The Tribeca Film Festival held a 40th anniversary screening of “Taxi Driver” Thursday night, and many of the principals behind the movie were there to talk about it, including director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Paul Schrader, and stars Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shephard, and Harvey Keitel.
During the talk, Foster, who was 13 at the time of shooting, revealed what she thought of the costumes she had to wear to play Iris, the prostitute Travis Bickle (De Niro) saves at the end of the movie.
“I was mortified,” she told the audience at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. “Just the hot pants and the dumb hat and the sunglasses. The first day I met the costume designer and put on the clothes, I cried.”
Foster also said she had to go through a four-hour psychiatric evaluation just to star in the film.
“The Board of Education didn’t want me to work on it,” Foster said. “A young actor needs to have a tutor on set and they said I couldn’t have one so we hired a lawyer and they had to determine if I was psychologically sane enough to play the part and I passed.”
When the film was released in 1976, some criticised the fact that Foster was subjected to such mature material, including a lot of violence, at a young age. But Foster said during the talk that she enjoyed the experience immensely, especially all of the fake blood in the movie’s gory finale.
“Seeing these big gallons of kyro syrup [fake blood] and all the guys would teach me what they were doing with it, it was fascinating,” she said. “People asked me how frightening that last scene was to shoot. Honestly, it was kind of fun.”