Harvey Keitel, his rare appearance on a talk show
Transcribed by K Arai

Conan: Thank you so much for coming here. Great to have you.

Harvey Keitel: Thank you. The actor will be out later, the master of illusionists is here now though. (referring to the next guest David Copperfield)

C: Yes, you are the master of illusionists.

H: I am, yes. What is that? (takes off a coin from Conan's ear)

C: Wow! You can take Copperfield to town with that trick.

H: I got it out of his dimes. Well, forget that...

C: You stole that coin. Well, first of all, congratulations -- #1 movie. This is exciting. It's a movie about heroes but
before we getting into that, you yourself performed a heroic deed, did you not?

H: Oh...

C: Now don't be shy. You wanna hear about this, don't you? (applause from the audience) What did you do? This is exciting.

H: Well, long time ago...

C: You told me to ask you about this. You gave me 50 bucks.

H: At the New York critics film awards, I was sitting down having my dinner.It was the year that Robert De Niro was nominated for Mean Streets for the best supporting actor. I was eating and all of sudden there's a huge commotion - and I'm eating, turned around. A group of people gathered around, they're allscreaming and making noise. I got up, and walked over to see what the commotion was - there were a lot of people. I remember when I went in the middle of the crowd they were all like very excited. I get to the middle of the crowd - some men holding a woman upside down by the heels and ankles, shaking her.

C: She is choking or something?

H: She is choking and her head was buttering off the floor like those objects you see at the back of the car. Everybody was in a panic. I didn't know what to do myself. All of sudden I found myself down on the floor - I don't know what brought me to do this - I shove my fingers down her throat. She threw up all my hand and threw up a chunk of meat and vomit and this and that...

C: Just say the chunk of meat. What did the vomit look like?

H: I go to the bathroom. I washed my hands.

C: You saved her life. That's great.

H: Her husband walks after me and says, "I can't tell you how thankful I am. You saved my wife's life." And I said, "You're welcome." Next day the newspapers in bold print 'Robert De Niro Saves Woman's Life'
All I could think about was - I was looking at my hand.

C: Now this has been a pattern for you? This happened another time, didn't it?

H: You're not gonna believe this. We're in Rome, Italy, me and Robert De Niro, and some police pulled us over. Someone told them that we were with the Red Brigades. They pulled us over one night very early in the morning. The Italian police with submachine guns, and me and De Niro up against the wall. They had their machine guns on us to take us to the police station. They didn't believe who we were. Finally we proved who we were; they let us go. Next day, the international Herald Tribune, 'Robert De Niro and Keith Carradine Arrested in Rome` All I could think about was - I was looking at my hand. I can't get a break.

C: Man... You know I can't believe I was - I think I have seen many of your movies I can't believe when you were a kid - because you speak so well - you were a stutterer. Is that right?

H: I was, yes. Thank you for bringing that up. My shining moment.

C: No, I thought that's gonna be an inspiration to a lot of people -- if anyone out there stutters now to know that you did as a child...

H: You know, actually one time when I first became an actor there was a call from a guy. He got my number; I was still listed that time. He had read that I was a stutterer, and he called me stuttering and asked me how I did and what happened. I talked to him for a while, so yes it did make me feel good to speak with this guy. But when I was a kid it was a problem. I was mocked all the time by friends of mine who were lovely but we were kids from Brooklyn where your best love was putting somebody down. It was a Brooklyn trait. You know what I mean?

C: That didn't change in my adulthood.

H: I remember I used to call for this friend of mine - I would get up early in the morning and I wanted to play ball, so I'd get up early. I knew I had to call my friend on the third floor 'quickly' otherwise his mother would say, "Get out of there! It's too early in the morning. " His name was Howard Weinberg, so we called him Howy. So I go sometimes in the morning I know I have to say very quickly like "Howy, Howy, Howy" scream quickly so he could get to his window before his mother does. But sometimes I got to the street before the window and I screamed out "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha" and the mother would come out "Get out of here!" before I had a chance to get out with Howy.

C: And the mother would say to Howy "I don't want you playing with Robert De Niro."

H: And I looked at my hand...

C: You can't get a break. Let's talk about this movie "U-571", this is the #1 movie last week. People like this movie.
H: I do wanna say apropos of the movie that America does have heroes. A lot of American heroes are the men and women who served in the armed forces, and this story is about these men who volunteered for the submarines in World War 2. Submarines had an unusually high causality rate and they still volunteered. It was time when people stood up to volunteer to protect our democracy and people in Europe were being oppressed then, slaughtered. This is tribute to these men.

C: We have a clip here from the movie. I was watching this clip earlier. It's pretty intense but it does need a set-up. We need to know what's going on here.

H: These submariners find themselves stranded onboard German submarine.

C: And they have to take it over and they have to try to figure out how to make it work.

H: Yes.

C: Let's take a look at this clip from "U-571". It's pretty intense.

(clip starts)

(clip ends)

C: Ladies and gentlemen, U-571 is in theaters right now. Go check it out. You also want me to mention that the New York City Marine Corps Birthday Ball is November 10.

H: Plaza Hotel in New York, all Marines are welcome and those who support our Marine corps are welcome.

C: Harvey, thank you so much for being here today.

H: My pleasure.


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