New York, September 26 : An 11-year-old recording of a telephonic conversation reveals that Robert De Niro was such a big pain during the making of the 1997 movie "Jackie Brown" that Quentin Tarantino was quite angry with him, and then-Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein had to calm down the director.
"This is a great actor and actually a great guy, who's going through a difficult time . . . I think he's really having like a scratching-his-head session, you know, with his own life and his own career," the New York Post quoted Weinstein as telling Tarantino on the phone.
"I think he knows he can play a certain kind of role from now for the next 20 years. But I think he wants to change the course of his career," Weinstein said during the conversation.
The movie, a tribute to '70s blaxploitation flicks, features De Niro as an ex-con named Louis Gara.
From the conversation between Weinstein and Tarantino, it appears that the actor believed that he should have been paid more for his role.
"He thinks he's going to . . . make John Travolta look like that was an amateur night in Dixie," says Weinstein in the recording, referring to Travolta's comeback in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction".
Tarantino reponds: "He's still dealing with, subconsciously, the fact that he's not going to get paid for doing the thing that he's created after 20 years . . . He's built his reputation on roles like Louis . . . 'How can you not pay me?' "
In the recording, Weinstein also warns Tarantino that De Nero could get a "weird midnight phone call".
Tarantino rages: "Tell Bob not to call me yelling and screaming . . . I don't know if I'm going to be nice (if) the guy calls up yelling and screaming at me like a maniac."
Weinstein's lawyer, David Boies, said: "We are disappointed that any member of the press is trafficking in illegal tape recordings and compounding the damage by taking them out of context," referring to the tape that was sent anonymously to Page Six.
A representative for De Niro said: "Unless you were privy to actual conversations . . . I would draw an analogy to the blind man who picks up the tail of an elephant and exclaims, 'This animal must be quite slender and very wiry.'"