Robert De Niro Takes the 'Late Night' Age Challenge: Being Older and Playing Younger or Being Younger and Playing Older

Following the release of The Irishman on Netflix, Robert De Niro dropped by Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday to talk about the physical challenges of his role in Martin Scorsese's crime drama.

The late-night host asked De Niro if it's harder to be older and play younger, or be younger and play older. De Niro said that it's harder to be older and play a younger character, "all the way." De Niro identified "the physical spryness of someone younger than myself" as the real challenge.

He explained there was a movement coach on the set of The Irishman, Gary Tacon, who would tap De Niro, 76, on the shoulder and remind him to adjust his posture to that of a 39-year-old man. Meanwhile, the adjustment of his weight was largely achieved in VFX. 

In talking about his collaboration with Scorsese, the actor said that he had been looking for another film for them to do together and eventually came across the book [by Charles Brandt], I Heard You Paint Houses. When he read it, he instantly connected with the material and sent it to Scorsese. The Irishman resulted in their ninth movie together, one that has been viewed by 26 million Netflix members.

Meyers asked the actor if he looks back on his past work with his children, to which he replied that he occasionally shows them his films — but only encourages them if it's a project he thinks they would enjoy.

Moving briefly onto politics, Meyers declared, "The president doesn't like you," in reference to De Niro's many public jabs at the president (earlier this year, he called Trump a "lowlife-in-chief" and Trump responded on Twitter, naming the actor a "very low IQ individual).

He asked De Niro if he's enjoyed his impersonations of Robert Mueller, and how that performance came about. De Niro said he was talking about Mueller at home, and got the idea to do an act of some sort. He called Lorne [Michaels], and the impersonation was set for Saturday Night Live.

The late-night host then praised the "old school, analog" makeup of SNL in contrast to the complex VFX of The Irishman, and De Niro joined him in praising the excellent team over at the NBC stages.