NEW YORK – He's one of our greatest living actors. And he leans to the left. We're not talking politics, I mean literally. In famous role after role after role, Robert De Niro tilts to his left. And he knows it.
Q: Is that a conscious thing?
A: No, but I am aware of that.
Q: Have you been told this before by directors?
A: No. One director told me to stand up more straight, and I was like ...
Q: Did that happen?
A: Not really, I went back to slouching. I have bad posture, whatever ... little ambidextrous thing going.
Q: In his latest film, The Score, with Marlon Brando and Edward Norton, De Niro is a thief called on for one last big heist. There were rumors of some very unusual work habits by Mr. Brando — like he'd show up for a scene without any pants.
A: I'm not gonna say what he did but, you know ... sometimes you're um, doing a car scene and you know that you're only seen from here up, here up, and you just put on whatever you want from there on down, you know, you wear your shorts you wear your sandals, whatever.
Q: But we were told there were no shorts or sandals involved in this.
A: That's, um, a trade secret I couldn't divulge.
Q: What you did divulge is another trade secret you learned from Brando that sounds like it's right out of The Godfather. Wear a wire — sort of, right?
A: Well, he was good, you know, we would improvise certain scenes.
Q: We heard different stories of giant cue cards off camera in some productions. Is that true?
A: No. He uses a little earwick thing, which I heard about and saw. And I even used it in one scene to try because it can be a good thing to work with especially if you are working on a scene and you don't know the lines and you've just gotten the scene the day before.
Q: So, it's like an IFB that newspeople or the FBI wears and somebody is speaking the lines?
A: Yeah, yeah, more or less, more or less.
Q: And you've done that?
A: Yeah, yeah. I felt it was helpful. You just have to make sure the person gives you the line and the proper rhythm and response to the line that's just been given to you.
Q: Maybe that's what you're doing when you lean to the left, trying to hear the next line in the earpiece. And will you ever lean the other way?
A: I could start tilting to the right.