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Robert De Niro To NYU Grads In Commencement Speech: 'You're F--ed'

Robert De Niro had some blunt words for the 2015 graduating class of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in his inspiring yet entertaining commencement speech..

"You discovered a talent, developed an ambition and recognized your passion. When you feel that, you can't fight it you just go with it," the 71-year-old said.

"When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. You aren't just following dreams, you're reaching for your destiny. You're an artist yeah, you're f---ed. The good news is that's not a bad place to start."

He told grads to be prepared for rejection.

"You have to keep working, it's that simple," he said. "Rejection might sting, but my feeling is that often, it has very little to do with you. When you're auditioning or pitching, the director or producer or investor may have someone different in mind, that's just how it is."

"That happened recently when I was auditioning for the role of Martin Luther King in Selma!," he joked. "Which was too bad because I could've played the hell out of that part I felt it was written for me!"

"But the director had something different in mind, and she was right. It seems the director is always right."

"As corny as it sounds, I say, 'Don't be afraid to fail.' I urge them to take chances, to keep an open mind, to welcome new experiences and new ideas. I tell them that if you don't go, you'll never know. You just have to go out there, be bold and go out there and take your chances."

The actor reminded the crowd that he auditioned seven times for the 1973 film 'Bang the Drum Slowly'.

"I don't know exactly what they were looking for, but I'm glad I was there when they didn't find it," he said.

"You didn't get that part? Next! You'll get the next one or the next one after that," he said, closing his remarks this way: "I know you're going to make it. Break a leg. Next!"

"Treasure the associations and friendships and working relationships with the people in your classes and your easily work," he concluded. "You never know what might come from it. I'm here to hand out my pictures and resumes to the directing and producing graduates!"

May 26, 2015 |

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