A Q & A WITH BILL OBERST JR.

bill-oberst-jr-pictures

Emmy and Lon Chaney Award-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. is without a doubt one of the hardest working and incredibly talented actors to ever come out of the modern day era of horror. His intensity and dedication to his craft elevate any production that he’s a part of to a higher level. After Bill made a comment on one of my posts I decided to reach out to him for a couple of questions and lo and behold he said yes. Not only did I get (in my humble opinion) an excellent Q & A, but a new friendship was formed and my respect for this man grew even stronger. The only thing that Bill asked for was that I put up a link to his official website at www.billoberst.com. How easy is that?

Let’s start with an obvious one, Bill. Your IMDb.com entry lists a whopping 157 credits since you began with Sherman’s March in 2007; or was it Gilded Cage, which has no year of release? Where did it all begin and more importantly how did it all begin?

The History Channel docudrama Sherman’s March (2007) was my first on-camera role. For 16 years prior I was a working east coast stage actor with no ambition to be on-camera before I stumbled into the boots of General Sherman. On the first day of shooting I fell off my horse. A very kind director, Rick King (of Shark Week fame) helped me look reasonably heroic, and the program was highly-rated and well-reviewed. On the strength of it, I came to Los Angeles in 2008 for a two-week stay to see if I could land an agent. I ended up staying for 8 years and killing many, many people. It has been a bizarre and wondrous experience.

Ha ha. People unaware of your chosen profession might raise eyebrows at that next to last statement, Bill. You came to the audition for Sherman’s March in an authentic Civil War uniform. In addition to that you were spat upon and assailed by passersby when you wore an SS uniform for your audition as Adolf Eichmann for The Glass House, also in 2007. Auditions, Bill! What inspired this dedication to your chosen craft?

Acting is a personality disorder disguised as a profession. One of the less-toxic symptoms of this disorder is a compulsion to play dress up. In my case, it’s history that I get off on, so for any role involving a distinct time-period I am compelled to dive in wardrobe-wise. The fact that this comes across as dedication to craft is a fortunate occurrence.

Like all actors, I am dedicated to the idea of escape from the reality of actual life. Welcome to the curse. It is not curable.

You remind in a lot of ways of Christopher Walken. He’s said in interviews that he’ll take any role that’s offered him and with your immense list of credits it seems you may be the same way. In addition your dedication and preparation brings to mind actors like Robert De Niro, an actor well known for the lengths he would go to to become the characters he’s portrayed; driving fifteen hour days in a taxi and studying mental illness for Taxi Driver; living in Sicily for months for The Godfather Part II.

You’ve been described as gentle and with an interest in things spiritual in your personal life (I stole that from your IMDb page); quite a contrast to the menacing characters you portray in your films. How do you keep the two separate; or do you find that one complements or strengthens the other?

I think about this question often. This morning I go to church to hear about God’s love. Next week I start a film in which I play a man who sacrifices children. What to do?

My defensive inclination is to say, “It’s a job;” to absolve myself of any responsibility. But in my heart, I know I do have a responsibility. I’d love to play the angel, but if it falls to me to play the devil, I’m going to play the Devil with a capital “D” – the lying sonofabitch who said to Jesus, “Behold the kingdoms of the world; they are mine and I can give them to anyone I wish. They’re yours if you worship me.” I strive to play evil with conviction and purpose, because I know evil is an actual, living force in this world.

I want to disturb. I want to play the darkness to show the light.

End of sermonūüôā

I couldn’t hope for a better answer, Bill.

Before you stepped in front of a camera you were a stage actor. Would you care to tell me about working in theater?

Oh yes. Theater is a beautiful blind date. Every single performance is a new encounter with a collective stranger. You get to know the audience and to understand what moves them. When the time is right, you go in for a goodnight smooch, and (on the magic nights) part ways with a little yearning still intact in both parties. It’s a very chaste thrill. The camera, on the other hand, is a voracious lover who demands that you touch it in the way it wants to be touched by you. If you don’t get that touch just right, the camera happily looks at someone else. A wronged theater audience may deny you a goodnight kiss, but a wronged camera will take cash out of your wallet, laugh and toss you outside naked. In both cases, it’s your own damned fault.

