Designing De Niro

De Niro’s use of biblical text for inspiration to create Max Cady for Scorsese’s 1991 classic “Cape Fear”, provides not only the iconic film imagery we are now familiar with but also an insight into his character’s state of mind, class and ambitions. Already well documented is the length to which some actors go in order to inhabit and become character’s in film and theatre from gaining and losing weight, time spent studying their character and their worlds and so on. In Cape Fear, we already know of De Niro getting a dentist to grind down his teeth for the film, however, here’s more detail from his diaries that shed further light into the creation of Max Cady the anti-hero who mesmerises us all in the film. The research materials from the De Niro’s diaries reveal how he used the bible as a reference source, in particular,  biblical influence on…

Yasuke: The Black Samurai

Yasuke was of black African origin and who served under the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 1581 and 1582, as a Samurai. According to historical accounts, Yasuke may have been a Muslim who originated from Mozambique,  Portugal, Angola or Ethiopia.  Described as healthy and good-looking with a pleasant demeanour, tall (at least 6 ft. 2 in.) and had a very strong, and intimidating presence.  Yasuke quickly rose through the ranks becoming Nobunaga’s chief warrior and was given his own residence and a ceremonial katana by Nobunaga. Nobunaga eventually made Yasuke his bodyguard and a samurai in 1581 and was stationed at Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle. Mitsuhide, who was one of Nobunaga’s trusted vassals, who later went onto to betray his Lord at Honnōji, dismissed Yasuke as “a beast” and not a true samurai because he wasn’t Japanese. Yasuke offered his sword to Mitsuhide, as was customary, and returned to the service of the…