Charlton Heston Forums

The only forum on the internet dedicated to Charlton Heston
It is currently Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:42 am

All times are UTC



Welcome
Welcome to Charlton Heston Forums - The only forum on the internet dedicated to the legendary actor Charlton Heston!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. In addition, registered members also see less advertisements. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please, join our community today!


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:10 am 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:18 am
Posts: 1360
An interesting little interview by Barnes&Noble late in Heston's career, in 2001; it covers a few different aspects of his acting roles: http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/ ... CTR=607854

Parts the Sea Long Enough to Talk About His Epic Career
Charlton Heston liked big roles -- on the screen and off. When we spoke with him in March 2001, he was 76, and he remained a paradigm of square-jawed confidence, instantly recognizable as the man who evoked so many legendary figures -- Moses in The Ten Commandments; St. John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told; Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy; Judah Ben-Hur in Ben-Hur. Off camera, his presence has been felt too -- and we're not talking about his narration work on Disney's Hercules and The Jungle Book: The Adventures of Mowgli. No, Heston has stayed in the public eye championing Republican politics, presiding over the Screen Actors Guild for six terms and serving as the president of the National Rifle Association. With many of Heston's classic films coming into sharp focus, thanks to DVD releases, we gave the epic actor a call. And suddenly the voice that snarled "Get your stinking hands off of me, you damned dirty ape" in Planet of the Apes, and croaked "Soylent Green is people" in Soylent Green was on the phone - fresh from watching his nine-year-old grandson's tennis lesson on the court at his Los Angeles home.

Barnes & Noble.com: How did the lesson go?

Charlton Heston: He's getting better. When you start them young, maybe they can actually learn the game.

B&N.com: Start too late, like I did, and you're sunk.

CH: Me too.

B&N.com: Is it still a passion for you?

CH: Well I don't play a great deal any more, and I never did with the passion my grandson has, but that's good.

B&N.com: Well you had other things to do.

CH: Oh yes. But he's into hunting, too, and all that stuff.

B&N.com: Great. Let's talk about some of your big-screen epics coming on to DVD. You must be excited that people are going to see such films as The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben-Hur with all the crispness of their wide-screen theatrical presentations?

CH: Yes, that I'm told. That's very rewarding.

B&N.com: Our staff watched the chariot race during our weekly meeting last Thursday.

CH: That's quite a sequence. That'll hold your attention.

B&N.com: Right, we didn't get anything accomplished...

CH: Of course not.

B&N.com: But the point is that to people who've seen Ben-Hur only in pan-and-scan versions, or old copies made from lackluster prints, the chariot race is a revelation.

CH: I think one of the differences between Ben-Hur and, may I say, another very good film -- Gladiator -- is that the latter was not live-action, in a sense.

B&N.com: And that makes a huge difference.

CH: Contemporary films like Gladiator achieve so much by having the actors perform in front of a blue screen and then filling in the action around them digitally. As I've been saying for 40 years, when the time comes that they can duplicate the actors, then we're all out of business.

B&N.com: You and Stephen Boyd did so much of your own stunt work for the movie. That would be much easier today, right?

CH: Well, we both learned to drive the chariot. Indeed, Stephen deserves credit because he came on board relatively late. I had been learning to drive the chariot for the better part of a month before Stephen joined the cast and came down from Britain. But he really dug into it and he did a wonderful job. Of course, the author of the chariot race is [second-unit director] Yakima Canutt. He directed it. William Wyler told him to direct it. And he had full control over it.

I remember when I was still practicing to drive the chariot, which was no easy thing to learn, we were sitting one day, resting the horses. Actually we were resting me, not the horses. Well I said, "You know Yak, I can drive this sucker now, I really can. And I can't thank you enough for that. There's just one thing that worries me: For the past three weeks, it's just been me, you, and one of the three white teams out here all alone in this huge arena. In another ten days we're going to start shooting this sequence and I'm not so sure I can handle that." Yak pushed his cap back and said, "Chuck, you just make sure you stay in the chariot, I guarantee you're gonna win the damn race." [laughs]

B&N.com: Those were great days for you. When you look back on the decade beginning 1956 -- when you starred in The Ten Commandments and, in succession, such landmarks as Touch of Evil, Ben-Hur, The Agony and the Ecstasy, and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) -- is it all like a blur now?

