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The Shootist…the role had been first offered to Paul Newman, who reportedly pulled out for personal reasons

Made in 1976, three years before he died, John Wayne’s last picture, The Shootist, in which he plays an aging cowboy dying of cancer, became a most appropriate swan song to his illustrious 50-year screen career.

Wayne was seemingly the natural, but not first, choice for the part. Surprisingly, the role had been first offered to Paul Newman, who reportedly pulled out for personal reasons. The part was then offered to George Scott, who demanded too many changes in the script. Both Newman (“The Sting”) and Scott (“Patton”) were very popular in the 1970

However, in retrospect, producer Mike Frankovich was delighted with the casting, claiming, “Nobody could have been better for the part than the Duke. He’s perfect.”

There were many advantages in casting Wayne as John Bernard Books, as director Don Siegel wanted to show the progression of the protagonist gunfighter from his early heroic and glorious days to his very tragic death. What better strategy to use than actually borrowing old clips from Wayne’s own great Westerns, Stagecoach, Red River, and Hondo, all cult films.
The movie thus became a self-conscious invocation of the Wayne screen, and an unintentional tribute to his lengthy career, as, among other things, the most significant screen image in Hollywood history. For some, who knew the actor was ill, it looked as if The Shootist had been consciously designed as an epitaph, though Wayne was planning at the time to continue making movies.
There were many parallels between the fictional narrative and Wayne’s personal life. John Bernard Books is dying of cancer, a theme that was unpalatable and unmentionable to many actors, but not to Wayne. “Hell, no. It means nothing to me,” he told an interviewer, “I’m a member of the club, after all.” However, Wayne refused to make cancer the film’s major concern and, accommodating his request, the subject was mentioned in the text just twice.
Moreover, the conversation between Wayne and the physician (played by Republican peer and Wayne pal Jimmy Stewart), confirming his fear of having cancer, was in harmony with his image. Stewart has the burden to inform Brooks the grim truth about cancer. Ahead of its time, the conversation even hints and suggests the possibility of suicide as a way of avoiding the growing and excruciating pain. Indeed, upon being told the bad news, an upset Wayne protests, “You told me I was strong as an ox,” to which Stewart’s doctor replies, “Even oxen die.”
At the center of the yarn is Wayne’s relationship with a widowed landlady, Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall), and her son, Gillom (Ron Howard). At first, Howard resents Wayne, but gradually he learns to respect him, admiring him for being “the most celebrated” shootist in the West. Howard, like other children in his films, learns how to behave properly by observing and emulating Wayne’s behavior.
For example, spying on Wayne from the window, he gets his first lesson, “If you want to see me, knock on the door, like a man.” Later, Wayne sums up his philosophy of life to Howard, deeming it useful to the younger generation: “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to others, and I require the same of them.”
When Howard asks for a shooting lesson, Wayne agrees but instructs him: “A man should know how to handle a gun–with discretion.” The film’s assumption, like Hondo,” is that every child, let alone an orphan, needs a sociological father in order to become a man. And, in similar manner to The Cowboys, Howard adopts his master’s style and philosophy. In the last scene, he avenges Wayne’s death in the saloon by using the latter’s gun, then throws it away.
With all my praise for its artistic and acting qualities, ideologically speaking, The Shootist also was one of Wayne’s most self-righteous and self-aggrandizing movies. At various scenes, he’s described as, “the most celebrated shootist in the West,” and as a gunslinger “who never killed a man who didn’t deserve it.”
As in the earlier and far inferior film, Big Jake, Wayne shows a self-conscious concern with his increasing age and the coming of modernization to the West–the movie takes place in Carson City circa 1901.
A man of the past, Wayne’s hero is out of place, an outsider not in tune with his times. When he first rides into town and obstructs the traffic, Brooks is told, not too gracefully, “Get out of the way, old man!”
In another scene, he is greeted as “Hey, Methuselah!” We also learn that the old, famous Queen Victoria is also and already dead. The Queen like Wayne the actor and Brooks the character, is a symbol of the past. Wayne says he likes the Queen, because she had dignity: “She’s the kind of gal I’d like to meet.”
Moreover, when Serpeta (Sherre North), a woman of his past, unexpectedly comes to visit him and suggests they get married so that she can gain some money from writing a book about him after his death, Brooks calls her bluff, claiming, “I won’t be remembered for a pack of lies.” However, as real and old-fashioned gentleman, Brooks gives her money for her travel and sends her back home.

