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The War With Grandpa's Rob Riggle Discusses Robert De Niro's Underused Talent - Exclusive

While Robert De Niro is best known for his intense roles in such dramatic classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, moviegoers in more recent years have been fortunate enough to see him in films that are the polar opposite, like the comedies Analyze This, Analyze That, and the Meet the Parents films.

Lucky for fans of his lighter fare, De Niro is following up another acclaimed dramatic turn in 2019's The Irishman with the incoming film The War with Grandpa, a new family comedy co-starring Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour, Cheech Marin, and Rob Riggle. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Riggle said he's thrilled De Niro is up to deliver more laughs, simply because it's a gift of his that fans don't get enough of.

"He doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for his comedy skills — comedy chops, if you will," noted Riggle. "He knows comedy. He knows why things are funny and he knows how to execute. He's fearless, and obviously is one of the most iconic actors of all time. He knows what he knows what he's doing ... I'd love to see him in more [comedies]."

Director Tim Hill agrees that Robert De Niro has a knack for comedy

In The War with Grandpa, De Niro stars as Ed, a recent widower who moves in with his daughter (Thurman), son-in-law (Riggle), and their family, but causes a stir with the couple's son (Oakes Fegley) when he takes over the boy's room. Speaking with Looper in another exclusive interview, The War with Grandpa director Tim Hill said that while De Niro may not traditionally be seen as a funnyman, the two-time Oscar-winning actor is a natural when it comes to the comedy genre.

"He's really smart and he's got good timing. He's done it all. So, he's not going to be challenged, really, here, [with The War with Grandpa]," Hill shared. "He can go anywhere you ask him to. He's just really versatile."

Part of that versatility included some physical comedy — like a scene with Riggle in which De Niro got to show off his strength and, unfortunately for his character, a bit more.

"[De Niro] did a lot of his own, I wouldn't say stunts, but up to the point where you would need a stuntman. He never shied away. He trusted us," said Hill. "He's actually hanging from a pipe in that scene where his pants fall down in front of Rob Riggle. And he did a pull up at the end of the shot just to show us he's strong. The guy is fit. He works out a lot. He played a little older than he actually is, especially in spirit."

The War with Grandpa opens in theaters nationwide on October 9.