Exhaust all the possibilities

It’s always fascinating to know how different people go through the creative process. Here’s Robert De Niro, interviewed back in 1993 by the NYT as he directed his first film, A Bronx Tale. The whole piece is worth reading, which you can do here.

By February, the cutting room was lined floor to ceiling with reels, a consequence of De Niro’s having printed all the film he shot. As the October release date grew nearer, he worked 18 hours a day, fueled by double espressos with five sugars, and the irrefutable knowledge that his credibility and that of his four-year-old company was at stake.

All summer, De Niro reviewed every bit of film, sifting through it like a prospector panning for gold.

“You can find a look, a moment, a glance,” he explained. “It’s more arduous, tedious, but necessary.”

“When you think you got it, go back again and again,” he said repeatedly, “exhaust all the possibilities.” At times he edited the film two ways, and sent a cassette of both versions to Scorsese.

“It was almost like an exam,” Scorsese says. “He knew the answer and he just wanted to see if I had the same answer.”

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Exhaust all the possibilities