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John Wayne

The Mandalorian Season 3: The John Wayne Connection You Likely Missed

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+.

John Wayne

Here Are the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Westerns of All Time

The American Film Institute decided the top 10 Westerns of all time and we’ve got the 411 on the ones that ranked. People have always loved Westerns, and we’ve listed 8 of the most popular according to AFI.

First up, Cat Ballou, the 1965 Western comedy from Elliot Silverstein. It starred Jane Fonda as Cat and Lee Marvin in a dual role as both the man who killed Cat’s father and the gunslinger who helps her get revenge. Narrated through song by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye, what made “Cat Ballou” so special was the female lead, which was rare for a Western.

Next, John Ford’s turning-point 1939 film, Stagecoach. It starred John Wayne and Claire Trevor. The film follows a group of interesting characters as they travel in a stagecoach together, which paved the way for the road trip trope. The passengers have to contend with the Ringo Kid, an outlaw, and the threat of Apache attack as they travel to New Mexico in the 1880s.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Robert Altman’s 1971 film, was a Revisionist Western piece starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. The film follows gambler John McCabe as he upstarts a successful brothel in a Washington town with Constance Miller’s help. The two strike up a romance, but when a mining company offers to buy his property, McCabe refuses.

No list of Westerns would be complete without Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The 1969 film from George Roy Hill starred Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid. The two got into all sorts of trouble, fleeing from the law after train robbing. The pair escape to Bolivia, but find they must fight the urge to commit crimes.

AFI’s Top Ten Westerns: Stagecoaches, Shoot-Outs, and Searchers

Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch comes up next. The 1969 Western starred William Holden, with Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson as his gang. The outlaws prepare to go through with a heist, only to find out the whole thing is a setup. The film is full of gratuitous violence and bloody shootouts; sure to satisfy fans of more gory Westerns.

Up next on the list, Red River. This 1948 Howard Hawks film follows John Wayne as Thomas Dunson, who aims to drive his cattle to Missouri for a better price. Montgomery Clift stars as Matt Garth, an orphaned youth whom Thomas takes under his wing. The film was shot on a grand scale, with sweeping landscapes and plenty of cattle. This is a must-watch for those who love big Westerns.

Then, Western star Clint Eastwood took a stab at directing his own with 1992’s Unforgiven. Starring Eastwood and co-starring Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris, the film follows Eastwood’s William Munny as he comes to town to catch a group of bandits. Harris’ English Bob comes to town as well, for the same reason, and the two outlaws clash with the local sheriff.

Additionally, the 1953 film Shane takes the American cowboy and turns him on his head; the cowboy retires to a ranch in Wyoming, but while working there falls in love with the ranch owner’s wife. He realizes that to save the ranch he has to fight the big cattle baron threatening to take the land. There’s something about watching a kid shout “Shane! Come back!” over an echoing, barren wasteland that tugs on the heartstrings.

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John Wayne

John Wayne: Which of the Duke’s Films Made the Most Money?

During his iconic Hollywood career, John Wayne made many popular films. These filmed are remembered for their drama, action, locations, scenes of heroism, and of course, for the Duke himself.

His films were usually Westerns or were about war. Wayne’s was a career that pretty much anyone hoping to make it in the movie business would envy.

Here’s an interesting question: Out of all of those popular movies, which of the Duke’s films was the most successful financially? Let’s find out.

According to, that title goes to the 1962 film, “How the West Was Won.” This film also starred James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Gregory Peck in this movie about the expansion into the American West. It made $440 million. (The website has adjusted the earnings of each of these films. The figures presented here are the films’ domestic grosses.)

Interestingly, the second most financially successful film of Wayne’s career was also released in 1962. It was “The Longest Day” and made $382 million. This film told stories from D-Day during World War II. The cast also included Fonda, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Eddie Albert, and Richard Beymer.

Bringing in the third-highest gross of the Duke’s career was “Reap the Wild Wind.” It was released in 1942 and made $361 million. It also starred Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland and followed the events that took place after a shipwreck in Key West.

The 1954 film “The High and the Mighty” comes in fourth place on the list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films. It made $347 million. In fifth place is the 1955 film “The Sea Chase.” It also starred Lana Turner and “Gunsmoke” star James Arness.

List of John Wayne’s Most Financially Successful Films Also Includes One That Won Him an Oscar

The top 10 list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films includes some of his most popular, as well as the film that won him an Academy Award.

Rounding out the top 10 highest-grossing John Wayne movies include “The Alamo” from 1960 in sixth place with $300 million. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” from 1949 comes in seventh place with almost $296 million. “Red River,” which was released in 1948 is in eighth place with almost $270 million.

The 1969 film “True Grit” is in ninth place with $262 million. It was his role as Rooster Cogburn that won John Wayne an Academy Award. The movie also starred Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Kim Darby.

Rounding out the top 10 was the Duke’s 1959 film “Rio Bravo” with almost $251 million.

Now we know which John Wayne’s movies were his biggest financial successes in the United States. So, which film came in last on that list? This title goes to the 1929 film “Words and Music.” It reportedly grossed $13.6 million.

Interestingly, the list of John Wayne’s highest-grossing films worldwide is different from the domestic list shared above. The top five films on this list, from No. 1 to No. 5, are: “How the West Was Won”; “The Alamo”; “The High and the Mighty”; “Rio Bravo”; and “The Sea Chase.”

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John Wayne

John Wayne Turned Down ‘Waco Kid’ Role in 1974’s ‘Blazing Saddles’: Here’s Why

“Blazing Saddles” fans, you almost had John Wayne playing the “Waco Kid” in Mel Brooks’ classic film. But “The Duke” said no.

Mel Brooks, who directed and co-wrote the script for “Blazing Saddles,” was asked about Wayne turning down the role in a 2016 interview with Philly Metro.

“He did,” Brooks said in confirming Wayne turned down the role. “I wanted him to play the Waco Kid, because the Duke was such a good actor. His reality is that he is the cowboy Western.

“We were in the commissary at Warners, I gave him the script and he promised he’d read it overnight,” Brooks said. “The next morning I saw him and he says that he loves it — every beat, every line — but that it’s too blue, that it would disappoint his fans. He said, though, that he would be the first one in line to see it.”

Gene Wilder Takes Over Role In ‘Blazing Saddles’

When Wayne passed on it, Brooks initially looked to actor Gig Young to play the “Waco Kid.” Young, who battled alcoholism, showed up for the first day of filming. It did not go well. He collapsed during his first scene while dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

So, who did Brooks eventually turn to for this role? It just took one phone call to Gene Wilder, who flew out to Los Angeles and started filming.

Brooks and Wilder had worked together on an earlier Brooks film, “The Producers.” Wilder actually turned down another role in the film, that of Hedley Lamarr. Comedian Harvey Korman, who made a name for himself on “The Carol Burnett Show,” eventually was cast in that role.

Cleavon Little Role Originally Set For Richard Pryor

Of course, Cleavon Little plays Sheriff Bart in the movie. It was a role that Brooks wanted to give to Richard Pryor, who was a co-writer of the movie script. Warner Bros., though, was reportedly scared off by his drug arrests.

They wouldn’t insure Pryor for the movie, so the part went to Little. Other cast members include Madeline Kahn, Slim Pickens, and former National Football League star Alex Karras.

The studio gave Brooks a $2.6 million budget for his 1974 release. As of 2012, “Blazing Saddles” had earned $119.6 million in the United States and Canada combined.

One could say that Warner Bros. earned back what it put out, and then some, from the witty, wild mind of Mel Brooks.

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