Robert De Niro scores one for baby-boomers as 'The Intern'

Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:01am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ben Whittaker is 70, retired and discovers that tai chi classes, learning a new language and visiting his grand-kids isn't all it's cracked up to be, so he turns to a new challenge - being "The Intern" at a New York fashion start-up.

Feeling ignored and obsolete is hardly a problem that afflicts veteran actor Robert De Niro, who plays Whittaker in the comedy, out in U.S. movie theaters on Friday.

But the double Oscar winner says the film is a "love letter to our generation."

"We do tend to feel that when you are a certain age, you are less relevant in some ways, and that is not the case," De Niro, 72, said.

As "The Intern," Whittaker joins Facebook for the first time and ends up teaching his 20-something co-workers more than they teach him.

"People getting older are kind of sidelined," De Niro said, but his character in the movie "has the kind of advice that only someone who has been on the planet a lot longer can give."

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers and also starring Anne Hathaway, "The Intern" is a rare big-budget Hollywood hybrid of comedy, romance and drama that aims for multi-generational appeal without patronizing either baby-boomers or millennials.

It's the most high-profile entry in a slew of recent films that celebrate the 50-plus crowd often ignored as movie studios target youth audiences with action-packed superhero fare.   Continued...

Cast member Robert De Niro arrives for the premiere of "The Intern" in New York September 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson