Watch CBS News

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco on advice Robert De Niro gave him during tough "About My Father" scene

Robert De Niro stars in "About My Father"
Robert De Niro stars in "About My Father," new family comedy about Italian American experience 09:59

Renowned comedian Sebastian Maniscalco has achieved incredible success, selling out arenas nationwide with his stand-up performances. But it's his father, Salvatore Maniscalco, who often takes center stage as a common theme in his acts.  

Salvatore Maniscalco said his son was always funny as a kid.

"'Cause he loves stage," Salvatore Maniscalco said. "I mean, when I see him there performing ... I can read his mind, say, 'Yes, that's where I belong.'"

Their father-son bond is highlighted in the upcoming film, "About My Father," which is loosely based on Sebastian Maniscalco's life with his Italian immigrant father. It will be in theaters Friday.

Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro portrays Salvatore Maniscalco in the film.

"You just don't think that Robert De Niro is going to end up playing your father," Sebastian Maniscalco said. "It was like a dream come true."

The movie includes an emotionally charged scene at the end between Sebastian Maniscalco and De Niro, which presented a challenge for the comedian. He had to get emotional and cry on camera, something he had never done before. Seeking guidance, he turned to De Niro.

De Niro told him, "Think about your father when you do this. Think about your father."

It worked, and the comedian said it taught him a lot about "getting to certain places" while acting.

De Niro said his own process is to not force anything.

"Either you have it or you don't," De Niro said. "The worst thing you can do is push something that's not there — better that you don't do anything."

With his diverse range of roles and exceptional performances, De Niro has garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades throughout his career. De Niro said he is honored and flattered to receive praise, but said it makes him uncomfortable.

He also said he is critical of himself when he watches his on-screen performances. 

"I look at myself and some of the things, I say, 'Oh, God. I can't look at that.' Part of it is for vanity. But excluding the vanity part ... what it is that you're doing character-wise, what you're supposed to do, what the task is at hand," said De Niro.  

Aside from acting, De Niro revealed earlier this week that he has welcomed his seventh child.

As for Sebastian Maniscalco, he said his ultimate goal is for his son to look up to him like he looks up to his own father.

While reflecting on having De Niro, a childhood icon, play his father, Sebastian Maniscalco became emotional and said, "it's a big moment for me."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.