By 1995, the impact of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci on U.S. cinema had long been felt. De Niro had won two Oscars, Pesci had one, and Scorsese was known as the most overdue director in the business (okay, maybe Stanley Kubrick was). Plenty of people who have reached that kind of success and power in the industry often wield it to behave like complete a-holes. Sharon Stone has experience with a lot of those a-holes in her career, but it turns out that the top dogs on “Casino” were not among them. Speaking with Variety, she talked about her horrific experiences with other actors in the past and how De Niro and Pesci definitely didn’t fit into that box:
“I’ve worked with some of the biggest stars in the business, who will literally talk through my close-up, telling me what they think I should do. They’re so misogynistic — now, that is not Robert De Niro. That is not Joe Pesci, that is not those guys. But I have worked with some really big stars who will literally talk out loud through my close-up, telling me what to do. […] That’s not great acting.”
Stories like this make me incredibly angry. Being able to make a living as a working actor is so difficult, and reaching the heights of the profession is rarified air. The ones that end up in that strata know the hard work it takes to get there, and yet they can’t help belittling, demeaning, and disrespecting people doing the exact same job as them. For women and people of color, this vitriol is even worse. I’m happy to hear that the experience on “Casino” was positive for Stone. I’m heartbroken it was a rarity.