Favorite badass characters: Jimmy Conway
Robert De Niro’s Jimmy Conway character is based on real-life mobster Jimmy Burke, aka Jimmy ‘The Gent’ or ‘The Big Irishman’, an ex-bricklayer believed to have orchestrated the $6m Lufthansa heist in 1978 and then killed 10 of those who took part. To portray him, De Niro plundered writer Nicholas Pileggi’s unused notes and obsessively asked the real Henry Hill for details about the real Jimmy — how he held his cigarette, used a ketchup bottle, reacted to various situations, etc.
When I talk about recreating the spirit of that world, the music is as important as the dialogue and the behavior. From 1947 on, music scored what was happening in the streets, the back rooms. And it affected, sometimes, the behavior of the people, because this music was playing in the streets. Jukeboxes were brought out during the summer. Windows were open, and you could hear what everybody else was listening to. It expresses the excitement of the time. Simply, it’s the way I saw life. The way I experienced life. - Martin Scorsese.