Lars Von Trier courts controversy like a lovesick puppy chasing media taillights and film festivals provide a suitably dazzling arena, and while he’s shopping around the Penelope Cruz-less psychological disaster film Melancholia rumours have sprung up which have split the movie-loving public in half.
In the Berlin Film Festival press conference for his latest film, the Leonardo DiCaprio starring Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese hinted at a future reunion with his old pal Robert De Niro, with the possibility of the two ‘looking back’. Now this immediately meant that a Mafioso nostalgia bandwagon went rolling down rumour hill, with plots of an ageing Mafia man reminiscing about his glory days, or coming to terms with his past, gaining the greatest momentum.
Now, that’s all well and good – De Niro and Scorsese have made some very influential films together and the prospect of a reunion is likely to be a moneyspinner as well as a crowd pleasing turn, but whoa. Enter Lars Von Trier to shake things up a little.
Reports are flowing like wildfire along the cinematic horizon that Von Trier will engage Scorsese and De Niro to remake their 1976 film Taxi Driver. Seriously.
Danish magazine Ekko is reporting that Von Trier’s producing partner and business partner, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, could not confirm or deny the reports, only that an announcement is expected soon. While this could mean that Von Trier, no stranger to the odd prank, could stand in front of the Berlin press and laugh out loud for ten full minutes, or it could be that he has convinced Scorsese and De Niro of the merits of a revisiting.
Von Trier has already pulled this one out of the hat when he challenged director Jørgen Leth to remake his 1967 film The Perfect Human five times, each time with a crazy challenge. The Five Obstructions in question can be found here, and it’s hard to see Scorsese jumping through those hoops but how likely is it to really happen? And would it be a remake, with De Niro playing a Travis Bickle in the doldrums of his mid sixties, still rolling around in his cab, still at boiling point?
Speculation is rife and until there’s an official announcement we’re all waiting, stage front, to see if we’re about to witness the most bizarre cinematic collaboration since Hitchcock was held Spellbound by Salvador Dali in 1945, or if we’ve all been caught up in Von Trier’s elaborate practical joke.