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John Wayne

Enraged John Wayne almost punched Robert Duvall while filming True Grit

True Grit, based on Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name, brought Wayne a much longed-for Oscar in 1969. As soon as he had read the book, the actor actively lobbied for the lead role of grizzled, eye-patched US Marshall Rooster Cogburn. Despite his legendary status, Wayne wasn’t able to control the casting, unable to secure the role of Mattie for his daughter Aissa. However, his own preeminence had also meant that Elvis dropped out of the secondary role of La Boeuf after he was refused top billing above Wayne. Another actor would cause him the greatest grief once filming started.

Duvall was 38 at the time, already established as a strong character actor, but not yet the leading man and headliner that he would become. He was also known for having a fiery temper. In his early days in New York, he was boarding house roommates with fellow impoverished young stage actors Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman. All three were united by a love of elaborate practical jokes but Duvall and Hackman were also known for their short fuses, which led to explosive bar fights.

Hoffman has described how Duvall would use his anger to fuel his performances, picking someone in the audience he imagined hated him – and then shouting “F**k you” at them as he left the stage after the curtain call.

Duvall’s temper did not apparently mellow through the decades, with Michael Caine saying it was “quite violent” when they were filming Secondhand Lions in 2003.

True Grit: John Wayne and Robert Duvall

True Grit: John Wayne and Robert Duvall (Image: GETTY )

True Grit: John Wayne almost punched Robert Duvall

True Grit: John Wayne almost punched Robert Duvall (Image: FS )

Duvall was also a Method actor, and his intense approach and irritation with anything that did not match up to it caused problems with Wayne and True Grit director Henry Hathaway. This spilled over into loud and aggressive confrontations on set. Duvall recalled in 2015, “The director and I didn’t get along — I don’t get along with a lot of directors,” and another time, “Henry Hathaway… we won’t talk about him.”

Hathaway also had a very strong personality and was aggressively dictatorial on set, which Duvall did not respond well to: “He’d say, ‘When I say, ‘Action!’ tense up, Goddam you.” It’s hard to work under that as a young actor.”

Wayne’s increasing irritation with the disruptions to his cherished project led to him also fighting with Duvall and finally threatening to punch him out if the other actor didn’t stop arguing with the director.

While Duvall never got over his dislike of Hathaway, he has often spoken highly of his fellow actor. Wayne was actually never happy with his performance in True Grit, believing he had done far better work in movies like Stagecoach.

Even on the night, he won his Oscar, the Westerns veteran took fellow nominee Richard Burton aside and told him he should have won for Anne of a Thousand Days. When Barbra Streisand, who won the previous year for Funny Girl, handed him the golden statuette, she later revealed he had whispered in her ear “Beginners luck.”

Duvall said: “Wayne wasn’t as bad as some supposedly serious actors I’ve seen who trained at the Actors Studio and all that… Wayne was interesting to be around. He was pleasant and outgoing.”

John Wayne with his Oscar for True Grit with Barbra Streisand

John Wayne holding his Oscar for True Grit with Barbra Streisand (Image: GETTY)

Glen Cambell with John Wayne, True Grit producer Hal Wallis and director Hal Hathaway

Glen Cambell with John Wayne, True Grit producer Hal Wallis and director Hal Hathaway (Image: GETTY)

Duvall also said of Wayne: “He was an institution unto himself, and that final film he did, The Shootist, it was wonderful what he did. So he was a good guy to work with, absolutely.”

After True Grit, Duvall’s career bloomed throughout the next decade as he became one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. He played Major Frank Burns in the big-screen blockbuster comedy M*A*S*H  in 1970, followed by Tom Hagen in 1972’s The Godfather and the 1974 sequel. He did not appear in the third installment because the producers refused his demand to be paid the same as Al Pacino.

His part in the all-star Network in 1976 was followed by one of his most iconic roles as Lt. Colonel Kilgore in 1979’s Apocalypse Now with that timeless line: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Robert Duvall and Adam Sandler on the set of Netflix film Hustle September 29, 2021

Robert Duvall and Adam Sandler on the set of Netflix film Hustle September 29, 2021 (Image: GETTY )

Duvall’s clashes with directors continued well into his career, perhaps most famously with Bruce Beresford. The Australian director of 1983’s Tender Mercies helped him win his only Oscar but once even quit the set after yet another showdown with his hotheaded leading man. Even then, there was also an artistic fuel behind his flames. Duvall had wanted British auteur Ken Loach to direct the film, despite their wildly different political views.

In 1989, he took a high-profile television role in the Western mini-series Lonesome Dove, which he still regards as one of his greatest and proudest triumphs of a glittering career.

The actor has never stopped working. Last year, he starred in Twelve Mighty Orphans with Luke Wilson and Martin Sheen. At 91, he currently has three movies in production, including Hustle with Adam Sandler, and The Ploughmen, written and directed by Ed Harris. 

John Wayne

Why John Wayne Turned Down the Chance to Work With Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are the two biggest legends in the history of Western movies, however, they never worked together. The duo did have the opportunity to work together once in the 1970s. Here’s why the film never came to fruition.

How John Wayne responded when Clint Eastwood tried to work with him

Firstly, a little background. According to the book John Wayne: The Life and Legend, it all starts with Larry Cohen. Though Cohen is not a widely known director like Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino, he’s a huge name to fans of B movies. He directed famous B movies like The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent, It’s Alive, and God Told Me To. He also wrote a script called The Hostiles shortly after Eastwood released his classic High Plains Drifter.