Please pardon the sexual metaphors. They keep me honest. This profession is prone to pretensions.

That’s perfectly fine, Bill; you’re giving me your most honest and personal answers and how you see fit to do that is alright with me.

Were you often the villain or heavy when you were onstage; or did that evolve during your time in front of a camera?

An evolution, and a welcome one as an actor. It took several failed attempts at playing the villain to realize that the old quandary “I do not understand myself, for the good I want to do I do not do, but the wrong I hate, that I do” applies to all of us. It is interesting that the word “heavy” is used to describe these characters – it actually is a physically heavy feeling to live inside them. It feels isolated and very alone. I think that a lot of what we call villainy springs from being alone; from seeing our desires as the center of our universe. After playing these people it is hard to get back to being a part of a community again. Loneliness and isolation are very seductive and very dangerous – bad for the soul.

What about influences? There must have been someone, actor or otherwise, that has influenced you and inspired your performances.

My earliest inspiration was Forrest J. Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Forrey introduced my generation to the old masters of horror and, above all, to Lon Chaney Sr. In those days, the only way to see these performances was to order 8mm clips by mail, so I was introduced to them all in silent form projected on a sheet in my bedroom. I was mesmerized by their movements: (Boris) Karloff’s Monster reaching upwards towards the light; the wounded rage in the unmasked face of Chaney’s Phantom; the play of (Bela) Lugosi’s fingers as he pushed aside cobwebs. I studied them and ignored my homework.

Even today, my favorite moments on camera are the ones alone and with no words. That’s why Take This Lollipop will always be close to my heart; it’s my little contribution to that tradition of non-verbal horror.

I just had to click on the link for Take This Lollipop and now I’m afraid to step outside my door for fear that you are waiting menacingly for me, Bill! To be honest I get the feeling that the man you portray in that short interactive film would not let doors stand in his way at all.

On the subject of scaring people my wife and I watched your performance in the ‘Blood Relations’ episode of Criminal Minds. As soon as I saw your name in the credits I told her that we were in for a treat. With the show over I asked for her thoughts and all she could say was “that man scared the hell out of me!”. I told her “you have no idea how many people this man has scared.” Do you find that you get a sort of, and this is for lack of a better word, perverse satisfaction out of scaring people or creeping them the hell out?

Tell your wife that my Criminal Minds killer just needed love and he’d have turned out better!

Seriously, I hope she was able to feel some empathy for him. That is what I strove for in that characterization, as did the whole team behind creating that poor little killer – director Matthew Gray Gubler kept encouraging me to be more childlike in speech and movement, and Dayne Johnson and Christopher Allen Nelson, who created the make-up, were influenced by the humanity-infused monster make-ups of Lon Chaney Sr. I consider the character to be an homage to Chaney. The series’ producer and writer Breen Frazier signed my script “To the most heartbreaking serial killer ever.” That meant a lot.

I had a hard time getting a handle on the Take This Lollipop guy. Without Jason Zada, who wrote and directed it, I would have been over the top. But Jason kept whispering in my ear, “Just go darker into that basement of the mind. Go deeper.” There, too, we tried to lay in some bits that would create an empathy; moments where you see him trying to resist the compulsion. I must agree with you, though: doors wouldn’t stop him.

Sorry for the prelude there.

To your question: Do you find that you get a sort of, and this is for lack of a better word, perverse satisfaction out of scaring people or creeping them the hell out?

Yes. I personally hate roller coasters, but I see the perverse pleasure that people who know this get out of trying to goad me onto them. In the same way, my skill set as an actor includes a bit of knowledge about what makes people’s skin crawl and I justify my enjoyment of it by thinking “Well, it’s good for them to be scared – it makes them feel alive,” which is the exact same rationale my friends use to justify trying to terrify me! Boy, humans are just nefarious by nature, aren’t we?

You ask me that question and today I might agree with you and the next day I may not or be on the fence. I guess I am of the opinion that there are good people in this world capable of doing bad and vice versa. Does that make sense?

The main reason that we came into each other’s radar is because of your role in the excellent short werewolf film, The Beast; how did you become involved with the project?

