De Niro has an uncredited role as a gangster in “American Hustle,” and Russell riffed on how the Oscar-winning actor often ends his answers during interviews.
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The festival hosted a tribute to Outstanding Director recipient Russell, who was interviewed onstage for two hours by Roger Durling.
Sometimes I think that ego is really fear. I’m not saying anything new here. But when someone acts important, it’s really covering up the fact that they’re terrified. So if I acted important it’s because really I was terrified,” Russell said before trailing off, which he explains is a classic De Niro trick.
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Watch the video, which comes courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeff Wells, below: