AN INTERVIEW WITH 007 EXPERT/ FILM PRODUCER STEVE RUBIN

Steve Rubin is an experienced film producer, special features producer and film journalist. He is also an expert on science fiction movies, combat movies and James Bond movies, having written the first behind the scenes book on 007, 'The James Bond Films' (1981), and the first 007 encyclopedia 'The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia' (1990). Steve also worked as a unit publicist on numerous films, and was a successful film journalist. I spoke with him about his writing and producing career and his relationship with Bond ... James Bond.    

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Chicago, but I grew up in Southern California. My father worked in steel cable distribution, which was allied to the construction business. He couldn't stand the Chicago winters so we moved to LA. I had a fairly normal childhood.

Did you love films as a kid?
I lived across the street from a movie theatre for six years, so I went to the movies every week. This was during a time when they had Saturday matinees, and we saw all these 50s science fiction movies and horror movies.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I went to UCLA and I was a History Major. I wrote for the college newspaper, The Daily Bruin, and I started to see my name in print. I had a lot of fun being a college journalist and it inspired me to start a writing career, although I couldn't make any money at it. In the day I parked cars, I was a messenger, I was a telephone operator. I'd write at night.

How did you get involved with writing about sci-fi movies?
I had submitted a letter to a popular science fiction film magazine in Chicago called Cinefantastique. Fred Clark and I started to be very close. I became their 1950s expert. The irony is that all of those movies that I saw at the kiddies matinees became the sources of my interviews. I did a long retrospective on FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953), and THEM (1954). I got a lot of attention. I got a very nice letter from Leonard Maltin, the great film historian, complimenting me on my work. These were not typical magazine articles. For THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL piece I worked for six months gathering all the information and the behind the scenes materials. I went up to Stanford and interviewed Julian Blaustein, I had a long interview with Robert Wise, and I talked to the writer Edmond North. In fact he answered one of the great questions of all time in movie history – 'What does Klaatu Barada Nikto mean?' He told me it means 'There is hope for Earth if scientists can be reached.' I love this kind of stuff. I love looking in old files for old film stills and gathering information on behind the scenes, and interviewing the actual filmmakers.

What led to your first book?
I decided to write a book, and since I was really interested in WW2 and movies, my first book was called Combat Films. I was really interested in writing about how movies were made. I was fascinated by the concept of how a movie gets put together. The very first interview that I did was with Michael Blankfort. He was a blacklisted American screenwriter who wrote a movie called HALLS OF MONTEZUMA (1950) with Richard Widmark. I sat down with him and he told me all these fascinating stories about the writing of the screenplay and the making of the movie. I just knew I had tapped into something. I started interviewing filmmakers and screenwriters and I did that for years, just gathering information. I did a long interview with John Sturges about the making of THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), I talked to Henry Hathaway about THE DESERT FOX (1951), Don Siegel about HELL IS FOR HEROES (1962), Carl Foreman about THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957). The book was published in 1981 by MacFarland.

Why did you decide to write The James Bond Films (1981)?
By the mid-70s I had been a big fan of John Brosnan's book James Bond in the Cinema (1972). I actually went to London and met him. I decided that somebody should do for Bond what I had been doing for science fiction films and war films. At that time, there was nothing around on Bond. I kind of tested the waters. I wrote a letter to 'Cubby' Broccoli, the prioducer of the series, in mid-1977. I told him I had written a book on combat films and that I was a film historian. He was impressed by that, and I met him. He gave me an entree to his stepson Michael G. Wilson, and so in the summer of 77 I went over to London with this official support of 'Cubby' and met with Michael. They had just wrapped THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), so I was a little too late, but I went out to Pinewood Studios and I was one of the first people to see the finished movie. It was very cool. I went out there with Ken Adam and Michael in a Rolls Royce. I felt like royalty. They were so cooperative. They opened their filing cabinets to me. I was able to copy call sheets from the first ten movies. When I started my book I had carte blanche and a lot of information even before I began doing my interviews. I spent a month in London and did a lot of interviews. I talked to Ken Adam, Lewis Gilbert, John Glen, and back in LA I talked to Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz. I had a lot of fun.

Why did 'Cubby' eventually withdraw his support of the book?
I made a strategic blunder. I was so impressed by my interviews with Richard Maibaum, Terence Young, Ken Adam and Peter Hunt that I decided I was going to show them to Cubby. I was like a little kid saying ''Look how cool all this great information I'm getting is. '' Rather than get Cubby excited about my book project, he became offended. He felt like I was telling everybody's story and not his story. He didn't want to correct what Richard Maibaum said, or Ken Adam or Peter Hunt or Terence Young. He kind of walked away from the project. But he also ordered the movie studio not to give me any movie stills. So there I was, after two or three years of research, and I had no photographs. Fred Clark, who was my editor at Cinefantastique, got wind of it, and he did something that was a real unfortunate thing. He took out a kind of sensationalist tabloid ad for the book and in it there was the question ''Who is this producer and why did he want this book stopped?'' next to a picture of Cubby. Michael G. Wilson saw the ad and was furious at me. He had been sympathetic to me because we had become friends in London, but he thought I was taking a cheap shot at his stepdad. That ended our whole relationship and I haven't spoken to Michael since. I was able to find ways of illustrating the book that got around their edict. I went to places like The Associated Press. In the old days, MGM/ UA would send the movie pictures to AP. They'd stamp on the back 'Official AP Photo'. A person could walk in and buy the picture. So, for example, I would have a picture of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) and I would publish it in the book, and reference it AP. The book came out in 1981 as 'The James Bond Films: A Behind the Scenes History'. It was published by a company in London called Talisman, and the US imprint was Arlington House. It sold really well. An updated edition was published in 1983. 

How proud are you of the book?
Very proud. I thought it turned out swell. We actually thought it might get banned and never see the light of day, but I'm kind of a tenacious person when it comes to making sure my stuff gets out there in the world. I think I had 235 stills and I couldn't use 190 of them. I expanded the ones I had to about 100. I did things that there were unusual. For example, for the MOONRAKER (1979) chapter I went to NASA and got pictures of the space shuttle. I found file photos of actors. In the same year my book was published I did an article for the LA Times on 'Whatever Happened to All the Bond Women?' Jane Seymour agreed to pose with me for some pictures for the article, and one of those pictures got on the back cover of the book.

