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Robert De Niro looks kind of grouchy. I think we can all admit that. Sure, he’s probably the greatest actor of his generation, but that also just means that he’s pretty much earned the right to not really care about conversations with the media. During a recent interview across the pond, however, De Niro decided to say quite a bit more than usual, before abruptly leaving the discussion.
The incident took place between the two time- Academy Award winner and Radio Times journalist Emma Brockes. The discussion was to promote De Niro’s upcoming turn in The Intern, the Nancy Meyers comedy in which he stars opposite Anne Hathaway. How could anything get so heated over such a light-hearted film? Well, it starts with a certain line of questioning...
Things soon turned nasty between Brockes and Robert De Niro as he took umbrage to her supposed "negative inference" all the way through their interview. After being quizzed about how he avoids going on "auto-pilot" when in roles, the final straw for the actor came when he was asked about "all the bankers" that now live in Tribeca, an area of New York City that De Niro has greatly invested in, and where he hosts a film festival every year.
It was at this point De Niro asked Brockes to turn off her tape recorder. She asked, "Why?" De Niro declared, "Could you just do it?" Brockes finally obliged, which is when De Niro explained he had a problem with her line of questioning, using the aforementioned term "negative inference" to describe her tone.
De Niro then went on a tirade detailing his problems, stating, "All the way through. All the way through, negative inference." Brockes was shocked by the actor’s comments, and asked when she had displayed hostility during their chat. "The whole way through and I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it, darling," De Niro repeated.
This is when it all starts to get a little bit more childish. Brockes insisted that her questions were "reverential," while De Niro was adamant that she'd just been negative. More barbs were thrown, Brockes accused the actor of being condescending, and then De Niro finally left the room.
But who's the real winner out of all this? Well, in the end The Intern mostly, while even Emma Brockes and Robert De Niro will have benefited too. The Intern has suddenly found itself with way more publicity than a simple and pleasant interview would have provided, while Emma Brockes has a much more popular and entertaining story than usual too.
Personally, though, I feel like Robert De Niro probably comes the worse off out of it all because he was there to do his job to promote the movie and he walked out. Sure, if Emma Brockes had been obnoxious and insulting to him, De Niro would be well within his remit to walk out. But, from the looks of the transcript, she was pleasant enough, and De Niro was just projecting his bad vibes onto her.
In the meantime, The Intern is due out on Friday, and if it’s anywhere near as funny as the above then it will certainly be worth your time and money.