Scorsese & Von Trier Remake Taxi Driver?

Starring... Robert De Niro?!?

WT and, if you have the time, F? Reports – unconfirmed reports, but reports nonetheless – are emerging from the Berlin Film Festival, suggesting that Martin Scorsese may be about to team up with Lars von Trier to remake Taxi Driver. With – and this is where it gets really weird – Robert De Niro once again playing the lead role.

Now, bear in mind that this is just a rumour at the moment, but Danish film magazine Ekko sounds pretty sure of its facts, while von Trier’s producing partner, Peter Aalbak, would neither confirm or deny the reports, but did say that an official announcement would soon be made.

Now, let’s not dismiss this out of hand. Great directors have revisited movies before – Alfred Hitchcock made The Man Who Knew Too Much twice, while Michael Haneke, to name another, had two goes at Funny Games, one in German, one in English – and the prospect of Scorsese revisiting the scene of, arguably, his greatest triumph is fascinating.

Of course, von Trier’s involvement would seem to indicate that he, and not Scorsese, would direct if – IF – this happens. But again, we’d love to see what von Trier’s rough and ready, bleak style could bring to the source material (assuming, of course, that they would be working from Paul Schrader’s screenplay); his sensibilities should blend in impeccably with Bickle's diseased mindset; and it would virtually guarantee that this wouldn’t be a remake that slavishly recreates Scorsese’s visual style.

But the big question mark here is De Niro. He’s 66 now – although he doesn’t look it – so what would that mean for Travis Bickle? Would Travis’ disaffection and rage make sense coming from someone in their Sixties? Or would this actually be a remake, or a semi-sequel? After all, De Niro and Scorsese have been talking about the possibility of another Taxi Driver for years now, without anything ever progressing beyond the ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…?’ stage. Could this be their way of finally continuing Travis’ story?

We know that we should be mobilising the pitchforks and torches army and seeking to stamp this out immediately, but there's something about this that makes us sort of hope that it's true. You know that moment in sci-fi movies where the hero says, "This is a crazy idea, but it might just work?" Well, this is that moment.