Martin Scorsese's new movie, The Irishman, has a stellar cast. It's the movie that brought Joe Pesci out of retirement and also includes the likes of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. De Niro and Pacino are two actors who are frequently grouped together when conversations of the best actors ever are had. They're nearly the same age and have had similar career trajectories over the last few decades.
However, while Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are two icons of a generation of film, they've rarely found themselves together on screen. This makes Martin Scorsese one of the few directors who has worked with the two at exactly the same time. Unsurprisingly, the two have very different working styles. The director recently described to the New York Times how the two actors work differently, and, somehow, it's not shocking to learn that De Niro is more deliberate while Pacino is maybe a bit less so. According to Scorsese...
I suppose I could say that Al tends to go toward fluidity and music while Bob likes to locate states of mind and being, settling in. But that’s just a matter of their instincts and personal orientations, I think. They’re both tremendous artists with powerful ‘instruments,’ as an acting teacher might put it.
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino have combined for 15 Academy Award nominations between them. One or the other of them was nominated in nearly every year of the 1970s. Pacino has one more nomination, though De Niro has two wins to Pacino's single win. It's not hard to see why it's difficult to talk about the career of one without the other.
De Niro and Pacino are both tremendous artists, that much goes pretty much without saying, but as with all art, there are many different ways to create it, and it seems these two come at the craft of acting in very different ways. De Niro is all about "setting in" as Martin Scorsese puts it. He tries to occupy the same head space as his character and use that as his way in.
Scorsese's description of Al Pacino going toward "fluidity and music" is a bit more vague, but one can certainly see the idea of the actor finding a rhythm that connects him to his character. What is clear is that while these might both be great, they get there in very different ways.
While we may have had to wait a long time in between opportunities to see Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together, it appears the wait may have been worth it. The Irishman is getting rave reviews. Many are calling it one of Martin Scorsese's best movies, and even those that aren't going that far are still saying it's a good movie worth checking out. The movie currently has a single negative review on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Irishman is hitting theaters for a limited run beginning Friday, before hitting Netflix later in November.