How did you get involved with the Criterion laserdisc of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963)?
One of my best friends, and now writing partner, David Lee Miller, used to run Criterion when it was just laserdiscs. In 1991 he got the licence to put the first three Bond films on laserdisc. He hired me to do the commentary for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, and we did a great one with Terence Young, Peter Hunt, and Richard Maibaum. I assumed it was all above board, but nobody had mentioned to 'Cubby' anything about a commentary. 'Cubby' was understandably furious because of what the people were saying. Terence Young is one of the great raconteurs of all time, and he would say stuff like ''Oh, Lotte Lenya. I love her. She was like 72 years old and still ...'' well, let's say, very sexually active. And they left it in the commentary! Can you imagine what he must have said when he heard that? The discs were all withdrawn so they could remove the commentaries. An interesting postscript is that years later when the battle between Sony (representing Kevin McClory) and UA (representing the Broccolis) began, both sides called me to be an expert witness. I turned them both down. There was no way I was going to get in the middle of that because I want to have a career as a filmmaker in Hollywood.

Given how things went, how do you feel about the whole situation with the Bond producers now?
I have great respect for the Broccolis. I think of all the producers who have ever graced Hollywood ,I think the Bond producers have been the most responsible to their fans. They really try to do a good job every time and they have protected their franchise well. What happened between us was unfortunate and not really consequential. I think by becoming an outside writer it gave me a little bit more freedom to offer more of a critique in my books. In terms of the illustrations, it allowed me to explore new avenues, particularly when it came to getting the Bond Encyclopedia done.

How did The James Bond Encyclopedia come about?
In 1990 I heard from a publisher called Contemporary Books of Chicago. They had had great success with a Marilyn Monroe Encyclopedia and an Elvis Presley Encyclopedia. The idea of a James Bond Encyclopedia was a real natural. I went to London in 1989 and I went all over looking for photos. I found a real treasure trove. I found pictures in the most unusual places. I went to Ronnie Udell, who was the construction manager at Pinewood. He opened up one of his cabinets and there were tons of wonderful, extraordinary pictures of the sets. I put out an all points bulletin for friends to find pictures and people came out of the woodwork. I did a lot of new interviews. Writing an encyclopedia is a fascinating experience because you literally collect information from everywhere. With the advent of computers, I was able to do everything more efficiently. It was a lot of fun and the book was very successful. It's a fun compendium. I was a little disappointed that the publisher didn't really want to spend the money to realphabetise for the new edition. In the second edition in 1995 and the third edition in 2003, they put all the Pierce Brosnan material at the back of the book.

With all the interviews that you've done for the Bond books, what are some of your favorite revelations that you managed to uncover?
For me personally it's the little details. Kevin McClory was very helpful to me because he gave me a lot of behind the scenes information and some of the early drafts of the THUNDERBALL (1965) script. Usually the most interesting stuff for me was related to the first six films because I grew up with them and they are my favourites. Although I've always enjoyed the series ever since, I would say my love of Bond dissipated after ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969). I love the little details like Peter Hunt explaining that they never changed the line of dialogue in GOLDFINGER (1964) when the A-bomb ticks down to 007 because they couldn't get Sean back to loop the dialogue. He still says ''Three more ticks and Mr. Goldfinger would have hit the jackpot.'' Which makes no sense!

How did you research the Encyclopedia?
One of the things I did was watch each movie and keep a pad in front of me. When I saw an interesting fact or mistake I would note it. I found surprising and fun things. For example, when they are loading the gold into Mr. Solo's limousine in GOLDFINGER, the fork lift drives by the camera and on the side it says Leland Industries of Coventry in England, when it's meant to be Kentucky, where Goldfinger's horse ranch is. It's a bit of trivia that people don't normally notice. It's interesting that Mie Hama's character in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967), Kissy Suzuki, is never named in the movie. I've never seen a main character in a movie literally have no name! I remember that when I was writing The James Bond Films, I interviewed Bill Hill, the production manager on FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. I spoke to him in London in 1977, and he told me that he was also the British agent that Grant kills. We joked about what could possibly have made his character follow Grant into the bathroom!

Going back to when I was researching the Combat Films book, I was looking for those things that could only come from the horse's mouth. Maurice Binder told me that when he was doing the main titles for THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974), a model's pubic hair was sticking out and he asked her to put some vaseline on it. She asked him ''Can you do it?'', and he was down on his knees applying the vaseline when Cubby Broccoli and Roger Moore walked in. Roger turned to 'Cubby' and said ''Cubby, I thought you were the producer on this picture?'' It was hysterical. Maurice was a lot of fun. In 1981 I started working on movies as a unit publicist. I'd be the PR man on the set. Two years later I was working on a scince fiction film that Ivan Reitman produced called SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE (1983). Frank Tidy was our director of photography, and he also happened to have been a camera assistant working with Trevor Bond and Robert Brownjohn on the titles for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. He told me how they came up with the idea of the credits being projected on the belly dancer's body, and also that they did a joke by putting Ted Moore's credit on the woman's bum. I thought that was funny. There's always someone who has a story.

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with Bond?
Christmas 1964. By then I was in junior high school and I had started reading the Signet paperbacks. Everyone had them. My father was doing a lot of travelling and he used to take the Bond books with him. He usually read Westerns but he brought Goldfinger home once. I have to say I was intrigued by the cover, which was very colorful. I started reading it and I loved it. And then it was announced that the movie would be coming out. By 1964 they had released the first two films in the US but they weren't what you call high profile releases. They came out in double features and they weren't really treated with the hoopla that came afterwards. It's not surprising that when GOLDFINGER went through the roof they rereleased DR. NO (1962) and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE as a double feature. And then everybody saw them. I would say that it was the most successful double feature ever because after GOLDFINGER everybody wanted to catch up with the first two. It's also lot more fun than FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. The movies for me are equal in stature but GOLDFINGER is a much more fun movie to watch with an audience because they laugh in all the right places and the humour and the drama were just perfectly in tune. Because I had read the book of GOLDFINGER, seeing the movie after that was cool.