I feel very fortunate to have been involved with The Beast. I loved werewolves so much as a kid that I used to sneak out of the house late at night and ride my bike out to the railroad tracks where I could safely howl at the moon, just to know what that felt like. They remain my favorite classic creature. I met Peter Dukes, writer and director of The Beast, online and then went to his house to read for him. Peter said “We’re going into the woods for one night with very little money, but with a group of pros who love old-school horror…and werewolves.” We shot it in one crazy night. I was really blown away by the intensity of Peter and Alexander Le Bas, who remain the only father and son acting team I have ever worked with.¬†The Beast¬†is an example of extreme class in a small-scale production.

Werewolves have also always been my favorite monsters so I can perfectly understand wanting to howl at the moon, Bill.

To me, The Beast was a perfect example of a group of people with a passion for a project-and werewolves-that used that passion and their imaginations to make a twelve-plus minute film on a low budget seem more alive than a lot of the feature-length movies that Hollywood is passing off on us.

I’ve posted nearly fifty short films since I began my Short Film Saturday showcase at Written in Blood. I’m leading to a question and I guess what it is is do you feel like short films are a good way for up and coming independent filmmakers to make their mark and get a foot in the door, so to speak?

Yes, and the shorter the short¬†the better! When people see that video load bar go past¬†the 10 or 15 minute mark, you lose them before you’ve¬†grabbed them, The three shorts that I’ve been involved with which have gotten the most attention and have¬†won the most awards – THE BEAST, ASSASSINS and HEIR – were all under 15 minutes. There’s little money in a short, but if you do it right and tight¬†there’s a lot of potential for making a mark.

I get what you mean about losing your audience for a short film. I’ve skipped over quite a few films because they were 20-30 minutes long and I didn’t have the time (or patience) to give them my full attention.¬†

Let’s wind this Q & A down with a couple of questions, Bill.¬†
First of all, you mentioned in an apology for your delay in answering a question that you were killing teenagers in the woods of Pasadena for 12 hours a day this week; can you tell me a bit about what you’re currently working on?¬†
Second and final question, Bill and bear with me it’s one of those that we have all heard before: If you weren’t acting what do you think you would be doing with your life?
The feature film I’m shooting at the moment in the LA area is Death Camp.¬†The great Courtney Gains of Children Of The Corn is in it too. My role is an ex-military hero who also happens to be a hermit Satanist. After this shoot I head to South America, then to Georgia, then to Germany. The business is truly global now – it is amazing how decentralized it has become.
If I wasn’t¬†¬†an actor I would be a preacher. I’ve known some good ones and some lousy ones in my time – I’m not entirely sure which kind I¬†would be – but ever since I heard about Jesus as a boy I’ve wanted to talk about him. But churches can be his worst enemy, you know?¬†I toured churches for a decade with a solo show of the words of Jesus. After one of these performances, an old man came up to me and said “I don’t give a damn for religion, but Jesus is alright.” I’m with him.
Bill, thank you for your time and I hope we can stay in touch. 
I’d like to stay in touch, too.¬†I’ve really enjoyed this!¬†I think we share some of the same tastes and opinions on movies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY

FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY-United States-185 Mins. 1973

diabolique-frankenstein-the-true-story-dvd-cover

James Mason as Dr. John Polidori in Frankenstein: The True Story

James Mason as Dr. John Polidori in Frankenstein: The True Story

Leonard Whiting as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein: The True Story

Leonard Whiting as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein: The True Story

David McCallum as Dr. Henry Clerval in Frankenstein: The True Story

David McCallum as Dr. Henry Clerval in Frankenstein: The True Story

Jane Seymour as Agatha Prima in Frankenstein: The True Story

Jane Seymour as Agatha Prima in Frankenstein: The True Story

Michael Sarrazin as The Creature in Frankenstein: The True Story

Michael Sarrazin as The Creature in Frankenstein: The True Story

Directed by Jack Smight

Teleplay by Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy

Based on the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I don’t know where to begin with my review of Frankenstein: The True Story. I saw this as a two-night mini-series when it first premiered in 1973; which would have made me 11 years old at the time. Little did I know at such a young age? I thought Frankenstein was all about a scientist who plays God by creating a man out of the body parts of other men. I mean, that was the original plot of Mary Shelley’s novel, right? Yeah, right. After Frankenstein: The True Story I’m more inclined to think that Dr. Frank-N-Furter was the real author of the classic novel. Let me put it to you this way and I do not in any way, shape or form intend to offend anyone (seriously, after nearly 800 posts you should know by now that I am capable of saying just about anything); but there is only one word to describe Frankenstein: The True Story and that is G-A-Y.

