Robert De Niro is Meryl Streep’s biggest acting inspiration

Meryl Streep cites Robert De Niro as her biggest acting inspiration

Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep
Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images)

When it comes to movie royalty, the reigning king and queen are unquestionably robert deniro and Meryl Streep. It’s no surprise at all that the pair—who co-starred in The deer hunter, To fall in loveand Marvin’s room—have a good dose of respect for each other. But it’s always nice to hear one legend honoring another, isn’t it?

Streep was in attendance for the University of Texas at Austin’s Celebration of Film, an event that shed light on De Niro and his personal film archive, which has been housed at the university’s Harry Ransom Center since 2005. In a speech about his long friendship with the star, Streep recalled first seeing his future on-screen partner in 1973. Hit the drum slowly, which featured his college friend Michael Moriarty. “Michael was awesome but we all agreed that the kid they found down south, non-actor, clearly non-actor, has an amazing performance. We thought they must have traveled Appalachia to find this guy,” she said.

Not long after, however, she went to see Martin Scorsese average streets. “And there’s the guy, there’s the same kid. And only he is not slow. He’s not from the South. He’s a punk from New York. He’s absolutely mean, this street smart guy who talks fast and we were blown away,” Streep explained. “We went through the credits and saw his name. I said, ‘Oh my God.’ He is italian. It’s Robert DeNiro. He is an actor. And that really blew me away.

Streep said she’s often asked ‘What acting career would you like to emulate’ – and she has plenty of examples – “But, really, the second time I saw Robert De Niro, I thought , that’s the kind of actor I want to be,” she said. “That’s what I want to do. And I want to do it with the commitment and the passion and the skill and the beauty with which it applies, and it has been my beacon for 50 years.

“It’s like some kind of earthquake power of what he could do if he wanted to. … He is a man whose presence in my life for 40 years has been a consoling constant. But I don’t see him very often. We don’t chat. But I know he is, without a doubt, always there for me and always will be,” Streep said, adding that his pal is a “true blue patriot” (why not?). “He is a man who lives by his loyalty to his ideals, to his country and to the people he loves.”

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