Jodie Foster is paying tribute to her breakout film. The 53-year-old actress-director reunited with her co-stars from the iconic 1976 film Taxi Driver as part of the movie’s 40th anniversary at the Tribeca Film Festival. According to People, Foster reunited with co-stars Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, screenwriter Paul Schrader, and legendary director Martin Scorsese in honor of the 40th anniversary of the acclaimed film and participated in a Q&A session with them after the screening.
Jodie Foster was only 12-years-old when Scorsese hired her for the role of a teen prostitute in the famous flick about a disgruntled cab driver who makes it his mission to save the world. Foster previously worked with Scorsese on the movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and when he called on her for the controversial Taxi Driver role, Jodie’s own mother thought he was nuts. Foster told the Hollywood Reporter she never expected to get the part that ultimately earned her her first Academy Award nomination.
“[Scorsese] called my mom about the part, and she thought he was crazy,” Jodie said. “But I went in to meet him for an interview. My mom thought, with my school uniform on, there was no way he’d think I was right for it. But he said yes, and she trusted him.”
Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver. pic.twitter.com/L9Jb4cqWOx— History Pics (@ThatsHistory) April 10, 2016
Foster also revealed that her older sister stood in for her for some of the uncomfortable sex-themed scenes.
“Part of the deal was that any scenes that felt uncomfortable sexually, they would have an adult be a stand-in. So my sister Connie, who was over 18, stood in for a couple of over-the-shoulder shots.”
Jodie Foster had a banner year in 1976. In addition to Alice and Taxi Driver, she starred in the films Bugsy Malone and The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, putting her in total teen idol territory by the end of the Bicentennial year.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Foster recalled hanging out with De Niro off camera as they prepped to portray iconic characters Travis Bickle (DeNiro) and troubled teen Iris (Foster). Jodie credits Robert De Niro for being one of her greatest acting teachers.
“Robert De Niro and I had a bunch of outings, where he took me to different diners around town and walked through the script with me,” Foster revealed. “After the first time, I was completely bored. Robert was pretty socially awkward then and was pretty much in character, which was his process. I think I rolled my eyes at times because he really was awkward. But in those few outings, he really helped me understand improvisation and building a character in a way that was almost nonverbal.”
The biggest downside for Foster were the outfits she had to wear in the movie.
“I hated my costumes,” Jodie said. “At the fitting, I was sniffing back tears because I had to wear those dumb shorts, platform shoes and halter tops. It was everything I hated. I was a tomboy who wore knee socks. But I got over it.”
Jodie Foster established herself as a serious actress at a young age thanks to her breakthrough Taxi Driver role, but the movie came back to haunt her five years later when she was a student at Yale University. A stalker, John Hinckley Jr., became obsessed with Foster’s role in Taxi Driver and set out to impress her by attempting to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan. Foster later had to be accompanied by bodyguards while attending classes at Yale.
Take a look at the video below to see one of Jodie Foster’s most famous scenes with De Niro in Taxi Driver, but beware it contains NSFW language.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival]