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Robert De Niro. The legend that the man is and has been over the years is all set to be honored with the Life Achievement honor at Sunday's SAG Awards. And when you think of De Niro, you can instantly think of his 'killer' films ranging from Taxi Driver to The Godfather and so many more. However, it is the film, Meet The Parents that had director Jay Roach convinced that he has a comedic talent too.
"I watched him very carefully in Midnight Run, and he plays a bounty hunter capturing people who skipped bail. He's meant to be very dangerous, and Charles Grodin is a somewhat nerdy accountant guy," says Roach, whose Fox News drama Bombshell is currently in theaters. It was this dynamic, he adds, that he envisioned between De Niro and Ben Stiller in his film.
For more than five decades, De Niro has played heroes and villains with nuance and his trademark stoicism across dramas (Raging Bull, Heat, Goodfellas) and comedies (Analyze This, Dirty Grandpa, The Intern). He's earned seven Oscar acting nominations and two wins and will return this year nominated as a producer of The Irishman.
On Jan. 19, De Niro will be feted for his full body of work by his peers at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where he'll receive the lifetime achievement accolade. "It's such a rich, deep and broad, intense body of work," Roach says. "He has fantastic taste. He's a fantastic storyteller himself."