6 times De Niro was the gentlest guy ever in ‘The Intern’

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

6 times De Niro was the gentlest guy ever in ‘The Intern’.

The premiere of Nancy Meyer’s heart-warming comedy The Intern takes place on Sunday evening in London’s Leicester Square and RTÉ TEN will be live streaming all the action from the red carpet from 6.15pm. Robert De Niro might be best known for playing gangsters, threatening fathers, boxers and a taxi driver, but the Oscar winner portrays perhaps the kindest, most earnest, gentlest movie character we’ve ever seen in The Intern, in theaters now.Oscar-winning Hathaway plays workaholic founder and CEO of a fashion website who is given 70-year-old De Niro as her new intern in the heartwarming drama.

There’s nothing particularly interesting about it, but it’s smart and entertaining. “She’s one of the few women who can do it all”, noted Meyers, 65, whose directorial resume includes 2009’s It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep, 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give with Diane Keaton, and 2006’s The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. Speaking about De Niro’s character Ben, Hathaway recently said: “Jules has a lot going on, she’s CEO, she knows the speed that her business runs at. At first, Jules is unnerved by Ben and how observant he is, but as Ben gets to know her, house-husband Matt (Anders Holm) and sickeningly cute daughter Paige (JoJo Kushner) they bond and become friends who learn a lot from each other.

Writer/director Nancy Meyers told The Hollywood Reporter she knew she wanted to cast De Niro in the part after seeing him have such a “warmer, quieter presence” in Silver Linings Playbook. In an interview with People Magazine for The Intern, Hathaway teases De Niro for using a flip phone, while the 72-year-old happily jokes about his ignorance of Instagram (relax, he knows what Facebook and Twitter are, but he doesn’t do social media). De Niro and Hathaway nail their performances and had the entire Ziegfeld crowd (which included Mariah Carey and Sting) rolling with laughter, hooting and hollering – particularly during a scene where Hathaway’s interns have to break into her mother’s home to delete an email Jules accidentally sent. Being in the same room as someone you’re a big fan of is a good opportunity to approach them for a chat, but Anne couldn’t bring herself to go near her idol.

De Niro’s performance in “The Intern” has been lauded as being one of his most memorable in the past 20 years, just a notch below his roles in David O. He gets the internship and the film is off and running. “I certainly didn’t go in looking for an argument but when it happened I did think ‘at least he’s finally saying something”. “Being a woman who’s worked my whole life, and a mother of two, I remember vividly what it was like trying to do well at my job and to be sure to make it home in time for dinner”, Meyers explained. He is the wise fatherfigure who slowly finagles his way into her life and warms up to the gaggle of side characters, including Ostin’s stay-at-home husband Matt (Holm) and adorable daughter.

What will make longtime De Niro fans cringe is him spending an endless 30 seconds excessively blinking his eyes or Ben’s silent vocabulary of expressions he uses to communicate with Jules, including a “You go, girl!” look and a “You so crazy!” smirk. Meyer wants to have her you-go-girl cake and savor some classic masculinity, too – the kind that suggests clean hankies are a must-carry in case there’s a crying woman nearby – and these disparate pieces just don’t fit together. “I feel like everybody buys all of their everyday goods from the Internet”, he said, adding that entrepreneurs should take notice of the film’s fictional retailer.

There is also token lip service to the cause of working women, but one appreciates that the writer (also Meyers) understands that not everything needs to be tied up with a neat bow tie. Hathaway was once known for her work in comedies, before she slid into a steady diet of dramas, including Rachel Getting Married, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables (for which she won an Oscar) and last year’s Interstellar. It was really nice, and it’s a great ice-breaker. “I have to say, now that you’re going on about it, it makes me think you were on auto-pilot and you’re super-sensitive about it”, Brockes said. “So, that was a pleasure for me”.

She told host Robin Roberts: ‘I did something bad – he doesn’t. “But, until now, I’ve made a lot of my movies from a place of insecurity and self-doubt”. But one particular interview with the Radio Times set the legendary actor off, resulting in him walking out, saying “I’m not doing this, darling”. But it makes a case for the value of employees of all ages in the workplace, the camaraderie and cooperation that can exist rather than the battle lines often drawn, and the complications that can arise when an e-commerce company exceeds its five-year goals in a matter of months.

At different points in the film, “The Intern” comments on the tension between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers, and a Hathaway monologue derides the 21st century man-child who has forsaken shaving and handkerchiefs. Jules’ offices are a bustling pressure-cooker of go-getters and panicked deadlines, all fixated on how many customers are clicking past their fastidiously crafted home page.

Ben is injected into this world and sets about his unwitting work, bonding with the other interns, helping Jules’ beleaguered assistant Becky (Christina Scherer), and even taking Paige to a birthday party. The second half of the film gets better, not because the modest twists and turns create suspense, but because Meyers finally gets past the surface level of her characters and digs into the meat of her story. As an actor, it is surreal to see De Niro staring into a mirror, aping his iconic “You talking to me?” face-off from almost 40 years ago in “Taxi Driver.” It is far more than time that separates Ben from Travis Bickle.

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