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Jesse Plemons has been acting since he was a child. Since his first role in a Coke commercial at age 3, he’s worked opposite actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christian Bale and with directors like Steven Spielberg in movies such as The Master, Hostiles, and The Post. But nothing prepared him for the experience of working on his latest film, The Irishman. 

His role in ‘The Irishman’

Jesse Plemons
Jesse Plemons | Jason Mendez/Getty Images

Martin Scorcese’s newest movie The Irishman — based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses — follows Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a hitman and union official who claimed to have been responsible for Jimmy Hoffa’s murder. Al Pacino plays Hoffa in the film, which also stars Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, and Anna Paquin.

Plemons, 31, plays Chuckie O’Brien, the right-hand man to the mob-connected Teamsters president. O’Brien is thought by some to have played a pivotal role in Hoffa’s still-unsolved 1975 disappearance, allegedly driving him to meet with his killers.  

Plemons says working with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino was ‘nerve-wracking’

During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Myers on October 23, Plemons talked about what it was like to work with screen legends De Niro and Pacino. 

Myers asked about a scene where Plemons is driving a car with Pacino and DeNiro in the backseat. The actor shared that filming that sequence was actually pretty stressful. 

“You read it on the page and you think, ‘Yeah, I’m driving a car,’ Plemons said. “But then when you have De Niro and Pacino in tow. I mean, I was probably only going about 30 miles an hour tops, but [when] you’ve got two national treasures that you’re responsible for it’s pretty nerve-wracking.” 

He says watching De Niro and Pacino work was ‘incredible’

When he wasn’t worrying about crashing a car carrying two of the most celebrated actors in America, Plemons has said he was able to watch the pair work together and study their chemistry.

“It was just incredible to witness,” he told A.M. New York. “[T]hey have such different, unique styles but my favorite scene was the second meeting that Hoffa has with Tony Pro [Stephen Graham] when he shows up in the shorts. Frank is just trying to reel him in, but he’s also so entertained by his temper, you know? They’re just an odd and incredible pairing.”

But Plemons told Myers that he didn’t really try to pick his Oscar-winning co-stars’ brains for acting tips. “I tried to be as respectful as possible,” he explained. “I think the biggest lesson is just sitting back and watching and listening.” 

But the Friday Night Lights actor did find one thing he could talk about with the star of Raging Bull and Taxi Driver: the current commander-in-chief. 

“My conversations with De Niro mainly consisted of talking about Trump,” he said. “It was my in.” De Niro has been vocal in his criticisms of the president, calling him a “gangster” and saying that he “can’t wait to see him in jail” in a recent interview with the Guardian

The Irishman is in select theaters on November 1 and streaming on Netflix from November 27.