Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle

Cybill Shepherd (as Betsy)

Cybill Shepherd (as Betsy)

An accomplished child actress, Jodie Foster plays child prostitute Iris.

Sport, Iris’s pimp, is played by Harvey Keitel, who had been Scorsese’s alter ego in Who’s That Knocking at my Door (1967) and Mean Streets (1973).

Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel

Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Co.Create

See Newly Unveiled Photos From A Tense "Taxi Driver" Set

Steve Schapiro talks about his role as special photographer for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and how the tone of a film affects the mood on set.

A still photographer on a movie set is not often greeted with much fanfare. Sometimes, however, this person’s role on a production allows him to capture the heart and soul of the film at hand.

Steve Schapiro was the special photographer on the set of Martin Scorsese’s era-defining classic, Taxi Driver, a film featuring an unhinged Robert De Niro performance for the ages. Now the photographer has released hundreds of pictures taken during the production of Taxi Driver for a massive coffee table collection that reveals the mood on set.

Before taking on Taxi Driver, Schapiro was the special photographer for The Godfather, another universally acknowledged masterpiece. (He released a similar book for that film, too.) While Francis Ford Coppola’s film had a family vibe, though, with the lauded director’s wife and children frequently on set, and the main cast acting as part of a single unit, Scorsese’s picture was another story entirely.

"Taxi Driver was shot mostly at night in New York, and the sense of the city sort of bore down on it," Schapiro says. "Also, Robert De Niro, who had spent a month really driving a taxi at night to get into the spirit of the film, maintains his character throughout. When he develops a character, he really becomes that person—both internally and externally—and he maintained that character pretty much on and off the screen. It was a much more tense situation than on The Godfather and many other films I’ve worked on."

One of the more illuminating aspects about the book, though, similar to the anachronistic photos from the set of Mad Men that were released last year, is that you can see the mood lighten between takes. During the filming of Taxi Driver's bloody climax, Schapiro made sure to get up close and find high moments. One image in the book stands out for showing the cast on the ground and very bloody, laughing in between takes and easing out of the tension of the scene. The tone of the film didn’t just affect the cast, though—it hit the director as well.

"Scorsese would sort of take on the whole intensity of the movie in between scenes," Schapiro says. "You could often see him in a really tense mood, figuring out what he was doing next."

See more images of Scorsese and De Niro from Taxi Driver in the slides above.

[Photos courtesy of Taschen | Copyright Steve Schapiro]

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2 Comments

  • WallStreetGreed

    I have never understood why movie studios continue to remake classic/great movies. Why screw with a good thing? They should focus on remaking movies that where almost good and make them better. 

  • OUT ITTT

    Of course NO one in movies
    accesses the PSYCHOPATHlike DeNiro.  And Scorsese,
    of course, was the best at rendering
    --that-- particular vision of things.

    That said, we wonder is Scorsese's
    experienced any repentrance, or even consciousness,
    of CAP-stone Hollywood's massive promotion of mafia values
    and psychopathy, during the very heyday of the
    CAP-stone Globalist handover to RED CHINA?

    Hollywood was and is at the tip of teh spear
    of POST American, POST human ----debasement.