The following year we got THUNDERBALL, which had the most beautful women I had ever seen. I had read the book of Thunderball too. I think for me, and with the rest of America, my obsession with Bond peaked with that film. I saw YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and I didn't like it as much as the earlier ones. There are parts of the film that are beautiful, but it felt like Connery was sleepwalking through the movie, like he was already tired with the character and ready to get done with it. It kind of showed in his performance. A big problem of the film for me is the big setpiece of the helicopter chase. I just thought it was by the numbers, and could have been more dramatic. The big complaint at this time was that Bond was becoming too obsessed with his gadgets, and so the big joke in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE is that the only thing left for Q to come up with was radioactive lint, which was hysterically funny. I think SECRET SERVICE, which didn't fare as well, was a much better movie and better produced.

How did Bond impact upon your life around this time?
It kind of ruined me for women for about twenty years! I expected all women to be like Bond women. You'd just flirt with them and they'd hop in the sack with you. They had to be witty and fun and very compliant. I couldn't have been more superficial in my relationships. I would be driving down the road in my car and I would see a pretty girl driving down the highway and I would chase her. I was Sean Connery driving the Aston Martin in GOLDFINGER. Suddenly I'd realise that I was going over the speed limit and I'd reduce my speed and ay to myself ''Discipline, 007.'' Bond has a tendency to turn you into a chauvinist and it took me quite a few years to break myself of the habit. I think when I turned 30 I realised I had to grow up a little bit. Certain aspects of Bond never intrigued me. I never had any interest in smoking. I am not much of a drinker. I do not like Martinis. Ironically when the Encyclopedia came out the LA Times did a story on me and they had me pose holding a Martini. I'd rather drink motor oil! I do love cars though. My very first car was a 69 Mustang, and then I got the 280Z, which was the car I posed with Jane Seymour next to.

Have you become friends with any of the Bond people you interviewed?
I have interviewed a lot of people but I have never really stayed close to actors. I loved Terence Young, who could talk your ear off. Richard Maibaum was a little bit of a mentor for me and I got to know him pretty well. He was very nice, as was Peter Hunt. Actually, when I became a film publicist I got to work with him for two months as a unit publicist on a film shot in Calgary and Alberta. It was called Hyper Sapien. That was produced by Jack Schwartzman, who produced NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. I worked with him for two years from 85-86. We had a very great relationship.

What did Jack Schwartzman have to say about the making of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983)? Connery blamed a lot of the problems on his absence.
Jack admitted that he made a lot of mistakes on the film and he took responsibility for them. He really wanted James Horner to do the soundtrack, but Sean Connery had what apparently was a terrible meeting with Horner, and chose Michel Legrand, regrettably, instead. I think Jack really let Sean Connery run certain aspects of the production - and that was a huge mistake. But what can you do, he's ***ing Sean Connery. I believe Jack wanted to fire Irvin Kershner at one point, but saner minds prevailed. There was a lot of rancor on the production - and Jack had to constantly appear in court in London to deal with Cubby Broccoli's suit, etc. So Kersh was finally left alone a lot of the time. The movie needed more action - and, unfortunately, it wasn't happening because Kersh was not an action director. As he mentions in the commentary track, he was just bored with it - and the final action sequence in the temple shows off that boredom. It's BORING! Jack was too inexperienced a producer to have a strong creative say in the matter - he was a deal maker not a story guy.

Can you talk about the teaser you wrote for NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN?
When he was finishing the film, Jack asked me if I had any ideas for a teaser. Jack told me about his original teaser, which starts at a medieval jousting match, in which one of the knights turns out to be an assassin who kills a knight with a deadly lance. Bond jumps on a horse and chases him through London traffic on horseback. Jack said it would have been too expensive, and I can believe it. My teaser was fun. Bond is attending the Queen's birthday celebration with the female Governor of New York when a hydrofoil craft comes flying up the Thames and nearly kills the governor. Bond excuses himself and races aboard the HMS Belfast, a World War II heavy cruiser which is moored nearby. Using his naval rank - he's a commander - he takes control of one of the gun turrets, has the gunning team load high explosive shells, and they train their guns on the retreating hydrofoil and blow it out of the water. Bond returns to the Governor's side, and they both head for a romantic dinner, and wherever your imagination lets you go. I do know that the writers were really pissed that the teaser sequence that was filmed was squeezed in under the titles and the music. It was supposed to have a lot more suspense.

How did you come to do the special features for the CASINO ROYALE (1967) and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN DVDs?
I did close to a hundred films as a film publicist, a lot of them for Showtime. In addition to being a unit publicist, I started doing EPKs and behind the scenes featurettes. I got hired by Fox and Sony to do the special feature packages on the 67 CASINO ROYALE and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. I got to go back and interview a lot of people with my partner Steve Mitchell. Irvin Kershner refused to do the interview unless we paid him, but we had no money. I gradually wore him down. He gave us a great interview. We were able to cut together some good behind the scenes stuff but we had to leave out a lot of the negativity as he was not happy making the movie!

What occupies your time now?
Since 2000 I've been producing, or at least developing, full time, and I'm focussing on that. I have a lot of irons on the fire. It's hard because being a producer today because it means finding money and I am not very good at finding money! You open up a Rolodex and over the course of six months you might be able to raise 50, 000 dollars. On a typical movie, that pays for the food! Right at the moment I'm putting the finishing touches to a two and a half year project of mine – The Complete Encyclopedia of The Twilight Zone. I also have the cover of the latest issue of Cinema Retro. It's my retrospective of THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN (1969), and has some nifty interviews with George Segal, Robert Vaughn, Bradford Dillman and others. 

I spoke to Steve by telephone on 26th October 2012 and by email during October 2015. I'd like to thank him for his time.   

AN INTERVIEW WITH STUNT COORDINATOR WADE EASTWOOD

Wade Eastwood is one of the film industry's most in-demand and accomplished stunt performers and coordinators, having worked on some of the most high-profile action films of the last fifteen years or so - three Bond films (including this year's SPECTRE), LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER (2001), SALT (2010), INCEPTION (2010), TERMINATOR 3 (2003), TROY (2004), MR & MRS SMITH (2005), X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006), HANCOCK (2008), INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) ...and many more. Originally British but born and mostly raised in South Africa, Wade talked to me about his background, his rise in the stunt industry, working with action giants such as Tom Cruise, Dolph Lundgren and Daniel Craig, his passion and boundless energy for his craft, and what makes a memorable action sequence.