The Hostiles was about a gambler who wins half of an estate of an older man. The gambler and the older man have to work together despite the fact that they don’t like each other. Eastwood optioned the screenplay with the intent of playing the gambler alongside Wayne as the older man.

Eastwood sent a copy of the script of The Hostiles to Wayne. Although Eastwood felt the script was imperfect, he saw its potential. However, Wayne was not interested. Eastwood pitched the film to Wayne a second time and Wayne responded with a letter. Wayne’s letter complained about High Plains Drifter. Wayne was offended by the film and its portrayal of the Old West as a cruel, violent place.

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John Wayne

Ann-Margret Refused to Call John Wayne ‘Duke’ While Introducing 1 of His Movies

Ann-Margret once starred in one of John Wayne’s lesser-known movies. However, she refused to call him by his popular moniker Duke. Here’s a look at the film they made together — and why she declined to call him by a nickname.

The one time Ann-Margret and John Wayne made a movie together

Ann-Margret is probably most known for her work in musicals, specifically Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, and The Who’s Tommy. However, she also dabbled in the Western genre. She starred alongside Wayne in the mostly forgotten movie The Train Robbers.

Wayne was also known as The Duke or just Duke. According to USA Today, the nickname was derived from his childhood dog. It stuck with him for many years. It continues to be used today — even on the box covers of the DVDs for his movies.

John Wayne | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

During an interview with Interview Magazine, Ann-Margret explained why she didn’t refer to the Rio Bravo star by this famous name. “When I came to this country, first of all, mother and I didn’t know English,” she said. “I would curtsey, then say, ‘Thank you,’ and then when I was leaving, curtsey. For example, we went to Dallas to introduce a film I did with John Wayne. And I never called him Duke. I just couldn’t. That’s the way I was raised. When you meet someone, you say either Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. You stand up.”

Ann-Margret revealed she treated other famous people in much the same way. For example, she worked with director George Sidney on Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas. She always called him Mr. Sidney.

What Ann-Margret thought about John Wayne

Ann-Margret refused to use Wayne’s most famous moniker. However, she had a positive view of the actor. During an interview with Fox News, she was asked what she expected when she met Wayne. “Oh, I didn’t know what to expect,” she revealed. “But when he hugged me, it’s like the world was hugging me. He was so big and wide with that booming voice. 

“We were shooting in Durango, Mexico and my parents came down to visit me,” she added. “He was so great with my parents. So absolutely welcoming and gentle with them. And anybody who was great to my parents was on a throne in my eyes.”

How the world reacted to ‘The Train Robbers’

Wayne starred in many classic Westerns, including The Searchers, Stagecoach, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. However, The Train Robbers is mostly forgotten. It didn’t gain a cult following like Once Upon a Time in the West or Dead Man. It wasn’t a critical success either, garnering a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Ann-Margret had some fond memories of making the film — even if she refused to call Wayne by his famous nickname.

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John Wayne

True Crime on Amazon Prime: ‘Lorena’ Reexamines a 90s Tabloid Sensation

True crime might not be the first type of show that comes to mind when you think of the offerings on Amazon Prime Video. The perpetually buzzy genre is usually more associated with the likes of Netflix and HBO.

However, the streaming service boasts at least one standout docuseries from 2019. It’s one that can scratch the true crime itch for fans, but also give them a much needed new perspective on a well-worn tabloid sensation from the 1990s.

‘Lorena’ was produced by Jordan Peele of ‘Get Out’ fame

Jordan Peele, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, and Lorena Gallo attend the 'Lorena' Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Jordan Peele, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, and Lorena Gallo attend the ‘Lorena’ Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Lorena, as the simple, to-the-point title suggests, chronicles the sordid story of Lorena and Jon Bobbit. The series was produced by Jordan Peele, the comedian-turned-director best known for Get Out and Us, and released on Amazon Prime Video in early 2019 following a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt infamously cut her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis off in his sleep with a kitchen carving knife. She drove off with it, tossed it out the car window into a field, and eventually called 911 to report the incident. After a search followed by 9.5 hours of surgery, John Bobbitt was able to get his penis reattached and functioning normally.

Thanks in large part to the salacious and sexual nature of the Bobbittss story, it quickly became a tabloid and late-night talk show sensation. Sadly, as one might expect from a male-dominated culture, the media spectacle largely focused on John Bobbitt as a sympathetic victim and cast Lorena as a hysterical victim. John Bobbitt went on to become something of a cult figure for a time, even starring in two pornographic films.

Part of the mission statement of Lorena, the series, was to use the true crime format to recontextualize the Lorena Bobbitt story. Despite the prevailing perception of the incident beforehand, in reality, John Bobbitt had subjected Lorena to years of domestic abuse and rape, up to and including the night of her attack.

John Bobbitt was eventually acquitted on rape charges. Lorena Bobbitt was found not guilty by a jury for reasons of insanity.

“25 years later, Lorena is a groundbreaking re-investigation of the deep moral issues and painful human tragedies buried at the heart of this infamous American scandal,” Amazon’s official description of the series reads, as reported by Deadline. “Lost in the tabloid coverage and jokes was the opportunity for a national discussion on domestic and sexual assault in America.”

Lorena saw a positive reaction upon its release, currently boasting an 82% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was the biggest project yet from director Joshua Rofé, who previously helmed Lost for Life, a documentary about juvenile offenders sentenced to life in prison.

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