Let me break it down for you. Dr. Frankenstein creates the Creature, which we have established. One of the first things he says to the Creature is ‘beautiful’. That’s not so unusual except for the fact that he says this to the Creature¬†a lot. Then, what else does the good doctor do? He shows the Creature off around town like he was his fianc√© instead of his science project. Our good doctor is as giddy as a virgin on prom night when it comes to his patchwork man. What’s that? You’re asking what about when the Creature begins to turn bad? What about it? All that means is that the Creature is struggling and unsure of his feelings for Doctor Frankenstein. Is there another question? Yes, from the guy in the third row wearing the Elton John t-shirt; what is your question? Oh, you’re saying what about the female creature the doctor created for the Creature? As I recall, the Creature rips her head clean off of her shoulders. He also electrocutes Dr. Polidori by hoisting him up the mainsail during a ferocious lightning storm at sea. Let’s face it: there is nothing that is going to stand in the way of the Creature and his Vicky (that’s the Creature’s pet name for Victor).

Okay, before I go any further let me explain once again that I mean no offense to anyone of same-sex preference. It’s just that I’m used to the story of Frankenstein being all about Boris Karloff wearing bolts in his neck and asphalt boots and hanging midgets* ¬†by their neck from the ceiling. I’m used to Christopher Lee looking all pizza-faced and pathetic. I’m used to Colin Clive and Peter Cushing playing God and going the devil’s route. I’m not used to a Dr. Frankenstein who calls his creation a ‘dandy’ and shows him off at the opera. If it seems like I have nothing but disdain for Frankenstein: The True Story let me make it very clear that I in fact do not. I found the acting to be more than adequate for a television production. Leonard Whiting makes for a capable Dr. Frankenstein and Michael Sarrazin portrays with a raw emotion a Creature who starts out ‘beautiful’ and evolves to unspeakable ugliness.¬†Another plus is make-up and special effects which hold up well for a production that is over 40 years old.

Frankenstein: The True Story was initially released in 1973 and the Rocky Horror Picture Show would come out two years later in 1975. Looking back at this film it makes me wonder if Victor Frankenstein’s relationship with his Creature was inspiration for Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Rocky. Yes? No?

*I mean no offense to midgets with that sentence.

I don’t know where to begin with my review of Frankenstein: The True Story. I saw this as a two-night mini-series when it first premiered in 1973; which would have made me 11 years old at the time. Little did I know at such a young age? I thought Frankenstein was all about a scientist who plays God by creating a man out of the body parts of other men. I mean, that was the original plot of Mary Shelley’s novel, right? Yeah, right. After Frankenstein: The True Story I’m more inclined to think that Dr. Frank-N-Furter was the real author of the classic novel. Let me put it to you this way and I do not in any way, shape or form intend to offend anyone (seriously, after nearly 800 posts you should know by now that I am capable of saying just about anything); but there is only one word to describe Frankenstein: The True Story and that is G-A-Y.

Let me break it down for you. Dr. Frankenstein creates the Creature, which we have established. One of the first things he says to the Creature is ‘beautiful’. That’s not so unusual except for the fact that he says this to the Creature¬†a lot. Then, what else does the good doctor do? He shows the Creature off around town like he was his fianc√© instead of his science project. Our good doctor is as giddy as a virgin on prom night when it comes to his patchwork man. What’s that? You’re asking what about when the Creature begins to turn bad? What about it? All that means is that the Creature is struggling and unsure of his feelings for Doctor Frankenstein. Is there another question? Yes, from the guy in the third row wearing the Elton John t-shirt; what is your question? Oh, you’re saying what about the female creature the doctor created for the Creature? As I recall, the Creature rips her head clean off of her shoulders. He also electrocutes Dr. Polidori by hoisting him up the mainsail during a ferocious lightning storm at sea. Let’s face it: there is nothing that is going to stand in the way of the Creature and his Vicky (that’s the Creature’s pet name for Victor).