CH: No, it was certainly an exciting time and I remember it vividly. I feel very fortunate to work in those films and for directors such as William Wyler, who in my opinion was the best director of actors in the history of motion pictures. At least in my time.

B&N.com: You also worked with Orson Welles on Touch of Evil; Cecil B. DeMille on both The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth; and George Stevens on The Greatest Story Ever Told.

CH: Yes. By far the triumph in that film, though, was Max Von Sydow. Max was far and away the best Jesus I ever saw. Not having seen the real one, yet. Max is the best European actor there is. He works all he wants to. He's a wonderful actor who can do just about anything; and a lovely gentleman.

B&N.com: He also played Satan in Needful Things, directed by your son, Fraser Clarke Heston.

CH: Yes. There's a funny story about that. There was an Irish actor in the film, William Morgan Sheppard, who was aware that my son had played the baby Moses in The Ten Commandments. I was visiting the set one evening, and Morgan and I got to talking. He said: "You know you don't see that every day," and pointed to Fraser going over something with Max. "What's that?" I asked. And he said, "It isn't every day that you see Moses telling Jesus how to play the Devil." [laughs]

B&N.com: You married Lydia Clarke (Heston) in 1944 -- a union that must rank among Hollywood's longest. Was your family often involved in your work?

CH: Oh yes. On Ben-Hur, for instance, it was a long shoot. We were in Italy for nearly 11 months, and my wife and son were with us. It was a very tough shoot -- six-day workweeks were the norm. But of course we were all convinced that it was going to be the picture of the year if not the decade; and if it failed, MGM was going to turn into a parking lot.

B&N.com: Back up a minute. How did Fraser wind up as Moses in The Ten Commandments?

CH: My wife, Lydia, had been doing a film (The Atomic City), and had an offer for another film, but she had become pregnant and her doctor wouldn't allow her to come to Egypt for The Ten Commandments shoot. So, at five months into her term, she stayed home. DeMille, who was a very gentlemanly man, heard the news and expressed his regrets that she would not be coming with us. "When do you expect your child to be delivered?" he asked her. She told him the baby was due in early February. He did some mental arithmetic, and said: "If it's a boy, at the time that we're scheduled to shoot baby Moses in the bulrushes, he would be three months old. Perhaps your child will be in the picture."

B&N.com: Fraser was born after you returned from Egypt?

CH: Yes, and DeMille must have had somebody in the hospital, for the very first word from the outside world was a Telegram from DeMille, reading, "Congratulations: He's got the part."

B&N.com: I recall hearing that you had to resort to character when it actually came time for your son's performance.

CH: Yes, there are strict child-labor laws -- on the set for a maximum of four hours a day, and only forty minutes in front of the camera -- and the day of the shoot there was a very formidable woman from the Child Labor Department who carried my son on to the set. She came over to the water tank where we were going to shoot the scene, and I said to her, "All right, I'll take him now." She said, "Oh no sir, I have to have him all the time that he's on the lot." So I said in much the same tone that I'd used with Yul Brynner as Pharaoh, "Give me that child." She did.

B&N.com: Switching to another of your films, I hear you've shot a cameo appearance in Tim Burton's upcoming remake of Planet of the Apes. How did it go?

CH: Very tough makeup. Not the first tough makeup I have worn, but this was really a brute.

B&N.com: Very long in the chair?

CH: Two hours. That's a long time.

B&N.com: So you've changed sides, you're an ape this time. How does that feel?

CH: Interesting. [laughs]

B&N.com: And Mark Wahlberg is playing your original role?

CH: Yes. I saw him in The Perfect Storm; and he was very good in it. We saw one another on the lot, but we were shooting at different times. We exchanged compliments. I wished him good luck and told him, "I know it's going to be fine." And he said, "You're a tough act to follow."

B&N.com: Well if this turnabout is a hit, do you think people will be coming after you to play the Devil?

CH: There's an interesting idea. I can't do it as well as Max did. But hell, I act for a living. I'll play anybody!

B&N.com: Well now it's on the record.

CH: I've certainly had my share of great parts: Henry VIII, Andrew Jackson, Kings, Genghis Khan, Richelieu....

B&N.com: Quite a hall of fame. Has it made you something of a historian?

CH: It's part of your job to do the research on them. I played Michelangelo.

B&N.com: Oh yeah, opposite Rex Harrison's Pope in The Agony and the Ecstasy -- "When will you make an end?"

CH: When I'm finished. [laughs] I always loved doing that line!

B&N.com: It's evident.

