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Why Is Robert De Niro Making Bad Role Choices?

Goodfellas, Warner Bros.

What has happened to the great actors in the ever-changing present landscape of Hollywood movies? Aging actors are making questionable role choices, but are they the ones to blame for these roles? One actor who recent has come under the microscope for his career choices is Robert De Niro. Ever since the early 2000’s, De Niro has been in a lot of lackluster films, usually taking B roles that fans write off as him cashing in a paycheck for the sake of building his retirement.

De Niro’s recent bad film’s include What Just Happened, Killer Elite, and Bad Grandpa. These films come in the wake of multiple Meet the Fockers sequels. What happened to the De Niro that gave us great films like Heat, Goodfellas, Awakenings, and The Deer Hunter. On Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast, De Niro co-star Illeana Douglas says that it isn’t De Niro’s fault, and we should place the blame with the current Hollywood landscape. Douglas worked with him in Goodfellas and Cape Fear, and she talks about her experiences on-set:

“I think that, and I can only comment as an outsider and having worked with him on a film like Goodfellas, the environment that was created to play and to make a work of art, that no longer exists. You know, you’re talking about an environment where Marty [Scorsese] made crew members remove their watches. Where, on the set of Cape Fear, De Niro caught somebody looking at their watch and the person is yelled at, because it was like: ‘we are making art.’ And it must be very challenging to be in an environment where it’s like ‘Yeah we have an hour, let’s get this shot, let’s get this shot’, and so if nobody else cares, why should you care?”

Taxi Driver, Columbia Pictures
Robert De Niro struck gold with his performance in ‘Taxi Driver.’ Image:

The State of Hollywood

With the recent influx of superhero films taking center stage at every studios priority list, followed by summer blockbusters, there is little room left for adult-directed dramas. De Niro is forced to take roles in cost-effective comedies and not dramas.  His acting skill shines in drama, but all hope is not lost. There is a drama in De Niro’s future, his next movie, Hands of Stone, opens in theaters on August 26.

Brad Repka
I am an avid lover of all things Movies, TV, Games, and delicious other randomness. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comment!