De Niro Breaks Down

Posted on 20 February 2013

This email was going to be about another one of the Best Actor nominees but something happened the other day that takes precedence over that for the time being.

De Niro broke down in tears during an interview the other day.

You can watch it here:

We are used to seeing him playing the hard man, so thinking about him breaking down in tears may shock you.

It didn’t shock me at all.

What many don’t realise is that when you train to become a Method actor, you become more sensitive to the touch. In some cases hypersensitive.

This is a good thing. In fact, it is what you should be striving towards as an actor.

De Niro was talking about his Silver Linings Playbook character’s struggle to deal with his bipolar condition. This touched him so much he cried.

You see, your vulnerability is a strength. So many people think it is a weakness – but that vulnerability connects you to people in a deep way.

The funny thing about this interview is that he was with co-star Bradley Cooper who, as you may recall from my last email, wailed during a scene and they consequently couldn’t use it.

These men have worked hard at making themselves sensitive. This makes them sensitive not just in their acting but in their own lives. In fact, maybe a better word than ‘sensitive’ is ‘connected’: connected to their feelings and emotions.

This is one of the most powerful abilities you can develop as an actor.