Before you started doing stunts, you had a very eventful life back in South Africa. You were a sprinter and ran for your country in the 100 and 200M, you served in the army, and you were a volunteer lifeguard with Air and Sea Rescue. Where does your love of adventure and exercise stem from? 
I don't know. We're all born differently and some people have that sort of personality, and some don't. I don't know if it was genetic, but I couldn't stay in one place, one school or anything. I had to keep moving. I hated feeling trapped as it were. I was always an athlete, always outdoors. I could never connect, which is why I never pursued one particular career or sport. I just wanted to keep moving and keep going until I found what I loved and what motivated me.

Why do you think stunts are such a perfect fit for you?
They encompass everything that I love – athleticism, my passion for film and travel and this gypsy nomad life if you like. It seemed like the perfect fit, to take all my ‘useless' qualifications like skydiving, scuba diving, car racing etc... and put them into something that actually is a profession. Now I can travel and have a career out of it, so it's perfect.

How did you make the transition to being a stuntman?
I was doing Air Sea Rescue, and I was trying to get into stunts. I was 19. I had just finished doing my National Service in South Africa. I could have gotten out of it because I was a British Subject, but I didn't want to be one of those guys that did that, so I went and served. A film came to town and they came to the helipad asking''Can you jump out of a chopper into this river for our film?'' There were four of us that did it. It was only when we got there that we realised that they wanted to fly over the ocean and do all this stuff but the chopper pilot had never done a film before. We didn't know what we were doing and we nearly got blown off the side at 500ft. The four of us just worked it out as we went. We did the jump, and they told us they had spotted some crocodiles and they wanted us to do it again. It was a bit dangerous, and they even had parks snipers aimed at the crocodiles incase they came for us. It just went on and on. I guess the buzz of it just sort of addicted me. Then the producer asked me ''Can you drive a car?''. Racing was my passion, so I said yes. We did a rally driving shot with this pickup truck for a shoot through sugarcane fields. Then he said ''Do you mind crashing it?'', and I said ''Yeah, I don't mind.'' It was common sense, I just lay down, grabbed a seat belt from the seat opposite, tucked my head down as far as I could, and rolled the car over. It was down and dirty, and you had to work stuff out. I got out of the car with a big smile, and that was me addicted.

What was the best thing about working on so many films and TV shows in South Africa before you left for England and then the US?
It was the best training ground really. They were all these terrible B movies that went straight to video and were all about explosions and action. In one film alone I could do five or six 100ft falls, four or five pipe ramps, three or four fire jobs, and countless air ram and ratchet explosions. It was like getting paid to train. When I moved to the UK it was such a big shock to me because I saw stunt guys with all these huge credits like the Bond movies. I remember my first day on THE MUMMY (1999) thinking ''This is the big league. I don't know if I'm ready or if I should be here.'' I felt like the underdog. But then they brought out the air ram for the audition, and everybody hated it, and didn't want to do it. There was me and two other guys who did it. It went from 30 guys auditioning to just us three. Their equipment was so modern and beautiful. Back in South Africa we had made our own equipment which was basic and violent to operate. After I got the job I realised that it's not the films that you do, it's the work that you do in the films. I went from strength to strength and joined a couple of good teams with Vic Armstrong and Simon Crane. I picked the people I really wanted to work with and came up through the ranks. The rest is history.

Do you think your time in the army put you in good stead? Did it instill a sense of discipline and professionalism?
Definitely. The army is something I am glad I did, but I wouldn't want to do again. I served during the apartheid era. If you watch the movie INVICTUS (2009), that was my year. It was right during the abolishment of apartheid. I was doing all the township riots. I got to exercise my passion for driving by doing all the armoured car driving. I saw a lot for a kid, especially as I had so much energy. I'd skydive, I'd scubadive, then ''What's next? I'll travel Europe. Then fly across the world, and come back.'' I was all over the place, and I guess the army gives you the discipline to realise that you can't just say no and move on, you have to commit and conform. It gave me good structure.

How did you get on the radar of the James Bond team for THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999)?
It was Simon Crane, the stunt coordinator on the movie. I had done THE MUMMY and VERTICAL LIMIT (2000) with him, and he called me down to join his team. He asked me how I was with driving and I told him it was my passion. I did a first day of tests in a jetboat, and I helped come up with the sequence where I took the boat briefly underwater. That came from my jetskiiing. I thought I might try it with a boat. I taped up the back of the engine so it wouldn't sink, but it did sink because I took on too much water. I asked Simon if I could do it and he said ''Yeah, go for it. It's your boat to destroy.'' It turned out well, and he loved it. We came up with a bunch of stuff on the first day.

What was the most challenging about doing the boat chase?
Ever since I was a young performer I have always put the pressure on myself to come up with something creatively different and unique, something that the audience will always remember. So there was a lot of sitting down trying to work stuff out, not just driving the boat around the river. They used to call me 'Smiler' on set doing the jetboat sequence because I literally could not stop smiling. I was so happy to be doing what I was doing.

Did you enjoy your cameo in the movie as the bodyguard in the bank?
Yes, that was a fun day!

Is the Bond stunt team like a big family?
Yes, I look back and it's fun to see that I'm keeping the heritage alive because, for example, Vic Armstrong's son, Scott Armstrong, is my assistant coordinator now. There are so many amazing families and amazing stories. We're like a big travelling circus really. And Barbara Broccoli is an amazing lady.

Were you a Bond fan in your youth?
I was, yeah, big time. I think the first one that stood out for me was GOLDFINGER (1964), and then OCTOPUSSY (1983).

You came back to Bond almost a decade later with QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008). How do you think you had developed as a stuntman in the intervening years?
It's like racing. Time is invaluable. On that one, I was just performing in the boat chase. Coming in as a performer is easy. You come in with your bag, put your pads on, and off you go. The coordinating jobs are the ones that are stressful because you have to come up with answers for a lot of people. Every movie you do, you learn something. And if you're not, you're doing the wrong movies.

Is it hard to come up with different variations of say a car chase or a boat chase?
Yeah, absolutely. That's the hardest challenge.

