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Was John Wayne Seriously Almost Dirty Harry? – My Blog

The world of film, much like comic books (and really any other media, not that I mention it) is a very much “monkey see, monkey do” deal, where one hit film can suddenly spawn a legion of imitators and that was certainly the case with 1971’s Dirty Harry, which starred Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan, a “loose cannon” cop back when “loose cannon” cops were not actually a film genre of their own.

The film, which is primarily about Callahan hunting down a serial killer, is still extremely well known for a scene early in the film where Callahan breaks up a bank robbery while on his lunch break. He shoots one of the robbers and then trains his gun on the other robber, bluffing him into surrendering with the iconic lines, “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”
This started a whole new genre of action films starring loose cannon cops (four of the films in this genre were Dirty Harry sequels alone!) but the film had a surprisingly complicated pedigree and its complicated pedigree is what has made the question of who was offered the title role over the years very complicated, as well.

The finished film was directed by Don Siegel, who had directed Coogan’s Bluff, Eastwood’s first major American starring role (Eastwood famously was a TV star on Rawhide, a series about cattle drivers, for eight seasons, as well as doing a few supporting film roles and small Western films before becoming a major star in Italy for his “The Man With No Name” Western films with director Sergio Leone. He was one of the only American actors to already be an international film star before he did a single major starring role in an American film production, as the “Man With No Name” films had just been released in the United States before Eastwood returned to the States to continue his film career in his late 30s). Coogan’s Bluff was also a famously violent film, much like Dirty Harry, which is likely what got Siegel the gig. The film was based on a screenplay by husband/wife writing team, Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink.
The Finks’ screenplay was called Dead Right, about a New York Cop named Dirty Harry Callahan who skirts the law in an attempt to bring a serial killer to justice. That’s basically the plot of Dirty Harry, as well, although Dead Right was much more about questioning where we draw the line in society when it comes to protecting ourselves – how willing are we to give into fascism if it keeps us safe? It was here where the role of Dirty Harry, then a much older detective at the end of his time as a cop, was offered to John Wayne, who turned it down.
Since producer Jennings Lang couldn’t get Dead Right produced, he ultimately cut a deal with ABC Television with the intent of turning the concept into a TV series. ABC Television, though, had too much trouble adapting the level of violence in the script into a regular TV series, so it then sold its option to Warner Bros., who again planned to turn it into a movie (as noted, by this point, Coogan’s Bluff had been a hit and the cultural zeitgeist was perhaps more accepting of a film this violent).
With Dirty Harry still an older man at the time, Warner Bros. approached Frank Sinatra, who had recently starred as a detective in the hit 1968 film, The Detective (as I noted in an old Legends Revealed, that film was based on a Roderick Thorp novel and Thorp’s sequel to that novel was also later adapted into a surprising hit action film). Sinatra turned the role down, as well.
It was then offered to a couple of other older actors (including Robert Mitchum) before the filmmakers decided to go younger and cast Eastwood and the rest, as they say, is history.
However, this casting process has led to a number of confusing reports over the years over whether John Wayne turned down Dirty Harry or not. It is true that he turned down the character of Dirty Harry, but it was before the character had evolved to being the character that he became in the film, Dirty Harry, and Dead Right and Dirty Harry are two very different films and Wayne was never offered a role in the second film.
Wayne himself muddied the waters, as he was quoted in Michael Munn’s 2001 book John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth as saying about Dirty Harry, “I turned it down for what seemed to me to be three very good reasons. The first is that they offered it to Frank Sinatra first, but he’d hurt his hand and couldn’t do it. I don’t like being offered Sinatra’s rejections. Put that one down to pride. The second reason is that I thought Harry was a rogue cop. Put that down to narrow-mindedness because when I saw the picture I realized that Harry was the kind of part I’d played often enough; a guy who lives within the law but breaks the rules when he really has to in order to save others.”
Sinatra was offered the role in the film Dirty Harry, but not Dead Right, so Wayne was recalling the timeline incorrectly. At the same time, people who say that Wayne was never offered the role in Dirty Harry, while correct, are still a bit inaccurate, in that Wayne WAS offered the role of Dirty Harry…just not in Dirty Harry.
Once Dirty Harry was a hit, Wayne did two “loose cannon” cop movies of his own, 1974’s McQ…

and then 1975’s Brannigan…

The legend is…
STATUS: False for Dirty Harry, but True for Dirty Harry, which is a hilarious sentence, right?
Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film.

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John Wayne doesn’t want to be an actor and likes a director . – My Blog

He became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but John Wayne once saw acting as just ‘a brief detour’. His real dream was to become a film director.Cinema’s most iconic cowboy could have spent his days behind the camera had he not inadvertently stepped in front of one on a John Ford set, allow the director to see his potential.

The disclosure is in a memoir he was working on that lay undiscovered among family papers. It said Wayne, who ԁıеԁ in 1979, was working at 20th Century Fox in the 1920s simply to pay the bills.It added: ‘I had no thoughts of becoming an actor. Acting was a kind of apprenticeship toward becoming a director. It was also a source of petty cash…

‘I was ԁеаԁ-set on becoming a director.Elsewhere, he adds: ‘If need be, I would take a brief detour into acting or whatever else was necessary to accomplish my goal.’The memoir was found by Michael Goldman in inquire his book, John Wayne: The Genuine Article, published this month. Even Wayne’s family did not know of its existence in their archives.

