Candy Clark was a successful model in New York when she won the role of Jeff Bridges's girlfriend in John Huston's FAT CITY (1972). She followed it up with an Oscar-nominated turn as the lovable Debbie in George Lucas's AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973), a fresh face amongst fellow newcomers Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith, Paul Le Mat and Harrison Ford. Candy has been a vivacious, natural, charming addition to the cast of films such as THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976), THE BIG SLEEP (1978), HANDLE WITH CARE (aka CITIZEN'S BAND) (1978), BLUE THUNDER (1983), AT CLOSE RANGE (1985) and the very underrated MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1979). She has worked with some of cinema's top talents, and recently had roles in ZODIAC (2007) for David Fincher and THE INFORMANT! (2009) for Steven Soderbergh. She will soon appear as JJ (A.J. Cook)'s mother in the top-rated TV series, 'Criminal Minds'. I interviewed Candy about her experience making her breakout movie, the much loved AMERICAN GRAFFITI. 

(My interview with Candy about THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. )

AMERICAN GRAFFITI covers one night in the life of a group of teenagers growing up in the early '60s. Some of them are moving away to college, some are staying behind. We get to see them cruising, getting into mischief and just hanging out. How similar were your teen years?

The thing about AMERICAN GRAFFITI is that it captured most people's teenage years from that era. Many people I speak to feel it's as if they are watching a documentary of that time. The reason it is regarded as a classic and has such a huge following is because so many people identify with it, and it's true to everybody from that era, the late '50s to mid '60s. It's a very authentic film, and the music really helps to evoke that period. The movie takes place during one night with all the characters cruising, and that's what we all did in the US during that period. Some people from countries such as Japan and Sweden enjoy that lifestyle from the late '50s to the mid '60s. They collect the vintage and custom cars and have adopted the look of the time, with the big bouffant hair and rolled-up jeans.

When did you first hear of the project?

 I don't remember really, but I just went up for it. I had an audition which was really a general meeting with George Lucas. I never heard back from him. At that point there was no script, we were just being seen. I got hold of the script about a week later and I identified with it so much. It was basically my lifestyle in Fort Worth, Texas when I was in my teens. I pushed my manager to get me another audition, but she told me it was practically impossible to get seen again once they had already seen you. But she did it! The next thing I knew was that I was being called in to do a screen test. I had to do the scene where Toad picks me up and tells me that I look like Connie Stevens. We did the test at Dove Films. This was was cinematographer Haskell Wexler's commercial shooting space, and it was pretty big. Actors and actresses from all over L.A. tried out. It was very competitive. I remember seeing Judy Strangis from the TV series 'Room 222'. I did my screen test with Charles Martin Smith, who had already been cast. Haskell and George Lucas were there. We did the test in a little alcove with a wooden park bench instead of the car. I didn’t think I had a chance because I was four inches taller than Charlie. I guess because I felt this way, I came across as relaxed in the screen test. Lo and behold I got the part! George filmed the screen test on this cheap, plastic pink-coloured video camera. Years later I asked George if I could see my test, and he told me that it had come out black! So I asked him "Why did you pick me?". He said "Well, I just liked what I saw through the viewfinder."

Were you familiar with George's work before AMERICAN GRAFFITI?

I had seen THX 1138 (1971) at the theatre but I didn't realise George Lucas had directed it until much later. I don't remember much about the movie, but I do remember there was a lot of running through covered parking lots and tunnels! (Laughs.)

How about AMERICAN GRAFFITI's producer, Francis Ford Coppola?
I met him in Queens, New York when he was doing the screen tests for THE GODFATHER (1972). My friend Fred Roos was casting it, and he took me along for a few days in a row. I got to see all these actors trying out, people like Jimmy Caan.It was really interesting. Actually, Francis did a screen test with me and he told me later that he almost got fired for it! Paramount saw the test and accused him of wasting film. It was only a minute long, but it must have been a shock for the studio heads to see someone who had no business being there turn up in the hundreds of tests. I was wearing a long black cape with a hat, and Francis pretended to crank me down so that my feet disappeared, and then he cranked me back up! That was the extent of it.

Did you have a feeling that AMERICAN GRAFFITI was going to be a big film?
I knew it was going to be a hit. Richard Dreyfuss would always say no, but I was certain. The script was so good, and it was so authentic to the time. Universal didn’t have any great faith in the movie. The studio heads thought it was going to go straight to drive-in theatres, and didn't understand what George was trying to do. They also hated the title, and didn't understand what the word 'graffiti' had to do with anything. Francis Coppola came to the set and told all the actors that we had to come up with a new title. Francis came up with 'Rock Around the Block'. I thought that title stunk! It was so clunky! It would have killed the film. I loved the title 'American Graffiti'. I thought it had a great flow, and I told Francis he shouldn't change it.

Was Debbie the part you wanted to play the most? Did you see it as the best part?