What were your duties on SPECTRE?
I did some drifting of the Jaguar (Villain Car) in the Aston/ Jaguar car chase. My part was shot in the UK. It was great. It was a pro type car that was almost a full thoroughbred race car. It had a rock-hard chassis and there was no room for error. The car was very finely tuned, and if you make a mistake, it's going to be a big one. My racing definitely helped with understanding such a finely tuned piece of equipment as opposed to a typically tuned road car.

SPECTRE is about to come out. Is it an exciting feeling knowing a film that you worked on is about to drop?
No, not really. You put your heart and soul into a film then you hand it over to the director, the editor, the studio to do what they want. I don't get too excited because sometimes you watch the film and you get disappointed. Also, I have put so much energy into the film, that I have had enough of it by the time it comes out!!

What would you say your specialties are as a stunt cooordinator or performer?
I try not to be a specialist because it can affect the jobs you get. For example, a motorbike specialist might do a stunt and then go home, but there might not be another motorbike movie for years. I started off doing the B movies and it was a great platform because I did everything – fires, falls, fights, cars, bikes, horses. That's why I was able to have a good working career as a performer. I've learned the most from my driving stuff – trucks, cars, bikes, helicopters, boats, anything with an engine! I obviously have a style with my action but I adapt the style to the character. I'm very character and story-driven. I just did INFERNO (2016) with Ron Howard, and it's not a big action movie so I really had to adapt to suit the characters. I directed a lot of the dramatic scenes as well for Ron, which was great.

Is it as much a thrill for you to do a punch-up in a bathroom as it is doing a car chase?
Yes, everything is exciting. You've got to make it different and bring the character in. If you don't bring the character in, it's just a fight and it's just a car chase. If you look back at some of the old movies, you actually get bored because you're not really into the character. Back then it was acceptable to just do it fast and big, but the lack of character just takes you out of it.

How important is dealing with fear in your job?
You have to respect your fears. My job is to eliminate as much risk as possible but still give it the wow factor. You have to respect the environment that you're in.

Do you disrespect those stuntmen that don't have that approach to their work?
Those guys come and go all the time. They're zero to hero and then back again. Good luck to them I say.

How easy a transition was it to become a stunt coordinator?
For me it was easy because I like managing teams, bringing people together and choreographing the action. As a performer I never pitched up and just did my job. I was always about ''Wow! What if I did this? What if I did that?'' I always wanted to create and do more so it was quite a quick and easy transition for me. Moving to directing was more of a challenge because you have a lot more pressure and you have to deal more directly with the studio. Everyone thinks its an automatic transition but it's not because you have to think outside the box and be creative. Your shots can be pretty boring if you don't know what you're doing. I'm not interested in having a title. I just want to be controlling the action. I don't want to hand it over to someone who might see it differently.

Do you alternate between performing and coordinating or directing?
No, I mainly coordinate or direct now. I still do drifting and driving stuff, but mainly in commercials. I have BMW and Cadillac coming up in a few weeks.

What do you like the best about working with Tom Cruise? You've worked with him on EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014), MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST NATION (2015) and JACK REACHER 2 (2016).
Cruise is all about action and energy but he really gets it because he is also all about character and story. He really evolves the action with you and it's a great process. He's also a phenomenal athlete and so passionate about his craft and film.

Cruise has a reputation for wanting to do all the stunts. Is that your experience?
Yes, he pretty much does everything himself. He trains very hard. He's a machine.

When does he not actually do a stunt?
I guess if it's too dangerous or if he could cut his face or something, but there's not much he doesn't actually do himself. He basically does everyhing on a film. We were rehearsing going through a plate glass window the other day on JACK REACHER 2, and I said to him ''Let the stunt guy do it.'' He said ''No, I'm doing it.'' He loves it. It's not an ego thing at all, it's purely his passion for his craft.

It really makes the difference to see the actor doing the stunt.
You work with some actors and they say ''I'm not doing that'', which you can understand as not everybody is designed to be an athlete or not be afraid of things that are not considered normal. Some can be lazy and lethargic, which is frustrating, but I haven't worked with one of those for years! And then you go back to Tom, and he's intense, but you miss that energy because he is 100% committed to making the best film in the world ever.

Which actors apart from Cruise have impressed you with their physicality and how well they adapted to the action scenes?
Well, Tom is just on another level, but Hugh Jackman is a phenomenal athlete and Mr. Nice Guy. Angelina Jolie goes for it 1000% and has massive balls. Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt are great. Those are the standout ones.

What were some of the most memorable experiences being Dolph Lundgren's stunt double?
The Dolph days were so much fun. We used to laugh uncontrollably like teeenagers! He was so much fun to work with and be around and we shared too many fun memories to talk about. We still keep in touch and have remained good old friends!

You work so closely training and supervising the actors. Does it entail having a special relationship with them?
Yes, there's full trust and commitment there. If they trust in you and respect you then you can push them beyond their limits. There are actors and actresses who have never done certain things before I work with them. I take them out of their old box and put them into a new box. I completely change the way they think about action and the way they move. They really need to trust you in order to do that and the results are always positive. Its great to see them get hooked also.

Do you ever get starstruck with all the famous people you have worked with?
It's funny but it's just not me. I've never been starstruck. I'm not impressed by titles. I respond to people. I always say you're an arsehole if you're an arsehole. If you're a nice guy, you're a nice guy. It doesn't matter what title you have. If there's anybody I might get excited about, it would be an amazing Formula One driver or an athlete or someone who has pioneered something. As far as actors go, it's just a job. They're great at what they do, but I never get starstruck by them.

Which directors have impressed you the most with their eye for action sequences?
I'm working with Ed Zwick at the moment on JACK REACHER 2 and he is amazing! Ron Howard was a true gent and visionary. To date it was the best experience of my career.
Do you think stuntwork is an art form and should be an Oscar category?
I do think it's an art form, but I'm so non-political. I go to work, do my job, and then hopefully people can watch the film and have fun escaping their everyday lives by going on a fun journey. I go home, see my family or go racing. But saying that, I think it's disgusting and embarassing that the hair, make-up, visual effects, special effects and just about every category on action movies get Oscar nominations but stunts don't even have an Oscar category. On a big movie like MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or Bond the story is written around the action, so how on Earth can the stunts not get recognised? The action is 80% of the film. I get that you don't want a particular stuntman to get an award for a particular stunt because it destroys the illusion that the actor did it, but the coordinator or the second unit director can certainly get an award for creating and choreographing the action. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It doesn't worry me. It doesn't change my life or the working days.