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Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix were at odds over a read-through during the production of ‘Joker’

Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix Didn’t Get Along in ‘Joker’ — Here’s WhyRobert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix were at odds over a read-through during the production of ‘Joker’ putting the director ‘between a rock and a hard place.’

Filming Joker may not be an experience Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix look back on fondly … at least when it comes to the dynamic between them. The actors clashed on the set of the 2019 film. But it wasn’t about the storyline or a simple case of differing personalities. Rather, their conflicting approaches to filming caused friction between Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix.Did Joaquin Phoenix get along with Robert De Niro?As Joker director Todd Phillips told Vanity Fair, a problem came up almost immediately as a result of Phoenix and De Niro’s acting methods. De Niro, he explained, liked doing read-throughs of the script from cover to cover prior to shooting. Whereas Phoenix adopted a looser, “let it happen” method.

It all started when Phillips got a call from De Niro asking him to relay a message to Phoenix. “Bob called me, and he goes, ‘Tell him he’s an actor and he’s got to be there. I like to hear the whole movie, and we’re going to all get in a room and just read it.’”

“And I’m in between a rock and a hard place,” Phillips said. “Because Joaquin’s like, ‘There’s no f***ing way I’m doing a read-through.’ And Bob’s like, ‘I do read-throughs before we shoot, that’s what we do.’”
Phoenix begrudgingly completed a read-through at De Niro’s Manhattan, New York, office. Then he turned down his co-star’s invitation to go somewhere and talk.
“He’s in front of Bob, and he goes, ‘I can’t, I gotta go home,’” Phillips said. “Because he felt sick after that read-through, he didn’t like it.”
After some encouragement from the director, however, Phoenix talked with De Niro. Ultimately, it ended with the About My Father star taking Phoenix’s face in his hands before kissing his cheek and saying, “‘It’s going to be OK, bubbeleh,’” Phillips recalled. “It was so beautiful.”
De Niro and Phoenix were OK not talking to each other much on the ‘Joker’ set
Despite naming De Niro as his “favorite American actor,” Phoenix confessed he and the Joker star weren’t particularly chatty. “The first day we said good morning,” he told the outlet. “And beyond that, I don’t know that we talked much.”
It wasn’t necessarily because of their different takes on how filming should go. Rather, both thought it was best for them and their characters.
“His character and my character, we didn’t need to talk about anything,” De Niro said, “We just say, ‘Do the work. Relate as the characters to each other.’ It makes it simpler, and we don’t [talk]. There’s no reason to.”
Additionally, Phoenix confessed fear might’ve played a role. “I was probably afraid that I would turn into a fan … So I couldn’t allow myself to think of him as De Niro.”
Who does Robert De Niro play in ‘Joker’?Bradley Cooper convinced him to join the cast
Although he didn’t star in Joker, Bradley Cooper did play a role in getting De Niro to sign on. The star served as a producer on Joker.
By the time the film headed for production, Cooper had developed a strong working relationship with De Niro. To date, the two have appeared in multiple movies together, such as Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.
Recalling how Cooper advised him to join Joker, De Niro noted in a 2020 interview how he admired Cooper’s work on A Star Is Born.
“I met [Joker director] Todd Phillips, and I liked him. I thought, ‘This will be an interesting project,’” De Niro said. “Bradley was one of the producers and he told me to do it. He’s really terrific.”
What he did with A Star Is Born, the way he worked on it quietly by himself, put it together, found the right actors, the right people,” he continued. “When you know what you want to do, that’s a great thing, and you know it’ll be special.”
So, that’s how De Niro wound up playing Joker’s Murray Franklin. The talk show host serves as something of an inspiration to Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck. However, Fleck’s transformation into the Joker was cemented when he kills Murray Franklin on live television. Safe to say Robert De Niro will not be in Joker 2 coming in 2024.

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Taylor explained a bit about how he ended up getting the role on Gunsmoke i tried out for the Olympics, but I didn’t make the team…

Gunsmoke featured a ton of actors during its epic 20-year run. The TV series started out as a radio program before making the leap to television in the mid-1950s. From 1955 to 1975, the show kept the adventures of U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) alive and well, much to the delight of fans. As for his co-star Buck Taylor, his journey to the show meant other dreams couldn’t be realized

Although Taylor wasn’t one of the original cast members of Gunsmoke, he played a prominent role in the latter half of the show’s original run. In 1967, Taylor joined the show as Newly O’Brien. The character was among the characters to step in as acting deputies at various points. Burt Reynolds’ Quint Asper and Roger Ewing’s Thad Greenwood preceded Taylor in that regard.