Yeah, I always saw it as the best part. The character had a lot to do and she had dimensions and opinions. I guess you could also say she supported animal rights. When Toad is talking about hunting wild animals, she's clearly not happy about it! She is also a kind person who tries to make Toad feel good about himself at the end of their disastrous evening!

You show a real gift for comic timing in the film.
Thank you!

How did you prepare for the role of Debbie?
Well, the character was basically created once I put on the costume and the wig. I just coasted on the writing. It was a good script. I tried to play the character as realistically as possible. I based her on people I knew and on myself, because her experiences weren't outside my realm.

My hair doesn't hold a curl. The hairdresser and I were puzzled how we were going to keep my hair in a flip. We tried out a lot of different wigs and I chose the platinum blonde one. I loved it! It was perfect. The make-up lady told me it would really show up because we were shooting at night, and it did. She was right!

How was shooting at night?
Night shoots are very intimate because there aren't a lot of people standing around on the street corner watching. You feel less exposed. It was hard because it was cold, damp and foggy that summer in Petaluma. It was freezing! I can't tell you how cold it was. Thank God for the wig I was wearing. It acted like a hat! All I had on was a lightweight sweater and a spaghetti strap dress. We were trying to convince the audience that it was a hot summer’s night, but in some scenes you can see our breath! Night shoots are also very exhausting, and we shot for 28 nights on location. I don't know how people do night shoots.

Was George aiming for a very naturalistic movie? He seemed to be willing to include the lucky accidents that sometimes happened – for example, Toad crashing his scooter and almost dropping the Old Harper’s.

We were on a limited budget and a limited shooting schedule. We couldn't do many takes. George printed the best of what he could get. Sometimes mistakes happened and if George liked them, he would print them.

Who hung out with who during filming?
Harrison, Paul and Bo hung out together. They were kind of like the 'bad boys'. And then there was me, Ronnie, Charlie, Richard and Cindy.

Did people look up to Harrison in any way because he had been acting longer?
No, he was just beginning as an actor! He was as poor as a churchmouse when he made this film, and his main occupation was as a finish carpenter. He used to make these beautiful, finished cabinets and shelving.

Is it true that Harrison, Bo and the guys got up to some rowdy hijinks during filming?
If you put a group of young people together in a Holiday Inn, what's going to happen? There is going to be some drinking! When they weren't working, they would just hang out and drink beer or whisky. It wasn't abnormal behaviour or anything scandalous.

Why do you think it is such a vibrant movie? 

I think shooting at night and Haskell's documentary-like photography gave it a real, authentic feel. Some scenes are so dark. You can only hear people talking and not see them! I wonder if they have brightened the picture for the Blu-ray. George and his team created a real moneymaker for everybody - George, Universal, Francis. We're approaching the 40th anniversary and people are still talking about it! It seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Without AMERICAN GRAFFITI, George wouldn't have been given the chance to make STAR WARS (1977), which was a bigger-budgeted film. If STAR WARS hadn't hit big, George woud have had a much different career I guess. He might have continued making lower-budgeted films.

Did you test for STAR WARS?
No. I called George up to get him to consider me for it, but he said "We aren't going to have any AMERICAN GRAFFITI people on another planet!". And then he cast Harrison Ford! (Laughs.)

What was George's style as a director?
He was very quiet. He was overworked and exhausted on the movie, and as the shoot went on, he got quieter and more exhausted! He was editing the movie during the day in L.A. and then shooting all night. I couldn't handle that kind of responsibility. You're like the Master of Ceremonies, you're overseeing the whole thing. It's too much for me. Besides, I’m too lazy!

Was Coppola a big presence on set?
No, he came and went.

Were you surprised when Ron Howard turned out to be a talented director?
Ronnie brought this little hand-cranked viewer. He showed me this little film he had made that had won the Second Prize at the Kodak Film Contest. In the film his brother Clint fell asleep leaning against the tombstone of a cowboy, and dreamed he was in the Wild West. There were gunfights, bad guys and horses in it. Ronnie was eighteen when we made AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and I think he made theis short film when he was sixteen or seventeen. I told him "Ronnie, wow!!! You're a great director! You're going to go places!". And sure enough he did. He did EAT MY DUST (1976), and started out working with Roger Corman, like a lot of young directors. He kept moving up through the ranks, and now look at him!

Did making the film increase your confidence as an actress?
I guess. I haven't thought about it. I liked my work in it when I saw the film at the cast and crew screening. It was held at the Writer's Guild, and it was packed to the rafters. I remember that when the lights went down, and the first image was of Mel's Drive-In with 'Rock Around the Clock' on the soundtrack, everybody just jumped up out of their seats and shouted 'Yay!!!". I thought 'Well, we've got a hit here!'. I wasn't surprised at all.

Where were you when you heard of your Oscar nomination?

I got woken up by my PR guy. At that time, the announcements came out really early in the morning, like six o'clock in the morning. I was hoping I would get nominated. I had run a little campaign that I spent a little bit of money on. It ran for about two weeks before the announcements. The Oscar campaigns are a lot longer now.