I imagine you have such a busy schedule that you have missed out on some projects. Which ones do you regret not getting?
The one that I really wanted to do was RUSH (2013). I was offered it, but they didn't have a lot of money and they wanted to do it for nothing. Formula One racing is a passion of mine and I love the Hunt and Lauda story. I'm the only stunt coordinator in the world that races cars in Formula Three and I'm friends with most of the Formula One drivers. So it was disappointing. Due to my work I couldn't do BLOOD DIAMOND (2006) because a film overlapped. I really wanted to go home to South Africa and do a movie like that with those actors. It would have been amazing.

Do you think there's an age limit with stunts where after a certain point it becomes dangerous to do them?
I don't know about that. Age is also knowledge.

How much do you plan your career?
I pretty much take projects as they come and if they interest me. If a great project comes up and I meet the director and like the script, I'll do it. If it's a terrible script and they offer me a trunkload of money, I won't do it. I'm not interested in counting down the days on a job till it's over because you're just counting down life. I want the project that is good and that I feel passionate about, and that we can be creative about and make change with. I want everybody to be proud of their work and to give audiences escapism. There's a lot of guys who will just go for the cash load but that's not me.

I spoke to Wade by telephone on 10th September 2015, and by email the following week. I'd like to thank him for his time. 

Wade's website.  

Thanks to Nick Clement. 

(C) Paul Rowlands. 

AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL MORIARTY (PART 2 OF 2)

Michael Moriarty was one of the most versatile, fascinating and idiosyncratic young actors to emerge in the 1970s. Since then he has built up a catalogue of compelling performances that always emphasise the humanity and soul of his characters, and the universal nature of their struggles. As powerful and as acclaimed whether he is working on the stage, the big screen or the small screen, Moriarty's later films include Bigas Luna's  REBORN (1981) with Dennis Hopper, four projects with Larry Cohen, Clint Eastwood's PALE RIDER (1985), Mark Rydell's JAMES DEAN (2001), his passion project HITLER MEETS CHRIST (2007) and four hugely successful years (1990 -94) as Ben Stone on the TV series Law and Order, for which he received four separate Emmy nominations. In the second part of our interview, I talked with Michael about these projects, and others, and also about his deep interest in music and politics.   

Part 1 can be read here

One of your most intriguing projects is Bigas Luna's REBORN with Dennis Hopper. What was the most memorable thing about working with Hopper?
Just his midnight addiction to loud rock music in a dingy little motel we were staying at in Texas. ''Could you tone it down, Dennis?'' ''Sure, man, yeah… no problem!''

Did you have a good working relationship with Larry Cohen on Q (1982)? It led to THE STUFF (1985) IT'S ALIVE III (1987) and PICK ME UP (2006).
Larry pushes everyone because of the limited budgets but he’s always funny. He could always get me laughing into one more take! Lotta hard work, mainly because of the budget, but I loved making it.

Do you have to adjust your performances at all when you are making more fantastical films?
I’m allowed to be a little broader with my characters than in other films – beside, when Larry shows you how he wants the scene done, you think he’s directing a silent film. It’s that big.

How was working with Clint Eastwood on PALE RIDER?
Clint Eastwood doesn’t so much direct as set a style of working, and things just seem to run along as if by magic.

Was Eastwood someone you already admired?
I certainly admired him after working with him. His production crew and assistants make it all look like falling off a log. This cannot happen without an undeniably great leader at the head of things. The shoot was almost a vacation in Sun Valley.

What kind of directors do you respond to the best and least? 
I respond to directors who trust me. I don't respond to directors who obviously look down on actors. The Brits are notorious for it.

What was the biggest joy of playing the same character in Law and Order across four years and 88 episodes?
I’ve never been more certain of a character. With that certainty, some days were the best in my professional life. I’d never had a role so tightly tailored to myself and it only became closer, more credible and more realistic as we went.

What was the most challenging or stressful aspect?
Shooting outdoors on the Manhattan piers in the winter. If felt like Chicago on Lake Shore Drive in January.

Which episodes were you the most proudest of?
There were too many of them, particularly as the years went on. Once Dick Wolf told me that I had become ''the conscience of the show''. I was more than just an actor. I was a silent force on the entire show’s direction.

What led to your departure from the show? 
I had decided to leave America around the end of that time. Both the East and West Coasts, meaning New York and Hollywood, ostracized me after my public indictment of Attorney General Janet Reno. I put an ad announcing my departure in both the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety. It was fascinating, after that, to watch NBC and Dick Wolf announce to the world and Wikipedia that I was being fired for misbehaviour on the set when I’d already told the world I was leaving the United States. Of course, Wikipedia’s version is NBC's version. Wikipedia never asked me for an interview.  

What was your Emmy-winning collaboration with Mark Rydell like on JAMES DEAN?
He was a wonderfully supportive director! Enjoyed the whole experience. 

Do you enjoy playing small supporting roles in big films like ALONG CAME A SPIDER (2001) and COURAGE UNDER FIRE (1996)? Do such roles require a different kind of preparation and focus?
I do them for the money. You just have to be as unobtrusive as possible and just 'get in and get out'!

What was the genesis of your play 'Hitler Meets Christ at the Port Authority Bus Terminal', that led to the film HITLER MEETS CHRIST that you wrote and acted in?
It was as wide and deep a dichotomy as I could think of - God and the Devil - and then see what happened on the typewritten page.

How important was the project to you personally?
It became sizably more important after Eli Wiesel attended a reading of it and he told me that I may be more well remembered as a writer than an actor.

In the 90s you formed your own political party in Canada. What brought that about?
It was only for about ten seconds. It was too many glasses of wine that brought it about.
 Have you always had a big interest in politics?
After watching Attorney General Janet Reno bully about four or five NBC Network producers, I became ferociously interested in American politics.

Has your interest in political and social issues informed your choice of roles?
Ironically I don’t think so. Besides by the time I left for Canada I couldn’t wait for retirement.

