While conceding he was no stranger to playing “inhumane” characters and that he always tried to “look at it from their point of view”, De Niro said he felt President Trump, currently facing impeachment charges, “is a person who, to me, has no morals, no ethics, no sense of right and wrong, is a dirty player”.
Speaking to the New York Times, he said of his fellow New Yorker: “I wouldn’t want to play him. He’s such an awful person. There’s nothing redeemable about him, and I never say that about any character.”
The comments come from a man who has played delusional psychotics like Travis Bickle, Rupert Pupkin and Max Cady in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976), The King of Comedy (1983) and Cape Fear (1991) respectively – and a literal monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994).
He said the president has blood on his hands over August’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which the shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, posted a white nationalist manifesto on 4chan closely mirroring Trump’s rhetoric.
While De Niro may have little desire to play the president on screen, he has regularly appeared as ex-FBI special counsel Robert Mueller in sketches on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, featuring opposite Alec Baldwin as Trump, a grotesque performance known to have irritated the commander-in-chief.
Johnny Depp has also won praise for his performance as the president in Funny or Die’s spoof adaptation of Trump’s 1987 business manual The Art of the Deal in 2016.
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