Its 72 typed pages paint a portrait of an ordinary man who became the Oscar-winning star of True Grit and The Searchers, a larger-than-life icon nicknamed the Duke.Wayne was working on it shortly before his ԁеаtһ in 1979, having repeatedly rejected requests for an autobiography.He wrote about the 1920s, when he headed for Twentieth Century Fox’s studio and found menial jobs in props and stunt-work, learning his for horse-riding, roping, ɡսոѕ and fighting.

he memory of being desperate for money never left him and in the memoir he writes: ‘The big Depression was still two years away, but my one personal depression was staring at me from the bottom of my empty soup bowl.’I needed a job .’He describes working as an extra – kicked off John Ford’s set for inadvertently stepping in front of a camera – and, like some star-struck teenager, was overwhelmed by the excitement of seeing his own movie heroes.On encountering Tom Mix, a silent Western star, Wayne writes of trying ‘to figure out how to make the best impression possible on the greatest cowboy star in the world’.
He records Mix ignoring him on his attempt to ingratiate himself.Mr Goldman notes the irony of Wayne idolising Mix: ‘The man who would become “the most iconic cinematic cowboy in history” was racking himself over how to make an impression on “the most Cinematic cowboy in history”.’The biographer says of Wayne’s ‘brief detour’ in front of the camera: ‘It was a detour that lasted until his ԁеаtһ.’Wayne would ultimately direct just four films, including The Alamo and The Green Berets , “passion projects” for him. But directing was not what he became known for.Wayne does not elaborate in the manuscript on why he never made directing a priority in subsequent years.

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Secrets John Wayne Revealed to Ron Howard About Filmmaking . – My Blog

Although they were celebrities for different reasons, Ron Howard worked with John Wayne on one of The Duke’s late-period movies. Howard said Wayne gave him some interesting advice. In addition, Howard revealed what made Wayne a little different from other actors.

As an actor, Howard is most known for his appearing in the sitcoms The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days as well as George Lucas’ American Graffiti. However, he also appeared in Wayne’s final Western, The Shootist. The film also included James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, and John Carridine. With that cast, the film was almost like a roll call of Old Hollywood actors. Howard’s appearance in the film almost feels like a passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Sean Woods asked Howard if working with Wayne and Stewart taught him anything about manhood. “John Wayne used a phrase, which he later attributed to [film director] John Ford, for scenes that were going to be difficult: ‘This is a job of work,’ he’d say,” Howard recalled. “If there was a common thread with these folks – Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Glenn Ford – it was the work ethic. It was still driving them. To cheat the project was an insult. To cheat the audience was damnable.”

What Ron Howard said John Wayne, Bette Davis, and Jimmy Stewart had in common : In a separate interview with the HuffPost, Howard also praised Wayne’s work ethic. “I always admired him as a movie star, but I thought of him as a total naturalist,” Howard said. “Even those pauses were probably him forgetting his line and then remembering it again, because, man, he’s The Duke.

But he’s working on this scene and he’s like, ‘Let me try this again.’ And he put the little hitch in and he’d find the Wayne rhythm, and you’d realize that it changed the performance each and every time. I’ve worked with Bette Davis, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda. Here’s the thing they all have in common: They all, even in their 70s, worked a little harder than everyone else.”

How critics and audiences responded to ‘The Shootist’ : Howard obviously admired Wayne’s methods as an actor. This raises an interesting question: Did the public embrace The Shootist? According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned over $8 million. That’s not a huge haul for a film from 1976. However, the film is widely regarded as a classic among 1970s Westerns.

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How did Paul Koslo ever have a tense encounter with star John Wayne ? – My Blog

In 1975, the Canadian actor starring The Duke in Rooster Cogburn. At the time, Koslo was only 19 and still relatively green in the industry. So working with the Hollywood legend was a bit stressful.

During an installment of World on Westerns, Paul Koslo shared his experiences with John Wayne, including a time where he nearly stepped on Wayne’s lines.As the story goes, Wayne had a short 15 line monologue. And once he was finished, Koslo was supposed to respond. And as they were filming, Wayne said his part. But when it was Koslo’s turn, he froze.“The director said ‘Paul, why didn’t you say your lines?’” the actor remembered.

“And I said, ‘well, because I didn’t wanna cut him off because he hadn’t said all of his lines yet.’” Hearing the conversation, John Wayne jumped in saying, “who’s gonna? Nobody’s gonna cut me off. I can say whatever I want, you got it, kid?”Of course, the interaction made Koslo nervous, and the only response he could muster was, “okay, sir.”However, the actor admitted that the Western icon wasn’t as intimidating as the story made him sound.

Koslo shared that as long as his co-stars worked hard, Wayne was always their biggest supporter.“My impression of him was that if you did your stuff, and you were right on top of it, he was your best buddy. But if you were like a slacker, or you weren’t prepared, he could get on your case.”During the AWOW interview, Paul Koslo also shared some details behind the age-old feud between John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn.

“I mean, Kate and him, they were always like this,” said Koslo, while punching his fists together.According to Koslo, politics were behind the fight. Hepburn was a democrat and Wayne was a republican.“It seemed like… in a fun way. I don’t know if it was for real,” he admitted. “You know, she would be sitting on the hood of a truck going like a hundred feet down to the set where they were shooting, and how Wallis was having heart attacks. She was really a daredevil, and she was full of piss and vinegar.”

The actor also noted that he didn’t get to spend much time with the actress, so he couldn’t get a proper gauge on the so-called feud. Almost all his time was spent with The Duke.The only interaction Koslo had with Hepburn was while shooting an intense scene where they were “moving this nitroglycerin to another location because we were going to rob the U.S. Treasury with it, and [John Wayne’s] about to ambush us.”And that happened right before Paul Koslo nearly stepped on John Wayne’s lines.

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