Did it hurt your career in any way?
Absolutely. But the involvement came, however, ten years before the end of my career and I found enough work during that time to stay alive.

Your first love is music. What do you get out of writing music that is different to acting? 
It has no verbal complications to interrupt or to try and direct its flow. It’s a river! Not a poem or a book or a novel. The work I’m proudest of, my symphonic music, has yet to be performed live. Life is best when you have the best to look forward to, even if you’ll see and hear your favourite creations performed while on 'The Other Side'.

Now you have reconnected with your love of music, what does it mean to your life now?
My sanity. The world has grown so insane! It’s not that I don’t know what is going on. Good and Evil. Comic book stuff. My emotional response to it all, which for me is more important than any intellectual thoughts I might have, is all contained in my symphonies. I’m surprised at the opera, Prelude, that is slowly but steadily evolving on my music pages. Too much theater, I guess, to have entirely excluded it from my music.

When you look back at your career, what are the overriding emotions? 
Massive gratitude to God! A great life! I only pray for at least another 9 or 10 years to complete a sufficient body of work as a composer to eventually, after my death of course, be taken seriously. I had a period of The Public’s interest in my chamber music in New York: both with Nina Beilina’s orchestra and the Soviet EmigrĂ© Orchestra. Once in Canada, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra gave an outstanding performance of my Symphony For Strings to a very respectful review in the Calgary Sun. Though I have obviously drifted out of sight, it is the best condition for my composing. Too much time would be taken up traveling and attending performances if I were back in the public eye. Life, despite appearances, is PERFECT! Good and Evil, in one form or another, will always be with us. We’re obviously put on this Earth to get acquainted with both. 


I spoke to Michael by email during September and October 2015 and would like to thank him for his time.

(C) Paul Rowlands.

You can listen to Michael's music on Youtube. 

Michael's political column.


AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL MORIARTY (PART 1 OF 2)

Michael Moriarty was one of the most versatile, fascinating and idiosyncratic young actors to emerge in the 1970s. Since then he has built up a catalogue of compelling performances that always emphasise the humanity and soul of his characters, and the universal nature of their struggles. As powerful and acclaimed whether he is working on the stage, the big screen or the small screen, Moriarty's early films include BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (1973, opposite Robert De Niro), THE GLASS MENAGERIE (1973, opposite Katherine Hepburn), THE LAST DETAIL (1973, with Jack Nicholson), REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER (1975), WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN (1978) and the TV miniseries HOLOCAUST (1978, with Meryl Streep and James Woods). In the first part of our interview, I talked with Michael about these projects, and others, and also about his approach to acting, his early years, and the decade many feel was a Golden Age for cinema, the 70s.   
 
Growing up, what moviegoing experiences do you remember the most? 
I remember REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) the most. James Dean’s 'Jim'? That was me!! I even took my stuffy surgeon father to see the film so he might begin to understand. He didn’t. 

Why were you so like Jim in the film?  
The classic adolescent feelings within American teenagers: ''My parents don’t understand me… NO ONE understands me.'' You grow out of that narcissism but it’s an awkward time for everyone around that teenager, particularly inside the teenager. Many parents are like Jim Backus’s father to James. Or like mine, filled with contemptuous dismissal. 

How old were you when you became interested in the idea of becoming an actor? 
About then. I was 14, and a Freshman in a Jesuit High School. Fr. Samuel Listermann was there to lead me into the increasingly dark regions of theater. 

What was the route that took you to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts? 
Joseph Papp was on the auditioning committee and he instantly gave me the Fulbright Scholarship to attend LAMDA. Then he said, ''Don’t go there. Stay here and work with my Shakespeare Festival. You will only pick up bad habits in England.'' I did both. And in a way Papp was right but in a way he was wrong. My favourite giants of acting are mostly British. However, stardom is an entirely different thing than great acting. All my favourite male stars are American. My favourite female star, however, is French: Simone Signoret. At LAMDA I composed my first serious piece for piano and saxophone. The theater wasn’t something I could fall in love with in the same way I had become obsessed with music.  

How was the experience of being in London? 
Horrifying! I am not only American. I’m Irish! And with a name like Moriarty, one does not receive the warmest of welcomes. The details of that year were both the worst and yet the most life-saving. I will keep that melodrama a mystery for now.

What did you like the most about English people? The least? 
What I liked the most about English people were their expressions of sympathy for Americans following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was most sincere, and most heartfelt! What I disliked the most was the Englishman’s Imperial Tone, long after the Empire has fallen.   

What did you gain the most from your studies? 
The opportunity to see Laurence Olivier in Othello. It was a completely opposite and very profane difference from a blindingly impressive encounter I had already had with Paul Scofield’s sacred performance of Don Adriano de Armado in Love's Labours Lost at Stratford, Ontario. I saw the infinite possibilities in both directions! Of course, with very few exceptions, I never reached either of the heights that both Scofield and Olivier achieved. I’m proud of having tried though. And I am not at all disappointed. As I’ve said, all I really wanted to do was compose music. God has now provided me with all the necessities required to do that!   

Did anything about their teachings disappoint you? 
Yes. The secret contempt with which they both taught and directed you. It wasn’t until I had a brief encounter with poor Anthony Hopkins that I understood how bullying was endemically a part of directing in the British theatre and film, and how universal that insultingly tyrannical attitude is among the so-called 'Enlightened Despots' of the British Theatre and film. Anthony Hopkins was – and this was early in his career - having a miserable time in a very successful production on Broadway. The director, whom I should name but I won’t, was driving Hopkins insane by repeatedly demanding that that this extraordinary actor, that genius, move the text along faster and faster and faster. In short, the British Theatre is filled with sadists. It won’t take you long to find one.

How much of a devotee of Stella Adler's approach were you? 
I was only her friend, not her student. After meeting her and hearing her breath-taking praise, I attended one class and found her the most bewitching enchantress before her classroom audience. The theater lost a great actress when she chose to teach more than perform. I just fell in love with her! She visited our apartment, looked around and said, ''I was wondering what you might need for Christmas… and I see ... you need ... EVERYTHING!'' 

