Hey! I’m walking here![Honk Honk] I’m walking here! Up yours, you son of a bitch. You don’t talk to me that way. [Honk] Get out of here!
Don’t worry about that. Actually, that ain’t a bad way to pick up insurance, you know.
According to Dustin Hoffman himself, the taxi incident wasn’t scripted. During an L.A. Times interview in Jan. 2009, he said that the movie didn’t have a permit to close down the NYC street for filming, so they had to set-up the scene with a hidden camera in a van driving down the street, and remote microphones for the actors. After 15 takes, it was finally going well, but this time, as they crossed the street, a taxi ran a red light. Hoffman wanted to say “Hey, we’re SHOOTING here!”, not only from fear of his life, but also from anger that the taxi driver might have ruined the take. Instead, being the professional that he is, he stayed in character and shouted “Hey, we’re WALKING here!” and made movie history. Jon Voight also backs up this version of the incident, saying that seeing how well Hoffman was handling the situation, he likewise stayed in character.