Okay, before I go any further let me explain once again that I mean no offense to anyone of same-sex preference. It’s just that I’m used to the story of Frankenstein being all about Boris Karloff wearing bolts in his neck and asphalt boots and hanging midgets* ¬†by their neck from the ceiling. I’m used to Christopher Lee looking all pizza-faced and pathetic. I’m used to Colin Clive and Peter Cushing playing God and going the devil’s route. I’m not used to a Dr. Frankenstein who calls his creation a ‘dandy’ and shows him off at the opera. If it seems like I have nothing but disdain for Frankenstein: The True Story let me make it very clear that I in fact do not. I found the acting to be more than adequate for a television production. Leonard Whiting makes for a capable Dr. Frankenstein and Michael Sarrazin portrays with a raw emotion a Creature who starts out ‘beautiful’ and evolves to unspeakable ugliness.¬†Another plus is make-up and special effects which hold up well for a production that is over 40 years old.

Frankenstein: The True Story was initially released in 1973 and the Rocky Horror Picture Show would come out two years later in 1975. Looking back at this film it makes me wonder if Victor Frankenstein’s relationship with his Creature was inspiration for Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Rocky. Yes? No?

*I mean no offense to midgets with that sentence.

TRIVIA

The last film of Michael Wilding.

The footage of the ‘Figaro’ opera singer receiving applause is actually a shot of Susannah Foster’s curtain call from the 1943 version of The Phantom of the Opera.

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy published their original version of the screenplay for this film because they were so unhappy with the way it had turned out. The published script differs from the final film in a number of ways. They were also unhappy with casting – they had requested that Jon Voight be offered the part of Victor Frankenstein – and their hope that John Boorman would be hired as director was also dashed.

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James Mason also appears in North by Northwest and Lolita.

Leonard Whiting also appears in Romeo and Juliet and War is Hell.

David McCallum also appears in Night Ambush and A Night to Remember.

Jane Seymour also appears in Live and Let Die and Somewhere in Time.

Michael Sarrazin also appears in The Flim-Flam Man and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

 

 

HEY KIDS, IT’S TIME FOR BLOGGER’S TAG!!

Once again my friend Mike at¬†Mike’sFilmTalk¬†has decided to pick me for blogger’s tag. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time that he’s picked me for this and that leads to one final and startling conclusion: he can’t stand me. Why don’t you like me, Mike? What can I do to change your heart? Is it too late?

I jest. Mike is a great guy and he has a great blog and I strongly urge each and every one of you to check it out. As for blogger’s tag, it’s a little game we play whose rules go a little something like this. Someone tags you, you answer 11 questions that they’ve prepared for you and then you make up 11 questions for the 11 people you tag to answer. Let’s break it down:

I, along with 10 other people, got tagged by Mike aka Darth Blogger.

Mike provided us with 11 questions to answer:

1. Have you ever been made redundant from your job and how did you feel about it?

I’m a security guard; I feel redundant all the time.

2. If you were interviewing someone for a writing job, what 3 qualities would you look for and why?

Grammar, talent and respect for the genre in which they ply their literary trade. 

3. What is your favorite board game and why?

Monopoly and seeing as how I lose every time I have no idea why I even play the game.

4. When you look at the stars, what do you see?

I see one of the many splendors of God‘s creation.

5. When you look at the ocean, what does it remind you of?

That Godzilla is lurking out there somewhere in its depths.

6. How do you overcome writer’s block?

By veering off the intended course and allowing myself to entertain other possibilities for approaching what I have to say. 

7. If you could say 3 encouraging things to another person, what would they be?

I love you just the way you are, love the one you’re with and don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

8. Do you prefer to write your stories/books/poetry/prose/articles on paper first, then type them up and edit them, or do you like to type them straight into your computer to edit?

What is editing? You can do that? Seriously, you can do that?

9. Do you like writing in one genre or more?

I like scary stories; so when I finally do write something it will probably be in the horror genre.

10. As a writer, do you think actions speak louder than words?

Shooting someone with a real gun is way more effective than saying ‘he shot him.’ Action speaks volumes.