What did you take away from your experience of making your first film, MY OLD MAN'S PLACE (1971)?
I never wanted to ever do another film again! It was not at all satisfying, but it was an invaluable introduction to one of the best friends of my acting and my career: the director Ed Sherin. He tried to make the experience as painless as possible but … no … it was horrifying to see my face on the screen for the first time. Instant self-loathing! Later on, Ed Sherin guided me through my Tony-award-winning performance in Find Your Way Home. Being in the theater is so much more exciting for me than being on film or in television. It’s much harder work with 8 performances a week - but there's a greater sense of achievement. 

What are some of the works you have done in the theatre that have stood out for you the most? 
I did a one-man show entitled Pardon My Defense. I performed it at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York, at Joe Stern’s small theater in Los Angeles, and in London, England, at my old acting school, LAMDA, while I was performing in a run of William Saroyan’s play Don’t Go Away Mad.

How different a discipline is it? What do you get out of it that is different than film? 
You get a complete sense of the entire character. Eight shows a week brings you to a greater understanding than the piecemeal of film does, unless of course, like Law and Order, you are that character for four straight years.

Your second film was HICKEY AND BOGGS (1972). 
I felt a little more at home as one of the villains.

Was BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (1973) a rewarding experience? 
I would have felt more at home in the DeNiro role. I didn’t learn how to play a leading man until Law and Order many years later. I have always been more of a character actor. It's just so much more fun. 

How was working with John Hancock and De Niro? 
Let's just say it wasn't a picnic for either me or John Hancock. De Niro was the hardest working actor I have ever performed with.

After playing the lead in BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY, you took a smaller role in Hal Ashby's THE LAST DETAIL (1973). 
I didn’t want to do the role. I hated the whole idea of it! I knew BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY would elevate me to larger roles. On my first take, I so hated being recorded in that role that I began to sweat profusely in a kind of mini nervous breakdown. The extraordinarily gifted and understanding Jack Nicholson, after the first take, offered: ''Love the sweat!'' He then took me to lunch. By the time I got back, I was calmed down and I nailed the performance!

Was Nicholson an actor you admired? 
After that experience I might nominate him for America’s greatest star! He’s everything a production company, no matter what the expensive budget, needs to lead! Despite the 'wild man' image in some of his roles, Jack Nicholson, like Sidney Poitier, is one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever met.  

In the space of four years you won a Tony, a Golden Globe and two Emmys. How did this attention affect you personally, or the way you approached your craft or your career? 
It took me too long to adjust. The sudden attention was shocking. Word of mouth, and then suddenly I'm a somebody?   

Making THE GLASS MENAGERIE with Katharine Hepburn must have been a career highlight for you. You won your first Emmy too. What are your strongest memories of making it?
 It was Divine! Heavenly! And all before I had become famous! Katharine Hepburn was the strongest memory of course. She was a Shakespearean-sized human being! I always felt, standing or sitting next to her, that I was in a verse play of some sort! It was thrilling! And, of course, the play itself, from a man who is still America’s greatest dramatic poet. Not an ounce of realism to him, but he elevates you to heaven and straight to hell, often at the same time. There's nothing mundane about his work.

Did you enjoy working on SHOOT IT BLACK, SHOOT IT BLUE (1974) and REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER (1975)? 
They are somewhat alike, despite the vastly different budgets. Neither was a high point in my life.

How did you feel about Pauline Kael's assessment of your performance in the latter film? 
The New York Times, and that critic's mentor, Pauline Kael, murdered me in that role. She killed the film and my career. Kael went after every film that was I was in. I mentioned that on an interview show that she saw and she said ''Oh, I just thought you were self-conscious.'' I wrote her back, saying, ''As your hero Marlon Brando would say, '''If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger.'' '' I saw the film a few years ago, and except for the final scene, I felt I did a good job. However, the French director Louis Malle, who wanted me for a film at that time, told me ''You were just too old for the role in REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER.''   

What was the biggest challenge of acting in the TV mini-series HOLOCAUST (1978)? 
Making such evil look credible and even remotely part of humanity. Now ISIS is even outdoing the Nazis! Who could have thought, in the 3rd Millennium, that such another Third Reich like ISIS, albeit smaller, could be possible?!

How proud are you of your work in the series? 
I think it is perhaps my best achievement as an actor. Ed Sherin, who produced and directed while I was there, said my acting was so real and immediate at times it became a little unnerving.

Were you impressed by working with Meryl Streep on HOLOCAUST and also THE DEADLIEST SEASON (1977)? 
You can never forget her. I admired her facility. Acting is a walk in the park for her.

When you play real life figures like Wilbur Wright in THE WINDS OF KITTY HAWK (1978) or James Dean's father in JAMES DEAN (2001), or appear in real life stories like HOLOCAUST or THE HANOI HILTON (1987), how seriously do you take the responsibility? 
Not so seriously that the character ends up a stick-figure. You can’t get far with the weight of a legend in your head and your heart. You do the best you can, and then, as my grandmother advised, after that ''Don't give a damn!''

How much do you let the real life connections affect your approach or performance? 
The director of HOLOCAUST, just before the scene in bed with my wife when I tell her that the Reich will lose the war, he showed me a photo from Nazi Germany. It captured the execution of a mother and child enacted by a member of the SS. She was asked to hold the child up in front of her face so the same bullet would go through both brains. I almost couldn’t complete the scene. But we shot that close-up in one take!

Did you enjoy working with Karel Reisz on WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN? 
Not particularly. It was the 'Brit Thing'. With the minimalism he wanted out of me, I eventually felt like a stick figure. I was an obvious contrast to the script’s athletic hero, but it was hardly inspiring for the actor stuck in that concept of the role. I did, however. enjoy working with both Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld.   

Was the Vietnam war setting something that meant something to you? 
Yes. Very unsettling.

Do you feel that the 70s were a special time for filmmaking? 
Not particularly. I’m not a historian by nature, trying to capsulize the identity of a decade. Film-making has always seemed the same to me, no matter when or where it is being done. Hollywood’s legendary anti-Americanism seemed to reach its peak during the Seventies Vietnam films. However, the actual work of shooting those films for me seemed no different from the films and television episodes to come. 

Part 2 can be read here.

I spoke to Michael by email during September and October 2015 and would like to thank him for his time.

(C) Paul Rowlands.

You can listen to Michael's music on Youtube. 

Michael's political column.