While preparing for his role as Bickle, De Niro was filming Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 in Italy. According to Boyle, he would "finish shooting on a Friday in Rome...get on a plane...[and] fly to New York." De Niro obtained a cab driver's license, and when on break would pick up a cab and drive around New York for a couple of weeks, before returning to Rome to resume filming 1900. De Niro apparently lost 35 pounds and listened repeatedly to a taped reading of the diaries of Arthur Bremer. When he had time off from shooting 1900, De Niro visited an army base in Northern Italy and tape recorded soldiers from the Midwestern United States, whose accents he thought might be appropriate for Travis's character.