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Martin Scorsese Spills Surprising Tea On Robert De Niro's 'You Talkin' To Me?' Scene

Director Martin Scorsese confirmed to Stephen Colbert that impatient producers were trying to stop him while he filmed one of cinema’s most iconic scenes. (Watch the videos below.)

On Thursday’s broadcast of “The Late Show,” Scorsese was asked by the host if it was true that producers were “trying to make you cut” during a take of Robert De Niro’s famous “You talkin’ to me?” moment from “Taxi Driver” (1976).

“Yeah. We were behind schedule. We were in such trouble,” Scorsese answered. “And they were banging on the door, and I had to open the door and say: ‘This is good. This is good! Wait, give me five, two ― two more minutes. ... One more take, one more take!’ And he was improvising it.”

Scorsese detailed the bizarre circumstances: He was at De Niro’s feet as the actor ad-libbed with the cameras rolling. De Niro came up with “You talkin’ to me?” the filmmaker said, echoing a previous claim by his star. (De Niro’s choice was inspired by rocker Bruce Springsteen or perhaps an underground comic, according to reports.)

“And I was like, ‘Do it again, do it again,’ and he was doing the thing with the moves and the gun,” Scorsese explained. “They were mad.”

Said Colbert: “So if you had stayed on schedule, there would have been no ‘You talkin’ to me?’”

“That’s right,” Scorsese replied. “And it wasn’t in the script either.”

Fast-forward to 2:18 for the “talkin’” point:

The result was movie magic. De Niro’s increasingly paranoid cabbie Travis Bickle practices his gun draw. “You talkin’ to me?” he repeats in a moment that would become embedded in pop culture.

Both Scorsese and De Niro, now in their 80s, are nominated for Oscars for their latest collaboration, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

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