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The John Wayne Connection You Likely Missed – My Blog

Late film legend John Wayne, also known as “The Duke,” still stands tall today thanks to his classic roles in such movie Westerns as “El Dorado,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Rooster Cogburn,” and “True Grit.”Now, a couple of generations later, the Wayne name is still prominent in Hollywood thanks to John Wayne’s grandson, Brendan Wayne, and he stars in a project that employs the sensibilities of the Western genre, no less. And while the story is set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” the hit “Star Wars” spinoff series “The Mandalorian” portrays the space bounty hunter as a gunslinger merely trying to make his way in the Old West.Pedro Pascal, of course, stars as the Mandalorian — known as “Mando,” for short — and provides the voice for the character and inhabits the armor the character wears. But since the role is filled with lots of physically taxing situations, Wayne and fellow actor-slash-stunt performer, Lateef Crowder, also occupy the Mando suit and helmet. Benefiting the production and its Western tone, of course, is that the genre is a big part of his Wayne’s lineage, and the creatives behind “The Mandalorian” wanted to take advantage of that.“I noticed that in the screen test that they wanted a very Western kind of feel,” Wayne told Vulture shortly after the series premiered in 2019. “So, I just slowed everything down. All my walks, everything.”Wayne noted that “holding the strength of your core” was the key to his movements, much like his grandfather, who he described as “so graceful, even though he was a six-foot-five, 260-pound guy, and it was because he was so strong. It allowed him to move in a certain way.”Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder get credit where credit is due in Mando Season 3Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesSeason 3 of “The Mandalorian” has been a significant one in terms of recognition for Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder, since both performers were listed in the main end credits after the likes of Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff, who took on a bigger role in the series as Mandalorian Bo-Katan Kryze. In the first two seasons, Wayne and Crowder — who brings his martial arts experience to Mando’s fight scenes — were listed much further down in the end credits as “Doubles” for Mando.However, as Wayne and Crowder discovered, being a double didn’t mean that they were merely filling in for Pascal to stand on set to line up shots for lighting purposes. They each did full-on stunt work, which meant each would have to deal with alien beasts, at least on an imaginary level. Of course, because of Wayne’s background, he already knew how to wrangle animals real and imaginary for his on-screen work. In fact, one of Wayne’s roles was that of Charlie Lyle, one of the titular cowboys in director Jon Favreau’s 2011 Western sci-fi fantasy “Cowboys & Aliens.”“So, playing a cowboy in this movie was the easiest thing for me to tap into imaginatively,” Wayne told Vanity Fair in 2011. “I can ride a horse, and I can do stunts on a horse. At least I found out I could do stunts on a horse.”Wayne let his Western instincts influence Mando from the get-goLucasfilm/Disney+While Brendan Wayne said he walked The Duke’s walk, quite literally, while playing Mando, he also brought some moves as a classic gunslinger to the role, if only by mere instinct. During his screen test for the role, Wayne told Vulture, “I don’t know what possessed me, but I started just telling them things like, ‘This gun, I gotta have it lower. He can’t have it this high, nobody draws a gun this high.’”In effect, Wayne told Vulture, he was immediately talking to the filmmakers as if the Mando suit was already his own, while also saying things like, “This rifle that’s on my back, I gotta have a little more access to what’s in my right hand to reach across my left body, to pull the stock out so I can flip it over and really shoot.”Apparently Wayne’s confidence in what he was doing worked because he landed the role. There were times, however, where he sought the guidance of “Mandalorian” co-stars like Greef Karga actor Carl Weathers about how to maintain Mando’s swagger. Ultimately, though, Weathers’ advice came full circle in a sort of way as he simply asked, “How would your grandfather do it?”“And I was like, ‘You know, he’d lead with his shoulder — he always led with his shoulder,’ and then Carl said, “Goddamn it then. Lead with your shoulder and stop thinking about it,’” Wayne recalled for Vulture. “And I thought, ‘Oh my God, Carl Weathers just channeled my grandfather.’”After nailing a particularly troublesome take, Wayne noted for Vulture that he looked over at “Carl and he could not stop laughing.”All three seasons of “The Mandalorian” are streaming on Disney+.