How was the experience of attending the Oscars?
I went with Jeff Bridges, and the whole thing was a dream come true, a real fantasy. I have never been as hugged, kissed, congratulated or given so many flowers in my whole life! During this time I got a lot of acknowledgments, pats on the back and telegrams. It was great.

Did you think you had a good chance of winning?
No, I knew I wasn't going to win. I just wanted to be nominated. I thought Sylvia Sidney was going to win for SUMMER WISHES, WINTER DREAMS. I considered her the 'sentimental vote'. She had been acting for a long time and deserving of notice. I was looking down the aisle at Sylvia Sidney when they were making the announcement because I wanted to see her face when she won. It turned out I was looking at the wrong person because Tatum O'Neal won for PAPER MOON! I was shocked! Tatum was so young, she was about nine years old! It was a fabulous evening. I highly recommend everyone being nominated for an Oscar! Everyone should be nominated once!

Jeff finally won for CRAZY HEART (2009) after many nominations.

Well, I was not surprised. He is a master. I told him he was going to win for CRAZY HEART. I gave him a lucky two-dollar bill and wrote on it, wishing him luck. And sure enough, he won! I was hoping he would say "Thanks Candy for the lucky two-dollar bill!" in his aceptance speech. But he didn't! (Laughs.) I guess he forgot. I would forget. I would be like a deer in the headlights and hyperventilate!

Did AMERICAN GRAFFITI have a good effect on your career?
Yeah, they did. I had a film called REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER (1975) where I was going to play an undercover narcotics police officer. I did lots of research for it, about three or four weeks. I spent time with New York undercover cops, and got the wardrobe together. Jeff and I had gone down to the Cartagena Film Festival. Before we went, I went to the Board of Health and got a shot for smallpox. The doctor told me "Be on the lookout for anyone with yellowed skin". Sure enough, I came back with hepatitis and lost the role. I had two weeks in the hospital and two weeks bedridden. I begged the studio to wait but they had to go forward without me because they were starting filming in two days. It was a big disappointment to me, and my career took a nosedive because the momentum was gone after that. They had to give the role to someone, and it was Susan Blakely, who hadn't had enough time to do the research I had done. I saw the film and there she was in my wardrobe. I was like 'Aaaargghhh!'. Oh well, those are the breaks.

How does GRAFFITI impact on your life now?
I do a lot of hotrod shows. People love the film and tell me how much they love the character Debbie! They tell me where they were when they first saw it and how many times they have seen it in a row. Back in the day, they didn't shoo you out of the theatre after one performance and you could just stay and watch the film as many times as you wanted. They're so happy and excited. It's just great. Some people even get teary-eyed because they took their girlfriend to see it and they are still married. They tell me I look the same as I did in the movie! I guess they look at the characters through rose-tinted glasses. The people are always so kind and nice. Paul Le Mat, Bo Hopkins, Cindy Williams and I have all done quite a few of these hotrod shows. They're fun. I love the movie and I will do all I can to promote it and make it even bigger.

Are you an expert on the AMERICAN GRAFFITI cars now?
I guess I am! (Laughs.) I know the histories of the cars and I was there at the time. When you talk to these hotrod guys you had better know your stuff!

Have you had much contact with the cast and crew over the years?
Not really. I know everybody wants us to be having barbecues together like 'I Love Lucy' or 'Leave It to Beaver', with all our grandkids around! But you know, life moves on, people get married, they move to the East Coast, they have children. Every now and again you run into someone from the movie and it's all very pleasant. Nobody is mean with each other, or mad at each other. It's just like any job where you were tight at one time and then time marches on. I've kept in touch with Bo, Paul and Cindy. They're all very good people. People think Harrison, George and Ronnie were superstars at the time, but everybody was very modest, very young and just beginning their careers.

Do you think artists develop a mystique or more charisma as they become more famous?
Sure. Their life becomes different. They are catered to, complimented constantly, they are paid the big bucks, they live in a fine house, they have the prettiest women or most handsome men...of course it's going to affect you! The adulation is a big impact and it's coming at you constantly. You will definitely become a different person. You will be you - but you with a big polish. It's not a bad thing to become a big star. It's a great thing.

Are artists special people?
What makes actors special, like singers, like painters, are their ability to create something out of thin air. They are like magical people. A lot of people keep their talents hidden because of shyness or lack of confidence in themselves but there are a lot of talented people out there, as we have discovered with TV shows like 'America's Got Talent' and others. Even Grandma Moses didn't get discovered until she was ninety years old! Some people are lucky and meet the right people or know how to use their talent, but some aren't. Even Van Gogh was undiscovered in his lifetime. If I had known him I would have bought all of his work!

I would like to thank Candy for the generous use of her time and for her extensive answers.

Candy was interviewed by telephone on 18th April 2012.

Paul Rowlands is a Japan-based writer. After completing a BA Humanities course (majoring in English and Science) at the University of Chester, he moved to Japan in 1999. He writes for the James Bond magazine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, has had articles published on Press Play and has had an almost lifelong obsession with cinema, something the advent of DVD only increased. Paul is also a writer of so far unpublished short stories and novels, and is planning his first short film. 


