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November 2020, Week 3


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Tue, 17 Nov 2020 03:38:33 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Adam Ganz <[log in to unmask]>
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New book: Robert De Niro at Work: From Screenplay to Screen Performance

By Adam Ganz and Steven Price

Dear Colleagues Can I announce that the latest book in the Palgrave Studies in Screenwriting series, Robert De Niro at Work: From Screenplay to Screen Performance, is now published.

The book is the first critical study to examine how Robert De Niro works with screenplays to imagine, prepare and denote his performance. The book is based on archival research at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.There are chapters on the Robert De Niro Archive, the screenplay as a boundary object and De Niro's influences and ideas of performance. Particular films looked at in detail include Taxi Driver, The Last Tycoon,  New York New York, Raging Bull The King of Comedy,The Untouchables, and Goodfellas. The book also discusses The Irishman and De Niro's ethics of performance. 

In categorising the various ways in which De Niro works with a screenplay, the book re-examines the relationship between actor and text. This book considers the screenplay as above all a working document and a material object, present at every stage of the filmmaking process. The working screenplay goes through various iterations in development and exists in many versions on set, each adapted and personalised for the specific use of the individual and their role. As the archive reveals, nobody works more closely with the script than the actor, and no actor works more on a script than De Niro.

Table of contents:


The Robert De Niro Archive and the Screenplay as a Boundary Object

Influences and Ideas of Performance

Taxi Driver

The Last Tycoon







Professor David Bordwell, Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin–Madison says of the book:

"For someone famous for playing inarticulate characters, Robert De Niro here stands revealed as a probing, subtle reader of the screenplays he inhabits. With unprecedented access to De Niro’s personal scripts for Taxi Driver and other classics, Ganz and Price show how he ponders a role—assembling clippings and video notes, researching costumes and period details, jotting down emotional chords that will blossom into precise expressions, tonalities, and gestures. More broadly, Robert De Niro at Work demands that we rethink how profoundly an actor’s craft shapes the dynamics of screenwriting practice. This plunge into the creative process, deeply informed by a historical awareness of acting traditions, will be of keen interest to aspiring filmmakers and performers. Not least, film fans will gain a new respect for De Niro’s immense gifts." 

Actor Anamaria Marinca gives this endorsement:

 "In this intriguing new book, Adam Ganz and Steven Price document Robert De Niro writing to himself. Reading these intimate internal dialogues, we are reminded of the immense, unsatisfied thirst for illusion that is at the core of our being. The authors demonstrate a profound understanding of the process of acting. Robert De Niro at Work is unique in placing the performer at the centre of the writing process and storytelling by capturing the physical and intellectual relation that actors have to the text, as well as the highly complex journey involved in making it their own."

For more on the book:


For more on Palgrave Studies in Screenwriting:

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