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Robert De Niro Sounds Off On Acting, Directing, And Donald Trump

A hit song by Bananarama in the ’80s told us that Robert De Niro’s Waiting. Tonight, on Real Time with Bill Maher, he finally got the chance to get a few things off his chest.

Maher tried to balance things between show business chat and trying to draw out De Niro on a few political topics. He acknowledged the actor’s greatness by reading off a laundry list of films enhanced by De Niro’s work, and asked what goes into deciding which film to work with.

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“I see the possibility,” he said. “Some I’ve been involved with from the inception. They’re movies I’ve felt were worthy. I think I have a pretty good average. I just pick certain things, that I feel are good, well-written, or smart, or the director’s good. Scorsese, I just go with him no matter what’s he going to do.”

Asked whether there was anything he missed out on, De Niro had a surprising choice: The Silence of the Lambs. He said he was taking too long to think about doing the Hannibal Lecter role, and director Jonathan Demme just moved on to Anthony Hopkins. “I don’t regret it,” De Nir said. “That’s just what happened.”

De Niro was asked to reflect on his directing of two films, The Good Shepherd and A Bronx Tale. Why didn’t he do more of that?

“It takes a lot of work to direct a movie,” De Niro said, adding, “If you do a film, you make it your own.” He enjoyed working with kids who were not actors, De Niro said, noting that they had to “be from that world” in order to be convincing.

Can the 80-year-old De Niro keep going? “I hope I can. I’m very busy,” he said. “I keep going because I know if you don’t keep going, you will atrophy and dry up.”

Because De Niro is President Joe Biden’s age, he was asked about the age question that stalks the president.

“This whole thing about him and his age – the bottom line is it’s Biden versus Trump, and we want to live in world we enjoy.” Vote for Trump, “and we get the nightmare. Vote for Biden and it’s back to normalcy.”

Maher tried to draw De Niro into a deeper analysis, asking why many current polls show Trump winning decisively. De Niro claimed not to know, saying that he supported Biden because “I don’t want to feel the way I did after the election of 2016. The guy is a total monster.”

De Niro went on to call Trump “a mean, nasty, hateful person – I’d never play him as an actor.” De Niro avoided Trump in New York, calling him a “clown,” but adding, “He’s a classic bully. He’s got to be stopped.”

But even bullies have to trade on something that people like, Maher pressed. He then asked about the New York plan to post the National Guard in the subways, which De Niro seemed surprised to hear.

He did concede, at Maher’s urging, that there’s a lack of common sense on the left and the right.

The panel portion of the show featured Max Brooks, host of the YouTube show Max Brooks Breaks Down and New York Times best-selling author of Minecraft: The Village, and Tara Palmeri, senior political correspondent at Puck and host of The Ringer’s Somebody’s Gotta Win with Tara Palmeri podcast.

All were on the same pro-Biden page, and spent their time strategizing on the best message to win the President his re-election. Of his State of the Union speech, Palmeri set a low bar. “He showed ‘I am not a zombie,'” adding that he’s now “on his anti-zombie tour.”

Brooks was a bit more enthusiastic, claiming Biden was the best president since FDR, something even Maher found a little hard to swallow.

In his “New Rules” editorial, Maher offered his Second Annual Cajones Awards, given to those who fought cancel culture and offered “outstanding achievement in growing a pair” in the face of cancellation.

Trophies went to the Dartmouth President for reinstituing SATs, Garth Brooks for still selling Bud Light in his Nashville bar, and J.K. Rowling, given a lifetime achievement award for her views on transgenderism.

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