Andreas Wisniewski is most well-known as the villain Necros in the James Bond film THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987), but he has had an interesting and rich career and life, working with some of the world's most talented filmmakers and actors, in blockbusters and small films, and living in locations such as Los Angeles, London and his native Germany. I talked to him about some of the highlights of his career.

You started of as a ballet dancer. How did you turn to acting?
It happened quite coincidentally and naturally because I was dancing with a ballet company and we had a choreographer come in who did 'dance theatre'. This is a much more natural way of expressing oneself. We were using our voices and not the stylised movements that ballet dancers use. To me, that was a revelation. As it happened, straight after, someone I knew was making a student film and it went from there. It was sort of like in Plato's Cave story where the people come out of the cave and now there is no going back.

How did you come to work with Ken Russell three times?

I think it was four times actually. Ken only died just recently. He was quite a character, but an interesting man. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of music. We had one long conversation and other than that, it was just stuff on set. He had an incredible mind, what I would call an 'associative mind'. Anything would just trigger his brain and he would come up with so many connected ideas. It was curious because we had the same birthday (3rd July). I was working on GOTHIC (1986) and I am barely in it. It was my first English movie and the writer Stephen Volk, Ken and I all had the same birthday. Ken was one of the few people who hired me again. Tom Cruise was another one. I really got on with Ken. I also really liked all of his visuals. You know, he operated the camera on all of his movies, which is very unusual.

Can you talk about your other films with him?
I did Elton John's 'Nikita' (1985) video. I also did a bit in ARIA (1987), and then there was some very wealthy Swiss musician who hired Ken to make a video of one of his songs. I don't have a copy of it and I have never seen it. But I played a sort of Tarzan character in it.

How did you get the role of Necros in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS?

It was just plain luck in the sense that I just fit the description of the character in the screenplay. Someone sent in a picture of me and I walked in, and that was it. Luck is a big part in this business.

How did Germany respond to you being in a Bond film? Your friends, colleagues and family?
Germany didn't really give a toss, my friends and family were delighted.

Necros is memorable for me because he is a genuine physical threat to Bond and an interesting character.

I appreciate you saying that but I really don't have a perspective on it because when I watch myself, I cringe! I can't stand watching myself, I am just critical and I can't get past it.

One reason you are so menacing in the film is that you don't speak very much!

Yeah, that seems to be a recurring theme! (Laughs.) A couple of years ago I did a film in which not only did I not speak at all but I wasn't seen either! How about that!

When you started acting could you already speak English well?

Yes, but I still had to take some coaching lessons because my accent was thick.

How many languages do you speak?

I only speak German and English really well, but I can get by in others.

Were you dubbed in the scenes where you impersonated people's voices?
I think perhaps for some of it but I'm not sure.

Did you enjoy making the movie?
Yeah, it was great fun. I learned a hell of a lot because it was my first big movie. Small movies and big movies are as different as theatre and television.

How was working with Timothy Dalton? What is your strongest memory?
The close-ups of the Hercules fight took three days to shoot. They built this amazing set of a Gypsum landscape in the studio and they had half a Hercules, huge wind machines and a horizon all the way around. We were hanging in this net for an hour and Tim said "I'm knackered already!". Little did we know we were going to be there for three days! The scene was good at the time, and if you watch the stunts in films today, it looks quite epic! We worked very hard at it.

I really liked Tim, although it needs to be said, he is a very private man. It goes so far, we didn't go out drinking together. He didn't like that. I enjoyed the fact that he was taking it seriously. It really added something to it. Playing that part is a difficult job because you have to distinguish yourself from your predecesors. Everyone has their favourite Bond, and it's always an uphill struggle for the new Bond.

How about the other actors?

Jeroen Krabbe was very pleasant. When we weren't shooting and everybody else was resting, Jeroen was always painting. He was an interesting man. Joe Don Baker was a good guy. I remember we went out a few times when we were shooting in Morocco. He is a good actor too. Maryam d'Abo is the only one I have had contact with over the years and have seen a lot of. On films like these, you spend many months together and you become part of a family and then you say goodbye and that's it. You may meet someone twenty or thirty years later working on another project. I have caught up with Maryam over the years and she seems to be doing well. She was quite unusual for a Bond girl. She was not really in the mould. I think with THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS they were really trying to steer it away from what they had done previously. That's how she was cast.

Were you intimidated by working with seasoned actors on a big film?
I think I was safeguarded by my own arrogance! I did have a few qualms about it because dancers move in a certain way and it doesn't look right. I can tell if I watch my fight scene with the butler (Bill Weston) in the film.

That fight scene was quite brutal!
It was an interesting experience because I had never done a fight scene before. Bill Weston broke a finger in that scene and I knocked him out once! These are the hazards of action scenes! I didn't really know what I was doing, and he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

You're in good company because George Lazenby apparently got the role after connecting with a stuntman in his Bond audition!

