Robert De Niro Walked Out Of An Interview That Turned Confrontational

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Robert De Niro stars in The Intern, a comedy about a retired widower who jumps back into the job market as a senior intern for a fashion website (run by Anne Hathaway). The veteran actor attended a London press junket, which ended in De Niro walking out of a Radio Times interview. The trouble began when journalist Emma Brocke (who described De Niro as “depressed”) asked how De Niro avoids falling into “autopilot” mode on set. In response, De Niro asked Brocke to turn off her recorder. Brocke said De Niro paced the room and threatened to stop talking because of “negative inference.”

The negative implication isn’t hard to figure out. Critics have long spoken of De Niro in terms of pantomiming through several movies, including the Fockers series, for paycheck roles. De Niro’s still best known for his Scorsese roles, but dynamite parts don’t come around too often. He’s hit a new stride with roles in David O. Russell movies, but De Niro may still be sensitive about those rough years. Here’s part of the exchange as reported by Brocke:

“Wait, but I asked that question to establish how it is you manage not to be on autopilot.”

“There’s a negative inference.”

“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.”

“You’re probably not even aware that you’re doing it. The negative inference.”

“That’s quite a presumption.”

“I’m a very good reader of character.”

“So am I … I’m not doing this, darling.”

Brocke later called De Niro “condescending.” She told The Independent she felt “sympathy” for De Niro for enduring a lengthy junket, which she says “nobody wants” to attend. She admits “losing my cool” because she expected De Niro to utter one-word answers and was surprised at his “hostility.” Brocke insists she didn’t try to offend De Niro, but she did admit thinking, “at least he’s finally saying something.”

Was De Niro’s walkout reasonable?

(Via The Independent)