Did you miss Tribeca Film Festival’s 40th anniversary celebration of “Taxi Driver” on April 21 at the Beacon Theatre? Examiner Dorri Olds helps you pretend you were there. The evening began with an exciting red carpet, followed by a brief greeting from TFF’s cofounders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The audience was then treated to a pristine restored version of the classic masterpiece about a cripplingly lonely New York City cab driver, Travis Bickel (De Niro), who descends into madness and becomes a danger to himself and everyone else.
Post-film screening, cast and crew members took to the stage: De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, writer Paul Schrader and producer Michael Phillips. Hear what they had to say.
“Every day for 40 f—ing years, at least one of you has come up to me and said, ‘What do you think: You talkin’ to me?’” Then he told the audience to go ahead and get it over with by saying it all together and the crowd happily complied.
De Niro thrilled the crowd at The Beacon Theater with a zinger of an opener: “Every day for 40 f—ing years, at least one of you has come up to me and said, ‘What do you think? You talkin’ to me?’” He told the audience to go ahead and get it over with by saying it all together. The elated crowd complied.
Jodie Foster smiles on the red carpet
Olds asked Foster on the red carpet, “Can you talk about the latest movie you directed?”
“Sure,” said Foster. “It’s called ‘Money Monster.’ I love it. It is a mainstream movie and it’s a thriller. It’s intense and all of that but it’s really quite intelligent and demands a lot of the audience and hopefully people will like the fact that it’s a combination of those two things—a great ride and also really quite smart.”
Cybill Shepherd looks radiant at ‘Taxi Driver’ 40th anniversary
Shepherd said, “This was definitely a very important film for me and I would’ve given my right arm to do it. I’m so honored to be here tonight with so much talent onstage and to have this great opportunity. It is a great film.” That’s when an audience member shouted, “I love you, Cybill!” Shepherd threw her hands up and yelled back, “I love you, too!”
Harvey Keitel tells it like it is at ‘Taxi Driver’ reunion
Keitel was asked, “You went to work with a real pimp, right?” He replied, “Does the statute of limitations still apply?” After he got a riotous laugh from the crowd he continued, “Yeah, I met a pimp — a former pimp. I don’t know what that means but we improvised for a few weeks and he taught me what it was like to play the role of a pimp. I played the girl and he told me what to do. Then we went into business together.”
‘Taxi Driver’ writer Paul Schrader joins the cast
Schrader said, “This script began in the best possible way because it began as self therapy. There was a person who I was afraid of that I was becoming and that was this taxi driver and I felt if I wrote about him I could distance him from me. And it worked! It does show that art has therapeutic powers.”
‘Taxi Driver’ Harvey Keitel and producer Michael Phillips talk ‘Taxi Driver’
Producer Phillips (seated next to Keitel) said, “Brian De Palma was living next door to me and Paul [Schrader] was writing a journalistic piece on Brian and showed Brian the script. Brian said, ‘It’s not for me,’ but thought it might be something I would like. It was. I read it and I thought I was looking into a naked soul.”
Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are the founders of Tribeca Film Festival
De Niro (shown here with Tribeca Film Festival cofounder Jane Rosenthal) said, “When I was younger I was kind of isolated and alone, sort of like the Travis character. I identified with it as I think we all did.”
Tribeca Film Festival’s ‘Taxi Driver’ 40th anniversary celebration
Scorsese said, “We were in this condemned building on 89th. The exterior was down on 13th Street but the hallway was on 89th and Columbus. Jodie’s room was on Columbus Avenue and the building was condemned but somehow we were still in it and we were shooting a movie in there, I don’t know what happened. The next thing, we started and because it was in the script [that] there was overhead tracking I said, ‘I guess we’ll have to cut through the ceiling.’ Which is what they did. It took them about three months and then when it came time to shoot it, uh, the uh, the whaddya call it? The child labor law person said, ‘You only have 20 minutes.’ So we were trying everything. ‘Oh please, just an extra shot?’ But we got it in 20 minutes.”