Oh, really? (Laughs.)

Did you prepare a backstory for Necros as part of your preparation?
On that one (laughs) I went all out and studied what makes people violent and murderous. I read all these psychological backgrounds and I read this fantastic book by Eric Frohm, who is probably the most important New Freudian psychologist, called 'Anatomy of Human Destructiveness'. Looking at it now, it probably didn't help me at all, because with these kinds of characters you can get by with just an attitude.

What did you think of The Pretenders song that you killed your victims to in the film (''Where Has Every Body Gone?'')?
I liked the song and thought it was a good choice.

Did you enjoy working with the director John Glen?
Yes, we had a good time. There are two types of directors - those who are technical-minded and those who like to tickle the actors. John is not one of the ticklers.

How about 'Cubby' Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson?
The amazing thing about working on a Bond movie is that 'Cubby' believed if 'it works, don't fix it'. He re-hired all the people from previous Bonds and that really made a difference compared to any other project I have ever worked on. One just slotted in there and I can't recall even once anybody using unpleasant language or losing their temper or anything like that. It just didn't happen. It was just a paid holiday in a way.

How was your audition?
I cannot remember, it's too long ago. Barbara Broccoli (now the series' co-producer) was there and Debbie McWilliams (the casting director), and a few others. Typically you read from the script but I don't remember the details anymore. Sorry!

Did you attend any of the premieres of the film?
Yeah, I went to the London one in Leicester Square, it was fabulous. I met the Royals, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and we had the most amazing party afterwards. There was Afghan food and unlimited Bollinger.

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the series. Why do you think it has lasted so long? When I was doing my Bond it was the 25th anniversary, so that's a very scary thought! (Laughs.) I think they have managed somehow to stay in touch with what the audience wants. In the '60s it was iconoclastic and then they suddenly changed it and they managed to not make a mis-step. The series has always been consistent, but with each film it changed a little. It's been amazing to have been part of it.

Did the film have a big effect on your career?
 I guess to some degree, but it didn't save me from having to audition.

You then won a role in DIE HARD (1988).
DIE HARD has gone on to become a classic and it spawned a whole genre of movies. We had DIE HARD on a ship, DIE HARD on a plane, DIE HARD on a toilet (laughs).

How similar or different was working on the film to working on the Bond film?
It was similar in that both were big-budget movies. It affords the luxury of being able to do eight or nine takes whereas on a tightly-budgeted movie if you don't get it right the first time, you might get a second chance, but that's it. But it was different in that there was quite a bit more pressure. It was like you were sitting on TNT, whereas on the Bond film it was all so relaxed. In Hollywood, if you don't move your arse, someone will stuff you into a cannon and fire you off. It has that sort of feel. If you can't get it right, there are ten people waiting to replace you and they will do it in a jiffy.

How was Bruce Willis? It was the first of many action roles, but he was known as a light comedy actor before the movie.
I think he was utterly pleasant considering I had to smash his head into a wall! We really didn't know where this was going to go. Nobody did. Even whilst filming we had script updates every day and the studio liked the rushes so much they doubled the budget and we just kept shooting.

And Alan Rickman?
Alan has remained a friend. He is a fabulous actor.

What was John McTiernan like as a director?
John was very professional and epitomised what it is like to work in Hollywood. It made for hard but very sharp work. There's no dithering, it's just 'get on with it' and it's fantastic to be able to work with the best in the field.

How was it working with another fellow dancer turned actor, Alexander Godunov?
 That was one of those bizarre coincidences. While I was still dancing with the Berlin Ballet, he came in and danced with us. So I had already met him. We ended up playing brothers years later. It was just strange! I remember him very fondly. DIE HARD was quite a boring job. I was in the movie for three minutes. I worked on the film for seven months. I went to the set fourteen days or so, and seven out of those, I did nothing and they sent me back home. And of the remaining seven, I was dead for three! (Laughs.) But the days that I didn't work, Alexander and I played chess in his trailer. A very nice man, it was so sad that he died so early.

You worked with Tom Cruise and Brian de Palma on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996). How was the experience?
With Tom, it was really quite bizarre because the first time I met Tom, all that I could say about him was that he was polite. I couldn't really say what qualities as a person he had or anything. But about a year ago when I worked half a day on GHOST PROTOCOL, we had a very extensive conversation. He was very nice to me. I remember on the first film in Czechoslovakia that when he got out of his car it took forty seconds for a hundred people to appear! He doesn't lead a normal life. You cannot imagine what would happen if he stuck his neck out somewhere in the States.

With Brian, it's curious because he is unlike most directors. He sits in a room and looks through a monitor. It's hard to say anything about him. He's obviously excellent at technical stuff. He doesn't like talking to actors, he's solitary.

How did you feel after seeing the first film?
Actually, I thought it was a bit complicated and I didn't understand what was going on when I read the script. So that wasn't a big plus! I thought the fourth film was excellent. It worked out well and there was a good mix of characters and so on. I think it's the best one.

