Martin Scorsese says there are now more people living in the same psychological and mental state as him Cab driver protagonist Travis Bickle, famously played by Robert De Niro.
As part of a recent GQ cover story, the filmmaker sat down with the magazine to discuss his most iconic films, including wolf of wall street, The departed, Good guys And Gangs of New York. As he broke off his approach Cab driverScorsese talks about how he considered moving production to another city to reduce costs, but ultimately decided there was no other taxi culture like New York.
He also discussed the struggle of portraying Bickle – a young, white, depressed and lonely man whose thoughts and, increasingly, actions become more violent over the course of the film.
“We kept thinking in terms of the character and his loneliness and his acting, not condoning the acting, but him acting and yet empathizing with him, which is very difficult,” Scorsese recalls. “What ultimately stayed with us was the psychological and emotional state of that character. Tragically, as we now know, it is the norm for every other person to look like Travis Bickle.
The Irishman And Killers of the Flower Moon director also addressed the reactions to his Oscar-winning film Furious bull, and that film’s violent male lead, also played by De Niro. While the Mean streets Helmer says the film team understood that people didn’t like boxer Jake LaMotta. He was surprised to hear that his crew felt the same way.
“We threw everything we knew into it, not knowing how it would be received,” Scorsese recalls. “We understood that people didn’t like him, and even the crew, as it turned out – I didn’t know until later – why are we making a film about this man? He is a horror.”
Although the director acknowledges that LaMotta is unsavory, he defends him as a character, before noting that he tried to find himself in a way that was similar to the character.
“This man may be like that, but he’s still human. He has a heart. He has a soul. Towards the end he finds a kind of peace with himself and perhaps with the others around him,” he explains. “I think I went there to try to find a piece of myself.”