Robert De Niro, 80, to reprise Taxi Driver role and iconic ‘You talkin’ to me?’ line in lucrative ads for Uber to be shot in London
Robert De Niro is reportedly reprising his title role from Martin Scorsese’s classic 1976 film Taxi Driver.
The 80-year-old actor will be back behind the wheel as Travis Bickle — or at least spouting some of his iconic lines — when he films a series of ads for Uber, The Sun reported on Tuesday.
According to a source, De Niro will repeat the widely quoted line ‘You talkin’ to me?’ as part of the ads.
DailyMail.com has reached out to a representative for De Niro for comment.
The news follows recent forays into advertising that De Niro has made recently, following multiple costly divorces and splits from the mothers of his seven children.
Old school: Robert De Niro, 80, will reprise his iconic Taxi Driver character in a new series of ads for Uber, The Sun reported on Tuesday; seen in May in Cannes, France
A classic: De Niro is reportedly playing a version of the taxi driver–turned–obsessive vigilante Travis Bickle. The 1976 film, directed by Martin Scorsese, is considered one of the greatest of all time
Taxi Driver is considered a key New York City film, but the Uber ads are making a puzzling choice to reportedly film in London.
A source gushed that the ad series was ‘a great idea,’ adding, ‘Taxi Driver is one of the most iconic films of all time.’
‘But he’ll certainly get some stick for it too,’ they continued.
The source noted that De Niro was channeling nostalgia for his star-making performances, though Taxi Driver is an unusually dark and violent film to be referencing in an ad.
‘A lot of people feel like some of these classic films are his best work, and signing up to commercials is selling out a bit, but obviously he’s had a very expensive personal life,’ the source said.
De Niro was previously one of the faces of the UK bakery brand Warburtons, which has also gotten celebrity endorsements from George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, and most recently, Samuel L. Jackson.
Back in 2019, the Oscar winner appeared in a campaign for the appropriately named electric Kia Niro car, and he has also done ads for Santander bank and American Express.
The string of recent ads, which were previously a rarity for the actor, may help to fund his expensive divorce from his second wife Grace Hightower. He filed for divorce from the philanthropist in 2018 after marrying in 1997.
The two were required to sell their $20 million home, and De Niro’s alimony arrangement requires him to pay her $1 million per year until one of them dies or she remarries.
Paying his debts: ‘A lot of people feel like some of these classic films are his best work, and signing up to commercials is selling out a bit, but obviously he’s had a very expensive personal life,’ the source said; seen in June in NYC
Alimony checks: De Niro has made several ads in recent years following his expensive 2018 divorce from Grace Hightower and splits from the mothers of his children. He welcomed his seventh child with his partner Tiffany Chen (pictured together in May in Cap D’Antibes, France)
Quotable: The source said De Niro will reprise the iconic ‘You talkin’ to me?’ line that Bickle uses while puffing himself up in front of a mirror and showing off his newly purchased handguns
In 2021, his attorney claimed that the legendary Raging Bull star was forced to take almost any role that came his way in order to pay for divorce costs and his ex’s alimony payments, which may also account for the recent spate of commercials.
The source noted that De Niro will be playing ‘Travis Bickle,’ his character from Taxi Driver, and ‘saying some phrases and playing up to it.’
They added that, ‘His previous adverts have shown he has no problem poking fun at himself.’
It’s possible that he may just use some of the key phrases from the character without necessarily playing the same Travis Bickle, who murders three mob-connected men after becoming obsessed with a 12-year-old girl named Iris who is sex trafficked into prostitution, before attempting to unsuccessfully shoot himself in the head.
Bickle also shoots and kills a man attempting to rob a convenience store earlier in the film.
Although the character appears to escape any criminal prosecution for the bloody killings, he is not treated as a hero and is instead presented as a dangerous and obsessive loner on the edges of society.
The film also details another obsessive relationship with a woman, this time time with a campaign worker (played by Cybill Shepherd) for a fictional presidential candidate.
When she turns down his ham-fisted advances, he goes over the edge and attempts to assassinate the presidential candidate before ultimately settling on ‘freeing’ the sex trafficked child.
Going dark: Although he’s said to play Travis Bickle, he may just adapt the characters famous lines. Bickle killed four people in the film, became obsessed with a sex-trafficked 12-year-old girl and attempted to assassinate a presidential candidate to get back at a lover who turned him down in the film
Difficult subject matter: Cybill Shepherd costarred in Taxi Driver as a campaign worker who turns down Bickle’s disturbing advances, before he turns his sights on the underage prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster)
The film was a major critical and commercial success and is considered one of the greatest films of the 1970s, and of all time.
The film, which was written by Paul Schrader, was the second collaboration between De Niro and director Martin Scorsese, who would work together multiple times on films including Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino and Cape Fear.
Their most recent reunions after decades apart were in the critically acclaimed mob drama The Irishman and in the upcoming film Killers Of The Flower Moon, based on the non-fiction book of the same name about a native tribe that was systematically murdered by white members of the community hoping to steal the reservations oil revenue.
Insiders added that Uber hopes to book other celebrities to appear as passengers in the ads, though it’s unclear if they would star with De Niro or would have commercials of their own.