Is your role in GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) the same role you played in the original film? That was the idea, yeah. They wanted Vanessa back as the arms dealer and they wanted to use me as a link to her. I was going to do a second day in Canada to do the scenes. What bit I had they cut down, I don't know exactly. Then I guess it fell through. The dialogue I had in the scene wasn't needed when Vanessa didn't return, so I ended up being in the film for three seconds! (Laughs.) I didn't know this until I saw the movie in the cinema. I liked Vanessa very much. I also worked with her daughters Joely and Natasha, and had an extended breakfast at Tony Richardson (their father and Vanessa's ex-husband)'s house when I first went to Hollywood.

After MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, you did a lot of German films and then some TV in England.
It's a tough life. I was reasonably lucky in that I made a living and I didn't have to wait tables. When I started I had ambitions to be a serious actor. I wanted to be Hamlet but for various reasons it didn't materialise. If I look at what I have done, none of the roles I have done (with the exception of some tiny ones that people will never see) represented serious acting. But I am grateful in that I have been able to work with some of the best people in the business.

Did you enjoy your cameo in 'The Bill', a British TV institution, and working on British TV in general? Yeah, when you work on a long-running show like that, you always end up working with the best people. I think England has the best pool of acting talent anywhere. Even down to those playing the tiniest part are just brilliant.

How was working in England with Michael Fassbender on CENTURION (2010)?
I was on it for a day so I can't really say how it was making the movie! It was diabolically cold, it was at night and I did about two or three shots in the thing. Michael's amazing though, I think he's going to have an excellent career. He's a super nice guy.

Can you tell me a little about your short film INSPIRATION (2001)?
I had made a couple of little ones before. I had a friend who is a musician who asked me to direct his music video and I said yes. As I was working on this I decided that I wanted to get something out of it for myself so I expanded upon this this script I had for a non-performance music video. So the idea was that it was a short film that could be edited into a music video. So he had his video, and I had my short film. I guess it's kind of restricted in a way, but it worked out well. I will put it on the Web.

You lived in London for a while. What did you like the most out of living in the city?
I lived there many years. London is one of the great cities. My kids were born there. I have three boys. It was a personal matter moving back to Germany, but time was moving on, and I wanted my kids to know their grandparents. They love it here, so they have been spending most of their time growing up in Germany. But they have a strong connection to England, and they are fluently bi-lingual. I think that's great. My life is very full, and my kids take up most of my time. But I like it that way.

How would you feel if your kids took up acting?
I don't know how I would feel about that. Apprehensive! (Laughs.)

What advice would you give them?
Have a back-up plan! (Laughs.)

What do you get the most out of practicing Buddhism?
That's a very very big question! Let me see if I can sum it up. What's so amazing about Zen is that it gives you a set of tools whereby you can enjoy everything about your life, even stuff that is so-called bad. This is just one angle of it, but it enables you to squeeze everything out of your life, regardless of what it is. It's like enjoying every moment.

Have you raised your children as Buddhists?
No, I think it's strange to raise your children as something because everybody needs to find their own way, but I have exposed them to it.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?
 I made a low-budget horror movie called URBAN EXPLORERS (2011) here in Germany. It has an interesting topic and it's a very scary movie! I don't know how well it is doing. Apart from that, I always have projects in my head. Whether or not anything will or will not come of them is conjecture.

Andreas was interviewed by telephone on 20th February 2012.
I would like to thank him for the generous use of his time.

Paul Rowlands is a Japan-based writer. After completing a BA Humanities course (majoring in English and Science) at the University of Chester, he moved to Japan in 1999. He writes for the James Bond magazine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, has had articles published on Press Play and has had an almost lifelong obsession with cinema, something the advent of DVD only increased. 


Candy Clark was a successful model in New York when she won the role of Jeff Bridges's girlfriend in John Huston's FAT CITY (1972). She followed it up with an Oscar-nominated turn as the lovable Debbie in George Lucas's AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973), a fresh face amongst fellow newcomers Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith, Paul Le Mat and Harrison Ford. Candy has been a vivacious, natural, charming addition to the cast of films such as THE BIG SLEEP (1978), HANDLE WITH CARE (aka CITIZEN'S BAND) (1978), BLUE THUNDER (1983), AT CLOSE RANGE (1985) and the very underrated MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1979). She has worked with some of cinema's top talents, and recently had roles in ZODIAC (2007) for David Fincher and THE INFORMANT! (2009) for Steven Soderbergh. She will soon film an important role as JJ (A.J. Cook)'s mother in the top-rated TV series, 'Criminal Minds'. I interviewed Candy about her experience making the brilliant sci-fi film THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) with David Bowie and director Nicolas Roeg (her partner at the time), one of her most loved films and performances.

When did you first hear about the movie?
The first time I heard about it was when I was given the script by Nic Roeg. I was waiting for him (he was in a business meeting) and he said 'Here, read this.' And then I read it while I was waiting for him, and I thought 'This is fantastic'. Then he said 'Well, you wanna be in it?'. And I said 'Yeah!' (laughs).

