As I’ve written in an earlier post, the film Taxi Driver changed my life. It remains as electrifying and intense today as when I first saw it upon its release back in 1976, and continues to serve as reminder and inspiration as to the heights art can achieve.
The movie is being re-released in the UK on 14 July in conjunction with its 30th anniversary. Screenwriter Paul Schrader, in London to edit his latest film, was interviewed by Geoffrey Mcnab in today’s Guardian Unlimited. The fascinating article “I was in a bad place” not only tells about Schrader and director Martin Scorsese’s failed efforts to thwart the wrongheaded release of a Taxi Driver computer game, but includes Schrader’s confession of having lied to the FBI the day Ronald Reagan was shot.
The Feds wanted to know whether failed assassin John Hinckley Jr., who’d become obsessed with Taxi Driver and its co-star Jodie Foster, had contacted Schrader. From the article:
His office had received one or two letters from “this kid in Colorado who wanted to know how he could meet Jodie Foster”. He told the secretary to throw the letters out. “I knew that if I told the FBI, ‘Yeah, I got a letter from him [Hinckley] once but I threw it out,’ I would be fucked, my secretary would be fucked. We’d have to be endlessly answering questions about a letter we’ve thrown out and don’t remember. So I just said, ‘No, I have never heard of him.'”
Some of Schrader’s other credits include : as writer, Raging Bull (with Mardik Martin), The Mosquito Coast, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead; as director, Cat People, Patty Hearst, and Auto Focus; and as writer/director, Blue Collar (co-written with his brother Leonard Schrader), Hardcore, and Affliction.
Photographs: Linda Nylind/Kobal Collection