Is Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese’s best picture? Uproxx’s Steven Hyden recently made a strong argument that it is. As it happens, the gritty 1976 drama is back in the news: Uber has tapped Robert De Niro to reprise his role as Travis Bickle, the film’s troubled cabbie-turned-vigilante anti-hero, for an Uber commercial that’s about to start filming this week in London. But the commercial has already found one sharp critic: the movie’s author.
As per Deadline, Paul Schrader — who, on top of being a top shelf screenwriter and director, is a prolific poster of sometimes surprising hot takes on Facebook, though he’s no stranger to offering fulsome praise — dropped a brief comment about the forthcoming ad.
“Ouch,” he wrote after finding out about it. “Why Bob would do this is beyond my reckoning. But I haven’t seen it. If I’m lucky I never will.”
Schrader hasn’t shied from commenting on adaptations of his own work. Over the summer he torched Showtime’s take on his 1980 classic American Gigolo, which wound up being cancelled after one season.
Taxi Driver was Schrader’s second-produced screenplay and his first of four collaborations with director Martin Scorsese (the others being Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead). He went on to become a mighty director in his own right, and he’s had a good recent run with First Reformed, The Card Counter, and this year’s Master Gardener. Oh, Canada, starring Richard Gere and Jacob Elordi, is currently filming with a SAG-AFTRA strike exemption.
Scorsese, meanwhile, has done pretty well for himself, too. He even has a new picture due soon.
The controversial Taxi Driver Uber ad will reportedly feature De Niro’s aging Travis Bickle repeating some of his more famous lines. It’s a curious move, even for an actor who’s done fare like the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie, but surely it can’t be worse than 2020’s Die Hard battery commercial.