Meet the senior intern
De Niro plays retiree who snags job at online fashion site
One cannot help but admire older folks who strive to upgrade themselves even after retirement, a time when they are supposed to kick back, relax and do whatever they want.
Boredom may be the only thing they need to deal with and that is what 72-year-old Robert De Niro tackles head on in his new film, The Intern.
Opening here on Sept 24, the comedy sees the veteran US actor play Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).
"In retirement, there's an ongoing relentless effort in creativity," Ben says in the movie.
"I tried yoga, learnt to cook, bought some plants, took classes in Mandarin - believe me, I've tried everything. I just know there's a hole in my life and I need to fill it. Soon."
While there are the obvious fish-out-of-water moments that Ben experiences while interacting with his many young co-workers, the feel-good comedy also celebrates the wisdom that comes with age and how Ben later becomes a mentor to Jules.
In a way, this movie, written and directed by Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want) mirrors De Niro's esteemed career.
STILL GOT GAME
He can easily retire from showbiz, having chalked up many great achievements. Yet, the two-time Oscar winner is still chugging on, averaging about two movies a year.
Directors are quick to acknowledge this, as having an old hand in a movie often lends weight.
For example, Silver Linings Playbook (2013) may have been all about Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, but without De Niro in the picture as cranky dad-turned-matchmaker, would director David O. Russell have achieved any dramatic depth?
De Niro earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his performance in that movie.
It is probably why Russell cast the trio again for his coming dramedy, Joy.
It is also interesting to note that the De Niro has also been trying new things by working more with actors half his age.
Like in the 2016 comedy Dirty Grandpa, where he teams up with Zac Efron and shows he still has the goods to take on the former teen idol.
In The Intern, Jules learns that having a senior intern around is worth more than gold, especially when Ben becomes her rock when business woes become overwhelming.
"It's always fun to work with more seasoned actors, someone whose work you respect," Hathaway, 32, told Empire magazine.
"I think of age as a fluid thing... when you get to work with someone like Bobby, you have such a beautiful range of work to learn from before you even meet him.
"And then getting to see up close how that body of work came into being is tremendous."