11. What is your favorite quote and why?

God’s Grace is giving us what we don’t deserve; God’s Mercy is not giving us what we do deserve.-I like this because I have to remind myself of it every day.

Okay, now here are my 11 questions for my 11 victims:

1. Aliens have landed on Earth and have asked that we give them our least intelligent person. Who would that be?

2. You’ve been voted the Sexiest Man/Woman Alive by People magazine. What are the first five words of your acceptance speech?

3. You’re on a deserted island with Kim Kardashian, Honey Boo Boo and Jason Voorhees. You want to engage in an intelligent conversation. Which of the three would you talk to?

4. Your spouse, whom you have loved and cherished for years, has just become a flesh-devouring zombie. Do you shoot them yourself or try to get them a spot on The Walking Dead?

5. What would happen if we were given the right to kill one person of our choosing without fear of punishment or retaliation?

6. What was the first Album, 8-track, cassette, CD or digital recording you ever purchased?

7. Elvis has come back from the dead. What fate lies in store for all those impersonators?

8. What are the worst book, movie and song you have ever read, seen or heard?

9. Horror movies have been banned and to be caught with one is punishable by death. What do you do?

10. If you could live in any TV or movie universe which one would you choose and why?

11. You have one hour to teach the Frankenstein monster one thing. What would you teach it? By the way, a song and dance to ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz‘ has been done and is therefore not an acceptable answer.

Yay. That was fun. Now let’s see who my victims will be.

Cool Berman

Head In A Vice

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Erotixx

filmhipster

I know; I’m missing six victims. If you feel like participating then consider yourself tagged. Oh, and pass it on, okay?

TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God’s Lonely Man

TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God‘s LonelyMan

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle

 

Jodie Foster as Iris

 

Albert Brooks as Tom

 

Harvey Keitel (l) as Sport

 

Leonard Harris as Charles Palantine

 

Peter Boyle (c) as Wizard

 

Cybill Shepherd as Betsy

 
 
Directed by Martin Scorsese
 
Written by Paul Schrader
 

This is a question for my blogger friends. Why do you write a blog? What is that drives you to put words onto the brightness of your computer screen? I know why I do it. I do it because I want to feel as if I am a part of something that is bigger than me. I admit that I get a little rush when I read a favorable comment or when someone likes a review I’ve written. I feel good when I check my page view count for the day and I’ve had a few hundred visitors. That means that all the times that I have sat alone in a dark room watching movie after movie has not been in vain. When I sit at my computer racking my brain for the right words to say I know that someone, somewhere will read what I have written and will appreciate it in some way or another. I am alone as I sit and type, but I am not lonely.

In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle is always alone. Even in scenes where he is surrounded by other people, he is ultimately and painfully alone. In the scene in the diner with his co-workers he is off to one side of the table, slightly separate from the rest. Again, in the diner, this time with Iris, the young prostitute that he feels a need to save, he is still alone. Why? Because his ideas, his way of thinking is so out of tune with hers that they are two people on separate sides of a desert island; always knowing that the other exists, but never making that connection.

The saddest and most heart wrenching scene in the film comes when Travis, after taking Betsy to a pornographic movie on their first date together, is on the phone in a lonely hallway pleading with her to give him another chance. As we listen the camera pans away from him. We don’t know whether to console him or put him down like a dog to ease his misery. Travis is so far out of touch with the rest of the world. He is never alone, yet he is lonely; and he is alone and he is lonely. By its own design, the job of a taxi driver is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet. A cabbie is continually in a situation where he is with people and yet they are all rank strangers to him. For the brief time that they are in his cab, they are a part of Travis’ world, but at no point in time is he ever a part of theirs. Travis Bickle truly is God’s Lonely Man.

Again, I will ask you; why do you do what you do?

TRIVIA

Various studios considered producing this film; one suggested Neil Diamond for the lead role.
 
Robert De Niro worked twelve hour days for a month driving cabs as preparation for this role. He also studied mental illness.
 
Director Martin Scorsese claims that the most important shot in the movie is when Bickle is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy. The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down the long, empty hallway next to Bickle, as if to suggest that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.