TODAY

TODAY   |  September 13, 2013

De Niro: ‘I can relate to’ new mob character

Robert De Niro is no stranger to mob movies, but in “The Family,” he plays a mobster in the witness protection program, living in Italy. He talks to Matt Lauer about working on the film and his upcoming projects.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> each other 25 years.

>> wow.

>> and you just turned 70.

>> yes.

>> i haven't aged a bit in that time.

>> you haven't?

>> no, how do you feel?

>> i feel okay. i look at -- i feel the same inside. very little difference. you always hear that from people when they're older. i don't even like to say the word older but then i look at myself and i realize i am older.

>> i look back at a transcript of an interview we did a long time ago and we talked about were you nervous about turning 50. did the milestone of 70 strike you differently than 50 or 60?

>> it didn't really. it did. it didn't. i'm okay. i'm okay.

>> you seem like you're okay.

>> i stay in shape. i keep active.

>> you keep working. which is really good.

>> yeah.

>> this movie is fun. you're with michelle pfeffer in this movie. you had been in the same movie before but didn't have scenes together. what was it like with her?

>> it was great. michelle was great. i wish we had been able to do stuff earlier in our careers. nothing just came along but maybe in the future we'll have something. because she was terrific.

>> the way you shot this, you were in a pretty remote location.

>> yeah.

>> so you spent more time with the cast and crew than you would shooting in new york or los angeles . did you like that? or was it too much of a good thing.

>> no, it was a great. we were in a compound and this whole postproduction set up in normandy and it was very, very nice.

>> this is what michelle pfeffer said. he is such an icon. there maybe five actors that have god-like status for me. i'm not sure she was talking about you. but she did mention your name. when you hear that, and you start to work on a set with younger actors and even younger crew members, are you conscious of the effect you might be having on them when you show up for work.

>> no. no. i mean, i don't like -- i like to -- if there is that at all i always like to make people feel at ease at the end of the day . that stuff goes away quickly i think.

>> but do you think you have a responsibility in term of the way you react. if i'm a 23-year-old grip on a movie or 16-year-old extra on a movie and i'm standing there on set, you walk by i might be thinking this is robert bleeping de niro . do you feel a responsibility to conduct yourself in a certain way?

>> no, just to be nice and put them at ease. that's all you need to do.

>> the character in this movie, one of the things he does to keep busy, he writes a memoir. have you ever thought of that?

>> i have thought about it. it's not that easy, really. i've thought of doing it with someone. you never know.

>> some people write memoir, they go chronological. they start in the beginning and other people start with a chapter which is the most important event in their lives. how would you do that?

>> i don't know. i don't know, where i would start. god, that's a good question.

>> is there a moment though in your life that you think is the moment that's kind of changed your life the most or created who you are the most?

>> well, there are so many things that i have and ways to look at it. i don't know where to begin. that's the problem. i'm sorry, you know, i only thought maybe of doing a movie about -- not my life but things that i understood as sort of a kind of auto -- not really auto biographical but stuff that i relate to. it has to be connected to something that you can make it personal with.

>> but also when you write a book, you sit down to write a memoir these days, it seems that publishers want you to go deep into stories that people never heard before. you also seem to be a pretty private person.

>> right.

>> would you be willing to give the publisher the kind of things that they can go out and sell books on.

>> probably not.

>> it would be a very short book.

>> yeah.

>> what's your next project? you have last vegas coming up.

>> yes.

>> we spent time together on the set of that movie which was supposed to be las vegas , but down in atlanta. you've seen it. what do you think?

>> it's good and it's hard for me to tell. you have to see it with an audience. i didn't see it with an audience so i'm going to see it again when we open it and go to the premiere i'll see it. i hear the reaction is good.

>> the cast in this one is you and michael douglas and morgan freeman and kevin kline .

>> yeah.

>> it's about as good as it gets.

>> we had a good time.

>> yeah? what else is happening now? what else do you have in the works.

>> did a movie with stallone called grudge match .

>> someone described that as rocky versus raging bull ?

>> that's sort of the sub text. it's more about -- it's these two aging fighters, guys our age who didn't have their last match their third match and i'm trying to get him to do it and he didn't want to do it and so on and so forth and finally we do. and well, you know, we actually -- the director shot it -- the ending like three ways where i win and he wins or we both win or lose. so there were so many extras and so on around that he didn't want to give it away.

>> that's cool.

>> it's always nice to catch up with you. happy belated birthday.

>> thank you.

>> it's good to see you again.

>> good seeing you.