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Rin Tin Tin

When I was very young, my grandfather kept a Rin Tin Tin figurine sitting on his desk. I wanted desperately to play with it, and even more desperately I wanted to have a German shepherd dog of my own, a dog just like the star of “The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin”, which debuted on television in 1954. I knew nothing about Rin Tin Tin other than that he was the perfect dog, and that he was a character on television.

When by chance I learned that Rin Tin Tin was a real dog, not just a television character—a real dog with a real life that was extraordinary—I was drawn into the story and eventually to the idea of writing this book. After digging through hundreds of pages of archives and files and photographs, I came to understand that this was not just a story about a dog, or even the many different dogs who make up the Rin Tin Tin legacy; this is a story about a beloved icon who has played a role in decades of American popular culture.

“‘He believed the dog was immortal.’ So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving story of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. From the moment in 1918 when Corporal Lee Duncan discovers Rin Tin Tin on a World War I battlefield, he recognizes something in the pup that he needs to share with the world. Rin Tin Tin’s improbable introduction to Hollywood leads to the dog’s first blockbuster film and over time, the many radio programs, movies, and television shows that follow. The canine hero’s legacy is cemented by Duncan and a small group of others who devote their lives to keeping him and his descendants alive.

“At its heart, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. But it is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship and the changing role of dogs in the American family and society. Almost ten years in the making, Susan Orlean’s first original book since The Orchid Thief is a tour de force of history, human interest, and masterful storytelling—the ultimate must—read for anyone who loves great dogs or great yarns.”

Publishers Weekly
“Stirring … A tale of passion and dedication overcoming adversity … Even readers coming to Rin Tin Tin for the first time will find it difficult to refrain from joining Duncan in his hope that Rin Tin Tin’s legacy will ‘go on forever.’”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[Orlean] combines all her skills and passions in this astonishing story … A terrific dog’s tale that will make readers sit up and beg for more.”

Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin and Einstein

“Rin Tin Tin was more than a dog. He embodied the core paradoxes of the American ideal: He was a loner who was also a faithful companion, a brave fighter who was also vulnerable. I was astonished to learn from this delightful book that he has existed for eleven generations over a century. By chronicling his amazing ups and downs, Susan Orlean has produced a hugely entertaining and unforgettable reading experience.”

Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
“Not only does Susan Orlean give us a fascinating and big-hearted account of all the many incarnations of Rin Tin Tin, she shows us the ever-changing role of American dogs in times of war and peace. This book is for anyone who has ever had a dog or loved a dog or watched a dog on television or thought their dog could be a movie star. In short— everyone.”

Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“I adored this book. It weaves history, war, show business, humanity, wit, and grace into an incredible story about America, the human-animal bond, and the countless ways we would be lost without dogs by our sides, on our screens, and in our books. This is the story Susan Orlean was born to tell—it’s filled with amazing characters, reporting, and writing.”

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John Wayne ‘punished’ The Longest Day producer for publicly insulting him – My Blog

John Wayne was famous for his tough guy image on and off screen, mostly being known for playing cowboys and military men.By the early 1960s, Duke was in his fifties, struggling with health problems yet continuing to insist on not only doing his own stunts but also playing characters – including historical figures – he was now much older than.