As for Newly O’Brien, the character served as both a backup deputy and a doctor-in-training. Thanks to his uncle, he had some medical training. Taylor remained on the show from his introduction until the show finally came to a close in 1975. But before he became an actor, he was in pursuit of a very different passion: participating in the Olympic Games.

In an old interview, Taylor explained a bit about how he ended up getting the role on Gunsmoke. At the start of his career, he wasn’t yet an actor but a gymnast with ambitions of competing in the Olympics.
“I tried out for the Olympics, but I didn’t make the team. I think I worked out every day for about 12 years, very hard,” he explained in his interview with Bette Rogge for The University of Dayton. “Then when I started acting, I did a couple of saddle falls – stunt work – and I chipped my shoulder. So I had to give up the gymnastics.”
Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, as Taylor found great success in Hollywood. Gunsmoke was an integral part of what would become a very prolific career. Over the years, he particularly held great esteem in the Western genre on both television and in the movies.
Most recently, Taylor had a popular recurring role on the Paramount Network series Yellowstone. That show – which follows a family based out of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch – stars Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, and Kelly O’Reilly. Taylor played Emmett Walsh from 2018 to 2022, appearing in a total of eight episodes across the show’s first five seasons.
Yellowstone notably has helped reinvigorate the modern Western. The show has become such a runaway hit that it has expanded into a franchise for Paramount. With two spin-offs already behind it and another two on the way, Yellowstone is only the latest Western project to receive Taylor’s stamp of approval.

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Gregory Peck..He called his fellow actor an “authentic folk hero” who has contributed “inestimable value to American culture

Movie actor John Wayne had an undeniable fervor for America and the values he aligned with it. As a result, he defended them the best that he could on the silver screen and with his interactions with those who served. Wayne earned an award for “paying his dues” to America in his own way, as the U.S. government and his peers celebrated him for the same distinction given to George Washington and Thomas Edison.

Wayne had an image that was always associated with America, although it aligned with the conservative end of the political spectrum. Therefore, he alienated other moviegoing audiences who disagreed with his values and politics. However, the movie star earned an abundance of criticism after he didn’t follow his fellow Hollywood stars into the fray of World War II. Rather, Wayne stayed in America and continued to boost his career with a noticeable lack of male movie stars available to star in motion pictures.

Several different stories circulated as to why the actor didn’t serve, but he was the sole supporter of his family, which granted him an exemption. Even so, the damage was already done, and it harmed his image for the rest of his career and beyond.

Wayne doubled down on his fight for America when it came to defending its honor in other ways. According to 1979 U.S. Government Printing Office documentation, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, which is Congress’ highest honor for achieving something substantial for the country. Congress bestowed this honor on very few people, with the list including Washington, Edison, and the Wright brothers.
While many members of the American public didn’t necessarily agree with this, there were some outspoken supporters across Hollywood.
Frank Sinatra honored him, writing that “No man’s lifetime or work has given more proof to the world that our flag is still there John Wayne is in truth a star-spangled man whom so proudly we hail.”
The Dirty Dozen filmmaker Robert Aldrich emphasized that he was a Democrat and didn’t share any political views with Wayne. Nevertheless, he honored the actor’s “courage, his dignity, his integrity … his strength as a leader, his warmth as a human being … he is entitled to a unique spot in our hearts and minds.”
Four-time Oscar-winning actor Katharine Hepburn said, “With a heart full of love for all concerned: ‘About time.’”
Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck also voiced his support, even after earning the Top Western Star of the Year award, which left Wayne feeling upset. He called his fellow actor an “authentic folk hero” who has contributed “inestimable value to American culture.”
Wayne didn’t serve in WWII, but he did feel that he served America in his own way. He went on tours to visit soldiers serving, and he represented the U.S. itself on the silver screen. In his mind, this acted as a form of entertainment, but it was also a source of morale and built a sense of love for one’s country.
However, Wayne’s sense of nationalism also got him into trouble. He took great pride in making The Green Berets, which acted as a piece of war propaganda surrounding the Vietnam War. Famous film critic Roger Ebert tore the film apart for how it approached the war and represented soldiers overseas.

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