- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wise guy movie icon Robert De Niro opens up in a new HBO documentary about his openly gay father who struggled to make a name for himself as an artist.

In “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.,” the “Taxi Driver” actor remembers his father 20 years after his death from cancer and walks the camera crew through his father’s final home and art studio in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.

The younger De Niro has kept the studio exactly as his father left it, filled with books, paintbrushes, and hundreds of canvases, Out magazine reported in an exclusive interview with the Oscar-winning actor.

“It looks like pop stepped away for a coffee and should be back to finish another still life before dinner,” the magazine said.

In the documentary, Mr. De Niro, 70, reads intimate passages from his father’s diaries about the torment he faced as a gay man and starving artist.

“He probably was [conflicted about his homosexuality], being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate,” Mr. De Niro told Out. “I was not aware, much, of it. I wish we had spoken about it much more. My mother didn’t want to talk about things in general, and you’re not interested when you’re a certain age. Again, for my kids, I want them to stop and take a moment and realize that you sometimes have to do things now instead of later, because later may be 20 years from now — and that’s too late.”

The Oscar-winning actor agreed the film was a sort of a “coming-out” for his father.

“It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him. I was always planning on doing it, but never did,” he told the magazine. “You can’t hide anything. That’s the whole point — the truth. That’s what people are attracted to. I should have done this 10 years earlier, but I’m glad I did it now.”

Out explains that at one point, Mr. De Niro made a last-ditch effort to rescue his father, who was sick in Paris, where he’d been living as a starving artist.

“It’s clear that De Niro regrets that he wasn’t able to help him more before he died, and the film becomes a moving portrait of a son who wants to resurrect his father’s legacy before it’s too late,” the magazine said.

“Remembering the Artist” premieres on HBO June 9.

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