Travis Bickle will not be singing the praises of Uber any time soon.
Online cinephiles did a collective double take this week as rumors began to circulate that Robert De Niro would be reprising his role from “Taxi Driver” in an upcoming Uber commercial that would air in the United Kingdom. Many were quick to point out that the character — who loses his sanity after his job as a taxi driver exposes him to the worst of humanity and is eventually radicalized to commit acts of violence due to his firsthand look at child prostitution — is not exactly a compelling spokesperson for the ride sharing industry.
It appeared to be a strange career move for De Niro — who has long been open about his interest in making a “Taxi Driver” sequel — and caught the attention of the film’s screenwriter, Paul Schrader.
“Ouch,” Schrader wrote after sharing a link to the rumor on his personal Facebook page. “Why Bob would do this is beyond my reckoning. But I haven’t seen it. If I’m lucky I never will.”
Schrader ended up getting lucky, as the commercial will not be materializing in its rumored format. In statements provided to Variety, representatives for both Uber and De Niro have denied that they are working on a “Taxi Driver”-inspired ad. While Uber confirmed that De Niro will be appearing as a spokesman in a British commercial for the company, both parties made it clear that both the character of Travis Bickle and the film’s larger iconography are not part of the campaign.
“We are filming with Robert De Niro in London for a new Uber UK campaign, which will launch later in the year,” the company said in a statement.
De Niro will next be seen in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. In addition to his role in the buzzy $200 million Apple epic, he has lined up two major television projects. The actor is set to produce and star in the Netflix limited series “Zero Day” and Mitch Glazer’s upcoming drama “Mr. Natural.”