By Sean Tuohy
It’s pretty easy to tell from watching “Taxi Driver” that the person behind it wasn’t in the best mindset. Screenwriter Paul Schrader has become one of Hollywood’s most interesting filmmakers, but before the fame he was a broke, homeless, and suicidal writer.
During the 1970s, Schrader was going through somewhat of a rough patch. His girlfriend dumped him, he had no money, nowhere to life, and no career to speak of. Schrader spent his evenings driving around the city, thinking, and occasionally breaking into his ex’s house when she wasn’t around.
Schrader wanted to share how he felt so he wrote a screenplay (this was pre-Twitter; a much simpler time).
Schrader needed to stay motivated so he hung up a poster of a cat hanging on a wire that said ‘Hang in there, baby” and then started working.
Just kidding, only Daniel Ford does that. No, Schrader came up a more…creative way to stay motivated. He left a loaded handgun on the table. Nothing says, “Stay at it,” like a .45 threatening you.
But it worked. Schrader finished the script in 10 days and then went on to have an incredible career (until he made “The Canyons”).