‘Taxi Driver’ Set Photography: Real Reds and the Two Jodies

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Jodie Foster’s body double, Robert DeNiro’s “mohawk” skin cap continuity, and the true reds of the rampaging finale that had to be desaturated for the censors — photographer Steve Schapiro captured all those precious bits of Taxi Driver that Scorsese buffs hold dear to their hearts. For those that won’t be wrapping their arms around TASCHEN’s pricey 328-page tome Steve Schapiro, Taxi Driver anytime soon, enjoy this preview of killer on-set photos, with a side sprinkling of trivia courtesy of the Making of Taxi Driver documentary from the DVD, Scorsese on Scorsese, and the web grapevine. Let’s geek out!

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro

Screenwriter Paul Schrader found “the real Iris” and took her out to breakfast with director Martin Scorsese. The girl played a role in framing Jodie Foster’s character and… played a role in the film as her friend. Now that’s street scouting.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Child labor laws prevented 12-year-old Jodie Foster from taking part in some of the film’s most uncomfortable sexual scenarios. Luckily, her 19-year-old sister Constance “Connie” Foster stood in.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

These are not the exact moments of Robert DeNiro’s improvised “You talkin’ to me” monologue, but they sure set the mood.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

The scene captured in this contact sheet was a tricky endeavor. Shooting in a run-down apartment in the middle of summer in New York with no air conditioning meant keeping the window open, which meant traffic noise screwing up the sound mix, which meant a lot of waiting for the right moment.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Robert DeNiro’s buzz-dotted skin cap is seamless in this continuity passport-style snap. Unlike in this continuity mistake. Whoops.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Harvey Keitel enthusiastically volunteered himself for the pimp role and improvised some of his character’s most vomitous “sweet-talk,” as well as the jig.

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

Martin Scorsese in action. And… action!

Photo credit: Steve Schapiro, Courtesy of A.Galerie

A lot of the blood-splatter and couch-velvet reds came out gray on film at the climax of the movie. The MPAA had a maximum quota for the color red, otherwise Taxi Driver would have been slapped with an “X” rating.

Steve Schapiro’s photographs are on view at A.Galerie in Paris through May 14th, along with the acclaimed photographer’s Godfather shots. Next stop for Schapiro and TASCHEN? Chinatown.