December 2002
Analyze That : Trying Comedy : A Q&A with Robert DeNiro

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Analyze That : Trying Comedy : A Q&A with Robert DeNiro

It is hard to imagine that in all these years of watching Robert DeNiro perform and be in the great roles he created, that his latest film ANALYZE THAT, would be the 1st sequel to a film he came back for. Before anyone starts thinking, no, his only appearance in the Godfather trilogy was in Godfather Part 2. ANALYZE THAT is the sequel to ANALYZE THIS, which reunites Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal as the mobster and his shrink, respectively. At a recent press conference at the Essex Hotel in NYC, Mr. DeNiro talked about his role in ANALYZE THAT.

WM: With the success of ANALYZE THIS, was there any pressure to making this film just as good and was there any hesitation in rejoining the cast?

RDN: There was hesitation at first, but I thought that there was nothing to lose and we could have some fun and why not.

Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro in Warner Brothers' Analyze ThatWM: How did you feel about doing more physical comedy in the sequel?

RDN: The point was to have fun doing it. You’re never sure if it’s going to work. You just try your best. Sometimes I wouldn’t be comfortable with the scenes, but I would do anyway. If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so go ahead and do it. Some of the stuff I thought was fun and I wasn’t sure if I could execute it or not, so that was it.

WM: How do you comedy after 9/11 and why make it here in NYC?

RDN: Well, you have to do it in NY because the film takes place in New York and all the other reasons. That’s a given.

Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal and Joe Viterelli in Warner Brothers' Analyze That WM: Can you talk about the research you did in the regards to the therapy part in the film?

RDN: We had a very good technical advisor and we would go along with these group sessions at Bellevue Hospital. That was very interesting. There was a material to get from there. The things people do are amazing. The singing was worked out with a vocal coach and I tried my best.

WM: Does having a great chemistry off-screen make a difference when performing on-screen because you and Billy (Crystal) were hilarious?

RDN: I think it makes a big difference if you relate to each other. It does help a lot. It can work and it’s fine unless the relationship is such that that kind of rapport is not needed and then it’s okay. The audience will never know or notice or whatever. In our case, it does help. We like each other. We respect each other and have fun. We’re both from NY. Harold (Ramis) is unfortunately from Chicago, but that’s okay too.

Robert De Niro in Warner Brothers' Analyze That WM: Have you thought about how much comedy you are able to display into this film?

RDN: Well, I won’t try to be too funny because I may poke myself. But it’s fun to do. I could comedy in a certain like the way I do other stuff down the line and take more chances. I have to do in a way where I can sense the humor in a situation and the irony. “Meet The Parents” is a little different obviously and that’s not the character I play in ANALYZE THIS and ANALYZE THAT. I felt subtle in another way. We might do a sequel to “Meet the Parents” or plan on it and that too would be interesting. We’ll see how that goes.

WM: With this film being a sequel, did you ever consider doing sequels to any of your previous films like “Taxi Driver” or “Raging Bull?

RDN: “Taxi Driver” was actually talked about at one point between me and Marty (Martin Scorsese) and Paul Schrader. This was about 10 years ago and I was one of the people pushing for it but we could never get it together. As for “Raging Bull”, there was never any talk.

Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro in Warner Brothers' Analyze ThatWM: How important is humor in your life on a daily basis and do you use it to get out of situations and jams?

RDN: Sometimes. If I in a situations where we are having a serious meeting about life and death, what can you but not do but make a funny comment about something. Let’s not take it that serious but we’re in such a serious situation we might as well have a few laughs along the way.

WM: Do you still look for the darker roles that you did in late 70s and 80s?

RDN: If there were something that comes along that’s darker and well written, I’d definitely consider it. I’m doing a movie called “God Said No” which is sort of a thriller. It’s similar to “The Sixth Sense” genre. There’s nothing humorous about that.

WM: It’s been reported that you will be directing a film about the origins of the CIA called “The Good Shepard”. Is your choice to do that subject any way related to what’s going with the CIA now?

RDN: I’ve always been interested in the subject before “The Good Shepard” script, written by Eric Roth, came along. I’m finally going to get done and it’s a two-part thing. “The Good Shepard” is the first part. The whole intelligence system is fascinating to me.