows he can play a certain kind of role from now for the next 20 years. But I think he wants to change the course of his career.”

In the movie, a tribute to '70s blaxploitation flicks, De Niro plays an ex-con named Louis Gara. He apparently believed he should have been paid more. “He thinks he’s going to . . . make John Travolta look like that was an amateur night in Dixie,” says Weinstein in the 11-year-old recording, referring to Travolta’s comeback in Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”

Responds Tarantino: "He’s still dealing with, subconsciously, the fact that he’s not going to get paid for doing the thing that he’s created after 20 years . . . He’s built his reputation on roles like Louis . . . ‘How can you not pay me?’ "

At another point, Weinstein warns Tarantino he might get a “weird midnight phone call” from the star. Tarantino rages: “Tell Bob not to call me yelling and screaming . . . I don’t know if I’m going to be nice [if] the guy calls up yelling and screaming at me like a maniac, calling me a [bleep]er!”

Weinstein’s lawyer, David Boies, said, “We are disappointed that any member of the press is trafficking in illegal tape recordings and compounding the damage by taking them out of context,” referring to the tape that was sent anonymously to Page Six.

De Niro’s rep said, "Unless you were privy to actual conversations . . . I would draw an analogy to the blind man who picks up the tail of an elephant and exclaims, ‘This animal must be quite slender and very wiry.’ "

Holy crap, this is so interesting, thanks for that moussemaker (as always)!

I think I remember reading that De Niro was initially set to play Max Cherry, but this solidifies it. It’s so interesting to hear how these movie producers and directors talk to each other and especially how they talk about actors. It’s like the Hitchcockian thing of “actors aren’t shit, compared to me”. Also, very interesting how Weinstein feels that De Niro’s real-life predicament could play into his role of Louis.

Also, what’s intriguing to me is how someone I thought was humble, actually thinks a lot of himself. It’s unclear whether De Niro made specific reference to Travolta, but in hindsight it was a very fucking stupid thing to say. Travolta’s role as Vincent Vega is untouchable. Nobody could have pulled it off as perfectly as he did. What’s more, De Niro as Gara doesn’t even come in to my top 10 favourite QT characters list. Yeah, he was good in the role, he was very convincing (now we know why, LOL ;D), but no way was it groundbreaking or spectacular. It’s especially surprising given that De Niro actually SET OUT to show people what he’s made of. If he tried and didn’t get very far, what does that say?

Furthermore, when Weinstein mentions De Niro can play a certain kind of a role for next 20 years, what role was that? If he did actually go along and change the course of his career, it effectively became his demise as nothing he has done since 1997’s Jackie Brown has been anything to be particularly proud of. Hey, I love De Niro as much as the next man, but there is no denying that he has fallen off BIG TIME. Such a shame really.

I love when QT talks business because he is so “in-the-know”, and so clinical and ruthless if needs be. QT don’t be fucking around, even if it’s regarding someone who’s considered by many as the greatest living actor. Incredible.

. . . is that for real? quite a wonderful gem. there are at least three people in that conference call: harvey on one end and quentin and another person on the other end. someone called arnold? who is arnold? is the other voice bender perhaps? i’m assuming the lawrence weistein mentions is bender. duh. q.t. and the other person are on speaker phone. its so cool to hear q.t.'s voice with the room echo. the question is: who’s the guilty party who recorded the conversation? was it even recorded by one of the parties in the phone conference? and are there other nixon-esque recordings from the jackie brown production? more please . . .

Responds Tarantino: "He’s still dealing with, subconsciously, the fact that he’s not going to get paid for doing the thing that he’s created after 20 years . . . He’s built his reputation on roles like Louis . . . ‘How can you not pay me?’ " [/quote]

. . . is that statement really accurate? if quentin tarantino says it then it must be valid. but has deniro ever played a role quite like louis before? he’s played many a tough guy: travis bickle and max cady and even vito corleone are a trio of his greatest roles. but the louis character is different from all his others. louis is quite restrained, low key, slow, he doesn’t move that quickly. do you think deniro played the part without personality like that as revenge for not getting the money and the role he wanted?

ooh… wow

I’ve never held much stock in the conversation. It’s like, unless u were there in the moment you can’t really judge. I’ve got a lot of respect for DeNiro and especially QT but to be honest… I hate any and all producers… lol Weinstein’s an assclown.