When did you first meet Nic?
I met him here (L.A.) at a birthday party at Si Litvinoff's house. (Litvinoff was one of the film's producers.)

How long were you involved with the film before it started filming?
About six months. I had the script before we started filming, so I read it every day and thought about it. As a result, I had a lot impressions and thoughts about things I wanted to do because I had so much advance notice. It was really helpful.

What was your first impression of David Bowie?
I thought he was the right choice, and he was perfect as a man from another planet. I had never seen him in concert which was a good thing because I would have totally been in awe when we made the film. So when I met him he was just another actor, basically. I never really followed his career. I liked The Rolling Stones, people like that. I had seen that film he did, ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1973), in the theatre when I lived in New York City. I like those kind of documentary/ biography kind of films. When I met him he looked totally different from Ziggy Stardust.

How was working with him?

He was very normal, very down to earth. What I liked about when we worked together was that he, being a musician, didn't mind doing the dialogue. We had a lot of lines and dialogue to say, and the script was so well written that we wanted to do it word for word and period for period. I didn't want to change anything because I really liked the writing, and so David was so used to rehearsing as a musician that it didn't bother him to go over, run the lines over and over again. When we were doing one scene, we would be running over the lines for the next scene. He liked to practice a lot, which was great for me.

It is commonly accepted that David was at the height of his drug use during the period. Did you see any evidence of this?

Not at all. I think he vowed not to do drugs with Nic. Whether he kept that vow or not I never knew. All I know is that he was very professional and he was there on time every day. That's all I can vouch for, my experience. I don't know him as being wild. I know he had a big entourage around him, so we didn't hang out much or socialise because he had a lot of people he brought with him to the location. They kind of stayed to themselves and hung out with each other in the evening.

Was it always David that Nic wanted?
He got the idea from Arlene Sellers, who was a producer. She said, 'Hey, how about David Bowie?'. Once it came up it just seemed like a natural. So Nic went after David Bowie and they're both British. He had ways to get to him. Once David read the script, I mean why would he ever turn it down? He is the main character. He was perfect. He was at the height of his handsomeness. He was young and thin, perfect for that character. His skin was just beautiful. He just never looked better. When I look back on the film, I just go 'Wow!'. He really photographed well, and he was really good as the character. I would say brilliant.

Did you read the Walter Tevis book in order to prepare?
Yeah, I read the book. The book was totally different from the script. There are similarities but the character in the book was really, really tall - 7 or 8 feet tall, with white hair. It touched on similar things, but it's two different stories basically.

There is a rumour that Nic considered 'Jurassic Park' author Michael Crichton due to his height (6'9").

I never heard anything about that.

Why did you have to double David in one scene?
At that time David wouldn't fly, and there was a scene where he was meant to come out of the World Enterprises building in New York City through revolving doors and into a waiting limousine. That was me in his clothes wearing an orange wig! As I walked out I could hear people saying "That's David Bowie!" . I didn't correct them! I had to put my hand up to jaw in the scene because our jawline is different. The clothes fit well, but they were a little big, and long in the leg. I had volunteered to do the scene because I wanted to go to New York City.

How was filming in New Mexico?
New Mexico is a beautiful state. It's known as 'The Land of Enchantment', and it is, it is just a gorgeous part of the country. It's got mountains and deserts and it's just beautiful. We were based in Albuquerque and we had some locations out of Santa Fe . I love Santa Fe, it's a beautiful city. I was there last year. I went back to see it again. Went on a little vacation there, it was just as pretty now as it was back then. Went back to the hotel called La Fonda and walked through that. It's just a great city. I could live there easily.

What were the people like?

Just normal people like you and me. There's a lot of American Indians based out of there. Everyone's very nice. It's still got a real small town feeling, kind of thing.

It must have been strange for the residents to have their area taken over by a movie crew.
No, they always have movie crews going through New Mexico. It's so close to California and it has such a lot of different atmospheres, locations and scenery that it's a great location for film shoots.

Was the whole shoot an enjoyable experience?

Oh yeah, the whole thing was fantastic. Everybody got along, everybody did great. It was very easy going.

After the movie did you make any other movies that were as enjoyable to make?

Yeah, I went on to make BLUE THUNDER (1983) and MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1979). They were fun. But THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH was the part I had the longest so I really got to think a lot about it and plan what I was going to do. Or as much as you can without being on the set, you know, because once you're on the set with the other actors, all those plans go out of the window. Now it is live and in person. It's like if you're a basketball player - you can think about throwing hoops and what you're going to do in the game and all of that but once all the players are there, it's totally different. It's out of control and you just do the best you can

What is Nic's directing style like?

Very much like a coach. I mean, any time you see a scene, he is just a couple of inches out of frame. Just right there, you could see him out of your peripheral vision, watching you.

Does he favour a lot of takes?

