Autographs, hugs and posed photographs are among the more usual requests for mementoes when people meet movie legend Robert De Niro.
But on the set of his latest film Last Vegas, which is about four old guys who go on a raucous stag do in Sin City, one of his colleagues notched up a more brutal memory - being punched by the star.
“De Niro comes up and just pops me,” explains Jerry Ferrara, laughing. The Entourage star is punched by the legendary actor when Ferrara’s character is obnoxious towards De Niro’s in the film. “It was great. It was everything I thought it would be,” says Ferrara. “And I’m dead serious when I say that. It was truly a memorable moment for me in my career.”
With five Oscar winners on set, career highs certainly weren’t in short supply during filming.
As well as De Niro, the four other leads are Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas and Mary Steenburgen.
Despite his 50 years in the business and endless impressive accolades, Freeman jumped at the chance work with the others.
“They could have sent me the phone book and I would have taken the part,” says the 76-year-old, letting out a deep hoot of a laugh.
“Last Vegas was a shot at doing a nice one with the icons of my life, a terrific draw. It’s an interesting realisation that we’ve been weaving in and out of each other’s lives and [working together] never came to pass.”
Steenburgen, who is now 60 and scooped the 1981 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Melvin And Howard, reveals she’s pleased to have rid herself of the pressure that younger stars put themselves under.
As well as the added bonus of being a wee bit more mature than the next generation of scene-stealers, the actors had the benefit of access to a lifetime of each other’s work to look back on for reference.
“In a way, it’s not like you’re working with a stranger,” says De Niro, who turned 70 last August.
“We all have had a certain kind of connection over the years, of being aware of each other’s work, and that helps in certain ways, ways that I can’t even articulate now.”
A Fish Called Wanda actor Kline was similarly bowled over by his co-stars, who he said forced everyone to raise their games.
“To work with actors whose work you have admired for years was exciting,” says the 66-year-old.
“The better the actor you’re working with, the better you’re going to be.”