Ti West Says ‘MaXXXine’ Is a Combo of ‘The Terminator’ and a ‘Paul Schrader Hardcore Thing’

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Ti West is channeling Paul Schrader for his trilogy ender “MaXXXine.” Oh, and “The Terminator.”

Writer/director West told Total Film that the 1985 Hollywood-set horror film is just as “hardcore” as Schrader’s filmography, with high concept tie-ins of “The Terminator” and “Vice Squad.” Plus, of course, what “X” film is complete without a hint of giallo?

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“It’s poppy, but still grounded in more of a grittier ’80s than a shopping-mall ’80s,” West described his film. “You’re seeing the glamorous side of the movie business and the seedy side of Hollywood.”

West said “MaXXXine” has “a ‘Terminator’-like aesthetic to a Paul Schrader hardcore thing to ‘Vice Squad’ to giallo,” all mixed together.

“MaXXXine” is one of IndieWire’s most anticipated films of 2024, with Mia Goth reprising the role of adult-film star and aspiring actress Maxine Minx for the latest franchise installment. Goth previously played Maxine in “X” as well as older character Pearl, who also landed a later eponymous prequel. “MaXXXine” takes place a decade after the events of “X” with Maxine finally getting her big break in Hollywood, just as a mysterious killer stalks aspiring starlets. The feature co-stars Halsey, Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, and Kevin Bacon.

“MaXXXine” certainly has an anti-hero foundation, much like Schrader’s “Taxi Driver.” Schrader told IndieWire while at Cannes 2024 that he turned down writing a “Taxi Driver” sequel after winning the Academy Award. According to Schrader, “Taxi Driver” actor Robert De Niro asked him and director Martin Scorsese to consider a follow-up feature.

“I don’t want to slag De Niro, but a lot of his decisions sometimes have financial motivations. I’m sure someone had said to him, ‘You know, if you do “Taxi Driver 2,” they can pay,'” Schrader said. “So he pressed Marty on it and Marty asked me and I said, ‘Marty, that’s the worst fucking idea I’ve ever heard.'”

Schrader speculated that even though De Niro’s character died at the end of the film, there could have been a “version of him” instead becoming like “Ted Kaczynski and maybe he’s in a cabin somewhere and just sitting there, making letter bombs.” Yet De Niro wasn’t too enthralled by that idea.

“Now, that would be cool. That would be a nice Travis. He doesn’t have a cab anymore. He just sits there [laughs] making letter bombs,” Schrader recalled telling De Niro. “But Bob didn’t cotton to that idea, either.”

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