There were a fair amount, although David and I had our lines memorised and we had it down pat. It didn't take a lot of takes, not an abnormal amount. He wouldn't just go on and on and on, no. If he was going to redo it, he would tell you ''Try to do this, this time'. It wouldn't just be you are redoing it and redoing it the same way.

What was the most challenging aspect of your role?

The thing that was most challenging, I guess, was to keep track of the time period, how many years have passed and what the characters look like at different stages. The ageing and all of that. You really had to keep track of it.

Was acting in heavy make-up difficult?

It was, because it took forever to get it on and there were all these rubber pieces that were glued onto your face. You didn't want to crack it around the cheeks and around the mouth, so you couldn't eat. You really had to conserve the make-up, and you couldn't laugh or do anything that would pop it off. You had to be really careful and save it for the scenes. You had to drink through a straw, and it was hard to get on and hard to get off. You had to get solvents to take it off your face and it went really slowly. And it was really painful.

How did you feel about appearing nude in the film?
Nudity has never been my favourite thing to do. Back in the '70s, you know, everyone had to do it. It was faddish and new, and it is was kind of mandatory if you wanted to be in the films. That was the agreement, you had to do it. Now you see nudity and you just shrug your shoulders.

Did the script change at all during filming?

No, that was what it was. It was some of the best writing I had the opportunity to work with, so I didn't want to change anything, and when you're doing a film, if it is not there in the script, it is not going to be there on the screen. The script is the most important thing, it's like the blueprint for building a shopping mall or a house. If you don't have that, it's going to be all over the place.

Were there any scenes that never made it to the finished film?

Oh yeah, we probably overshot, and it has to be a certain amount of time. Once it is all edited, some of the weaker or lesser scenes got eliminated. I don't remember what they were. It was such a long time ago.

Did you ever meet Donald Cammell or his brother David? (Donald co-directed PERFORMANCE with Nic, and David was involved with THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH in the early development stages.)

I met Donald way back in the early '70s. He was kind of on the party scene and out and about, a bachelor around town. David, I don't think I met.

Did Donald ever visit the set?

No, as far as I remember, he didn't come to the set. Most people don't make the effort to visit other people's sets.

Was Paul Mayersberg (the film's screenwriter) present during filming?

Yeah, he was there.

How was working with Rip Torn?

Very easy. Good actor.

When was the first time you saw a version of the movie?

Like a year later. It was the final cut that was going to be screened in England, so I went to England and saw it.

How did you feel about the finished film?

I thought it was fantastic. I could fill in what Nic was going for because I was so involved in the movie, I was there. I thought it was great, and I think it did get good reviews in England.

It has become a big cult film.

Yeah, it still is. That uncut version is out and it's building its audience in the US. I am glad it's got a following because Nic Roeg put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the movie.

Have you seen much of Nic over the years?

Here and there, not a lot. He lives in England now and has a quiet life. Once in a while he directs something.

I wish he directed more. I guess his films went out of vogue. It's sad.
He's very picky. I don't know, people's careers start off and they arc and they go down. Like Nic Roeg said, "Nothing lasts forever". I think his career does last forever because of films like THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, WALKABOUT (1971) and DON'T LOOK NOW (1973). They go down in film history.

If you were to do the role again, would you do it any differently?
You know, I have never thought about it. It'll probably never come to me again. It's a once in a lifetime thing, and I thought I did a great job, really. I really put a lot of thought and effort into it, and thought about the clothing and the character, and that's as good as I could do.

If you could give advice to the 1975 Candy Clark what would it be?
I would have advised her that when she went to the film festival in Cartagena, Colombia, to get a hepatitis shot. But that was prior to THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. That was right after AMERICAN GRAFFITI. I got infectious hepatitis, and I took care of it and went right into the hospital and stayed two weeks in bed. Four weeks in total, all lying down. I took it very seriously. I lost an acting job in REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER (1975). I was leaving for that job and within two days I was hospitalised. I had that glitch in my career. I had done research for several months, running around with the New York Police Department Undercover Section and all that and got the wardrobe ready. I really wanted to do it and begged them to wait for me to get well, but they couldn't as they were leaving for location. I saw the movie after it came out and there was Susan Blakely (she got the role overnight because they needed to replace me) in my wardrobe. I couldn't believe it. Oh! Oh, well. At the time I was very upset. But, you know, you get sick, you get sick.

How does the film impact on your life now?
Well, I am still talking about it! People love it, and it gives me a certain amount of notoriety or prestige I guess. People admire it, and as a result admire me! It's been a very good thing in my life for sure. 

I would like to thank Candy for the generous use of her time and for her candid answers.

Candy was interviewed by telephone, 3rd April 2012.

Paul Rowlands is a Japan-based writer. After completing a BA Humanities course (majoring in English and Science) at the University of Chester, he moved to Japan in 1999. He writes for the James Bond magazine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, has had articles published on Press Play, and has had an almost lifelong obsession with cinema, something the advent of DVD only increased.