"At the time I wrote it [Taxi Driver], I was in a rather low and bad place," Schrader says. "I had broken with Pauline [Kael], I had broken with my wife, I had broken with the woman I left my wife for, I had broken with the American Film Institute and I was in debt." For several weeks, he drifted around LA, living and sleeping in his car, eating junk food, watching porn. Eventually, when his stomach began to hurt badly, he went to the hospital and discovered he had an ulcer.
"When I was talking to the nurse, I realised I hadn't spoken to anyone in weeks ... that was when the metaphor of the taxi cab occurred to me. That is what I was: this person in an iron box, a coffin, floating round the city, but seemingly alone." He claims he wrote the script, which he dashed off in under a fortnight, as self-therapy, to "exorcise the evil I felt within me".
Thursday, July 06, 2006
As Taxi Driver is re-released the film's writer, Paul Schrader, talks to Geoffrey Macnab in The Guardian.