This was especially the case when he was cast in the 1962 D-Day epic The Longest Day, which was released 61 years ago this week.The World War II film featured an incredible all-star cast including Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery and Richard Burton. Yet Wayne’s inclusion proved divisive.Incredibly, former President Dwight D Eisenhower almost played himself, but makeup artists couldn’t make him look as young as he did in 1944. Nevertheless, a set decorator with no acting experience with the spitting image of the Supreme Allied Commander was cast.Awkwardly, the real Ike ended up walking out of The Longest Day after just a few minutes, frustrated with all the inaccuracies. Although Eisenhower was considered too old to play his younger self, that didn’t stop Wayne from being cast as 27-year-old Lt Col Benjamin Vandervoort, who was very disappointed to find out he was being portrayed by the overweight 54-year-old Duke.Originally Charlton Heston, who was only a decade older than the real-life paratrooper, had actively sought the part. However, Wayne’s last-minute decision to take on the role blocked him and it came at a huge price to the film’s producer.The Longest Day producer Darryl F Zanuck had managed to negotiate $25,000 fees from his ensemble cast for what was mostly cameos. However, Wayne demanded $250,000 or he’d refused to appear in the movie – a request that was granted.The reason Duke “punished” the producer with this action was because he’d been quoting in an interview calling the Western legend “poor John Wayne” over 1960’s The Alamo.

That blockbuster was produced, directed and largely funded by the star himself. And Zanuck had said he didn’t think much of actors forming their own production companies, citing Wayne’s as an example. Not only was Wayne’s non-negotiable fee request on The Longest Day an act of revenge, but also was a way of him getting a quick payday after all the money he spent on The Alamo.

Aside from being three decades too old for his role in the World War II blockbuster, Duke’s contract also included a clause that made his casting even more controversial.Alongside his whopping $250,000 fee, Wayne insisted on getting separate billing on The Longest Day from the other actors. However, to his dismay, this was got around by having the other stars billed first followed by “and John Wayne”, meaning that Duke’s name appeared last on the credits.Even so, it was highly controversial even then as the Hollywood star did not serve in World War II, something he tried to redeem across his career by acting in very patriotic movies.

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Injured John Wayne struggled to breathe with oxygen mask on movie with Katharine Hepburn – My Blog

After winning the Best Actor Oscar for 1969’s True Grit, John Wayne returned for a sequel with 1975’s Rooster Cogburn – which celebrates its 48th anniversary this week – alongside Katharine Hepburn.However, Duke had serious health issues going back to when he had a cancerous lung removed a decade prior.Earlier in 1974, Wayne headed to London to shoot cop movie Brannigan, but had a severe bout of pneumonia and was diagnosed with heart problems before production began.During filming, Duke met Hepburn who, despite being just two weeks older than him, had never met the Western star let alone starred in a movie with him. She had been filming 1975’s Love Among the Ruins with Sir Laurence Olivier and despite their political differences greatly admired Wayne.The two stars agreed to make True Grit sequel Rooster Cogburn together later that year, although like Brannigan it would not be an easy production.Alongside pneumonia, Wayne had coughed so hard at one point that he damaged a valve in his heart, an issue that wouldn’t be diagnosed until 1978, a year before he died of cancer.Rooster Cogburn’s filming took place in Oregon and Duke had to rely on his oxygen mask for high altitudes, something he tried to keep hidden from the public. In fact, on another movie, he screamed at a photographer and demanded the film that captured the truth of his ailments; desperate to maintain his macho image.If this wasn’t bad enough, the 67-year-old injured himself on the Rooster Cogburn set while teaching his eight-year-old daughter to play golf. But lucky for him, his character’s eye patch covered the mark.rooster cogburn posterRooster Cogburn poster (Image: GETTY)Dealing with all these physical problems took a toll on Wayne’s patience and he would become seriously frustrated with Rooster Cogburn director Stuart Miller’s insistence on doing multiple takes. In one outburst, Duke ranted: “God damn it Stuart, there’s only so many times we can say these awful lines before they stop making any sense at all.”His co-star Hepburn, who largely respected the actor most of the time, would become bemused by his argumentative nature on set and told him at the wrap party: “I’m glad I didn’t know you when you had two lungs, you must have been a real b*****d. Losing a hip has mellowed me, but you!”

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