CH: And the record shows that that was precisely the exchange between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo. Michelangelo was a very angry man. He didn't care about anything except carving marble. You know that game they play where they ask, "Which character from the past would you like to have dinner with?"

B&N.com: Yes.

CH: Don't pick Michelangelo. He wouldn't come. If he did come, he would not have shaved, or anything. And if you talked to him, he would say something rude.

B&N.com: Hmmm. What about El Cid?

CH: El Cid is one of my favorite films.

B&N.com: But would you have the Cid-ster over for chow?

CH: Oh yes, you could, because he was a knight, a fine man, and he had other things in mind. His goal was to drive the Moors out of Spain, which he succeeded in doing, before he got killed. But he would be fine, as long as you don't outrage him. Then you might die.

B&N.com: And we wouldn't want to do that.

CH: Nope. Absolutely not.

March 20, 2001

Awards & Nominations

1959 — Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award winner for Best Actor in Ben-Hur

1959 — Golden Globe award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama in Ben-Hur

1956 — Golden Globe award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama in The Ten Commandments


Top
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:49 am 
Offline
Damned Dirty Admin
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:18 pm
Posts: 2636
Location: Sweden
Great interview! I love reading interviews he did when he got a bit older and could look back on his work in a different light and give interesting comments. As a fellow Swede, I enjoyed his remarks about Max Von Sydow, who I feel is an underrated actor.

_________________
Image
You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:17 pm 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:03 am
Posts: 1255
Chrysagon wrote:


B&N.com: Oh yeah, opposite Rex Harrison's Pope in The Agony and the Ecstasy -- "When will you make an end?"

CH: When I'm finished. [laughs] I always loved doing that line!

B&N.com: It's evident.

CH: And the record shows that that was precisely the exchange between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo. Michelangelo was a very angry man. He didn't care about anything except carving marble. You know that game they play where they ask, "Which character from the past would you like to have dinner with?"

B&N.com: Yes.

CH: Don't pick Michelangelo. He wouldn't come. If he did come, he would not have shaved, or anything. And if you talked to him, he would say something rude.



The best part of the interview, in my opinion. "It's evident". Indeed!

_________________
Image

I know this Man!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:25 am 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:18 am
Posts: 1360
I've been meaning to plug this in for some time, but kept procrastinating. This is a fairly well-known interview with Chuck in the Feb.20-26, 1999 issue of TV Guide. Chuck was 74 at the time; this was soon after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had already gone into remission. He had also just finished filming his role in the Warren Beatty film Town & Country, which wasn't released until 2001. Rather than transcribing this, I'm going to try posting a scan of the pages, since I have a copy of the actual magazine. The first image is the introductory page of the interview and Heston's photo on the 2nd page:
Image

Then, the actual interview: (NOTE Also the Photos)

Image

Image

It just occurred to me that this interview was done a couple of years before the infamous Michael Moore intrusion and perhaps even in the same location (it mentions his guest house). It's a case study of how to do a proper and respectful interview with Heston, as opposed to the Moore debacle.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:14 am 
Offline
Damned Dirty Admin
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:18 pm
Posts: 2636
Location: Sweden
Nice on, thanks for the scans.

Does anyone know which filming incident it is that led to him needing a hip replacement some years later?

_________________
Image
You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:26 am 
Offline
Cheating Bastard

Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:40 am
Posts: 46
This is one of my favorite interviews with a little bit of everything. It's from 2001. http://movieline.com/2001/05/01/charlton-heston-the-alpha-and-omega-man/

In a career spanning more than half a century, Charlton Heston has played everyone from Moses to Michelangelo, John the Baptist, to the last man on Earth. Here Heston talks about the great roles he's played in the past and the role he'll be playing this summer in the remake of one of his own classics, Planet of the Apes.

________________________________________

With the recent DVD releases of the great noir film Touch of Evil, in which Heston plays a Mexican narcotics investigator opposite Orson Welles, and The Greatest Story Ever Told, in which he plays John the Baptist to Max von Sydow's Jesus, there has been renewed appreciation for how far-ranging his accomplishments on-screen have been and how forward-looking many of his choices have turned out to be. Gladiator director Ridley Scott noted in his Movieline interview last year, "Charlton Heston was really brave. He made one of the greatest [ancient historical epics], Ben-Hur. But he also did every other conceivable kind of world. He had his eye on the ball. He did Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man... Sometimes he had great success, sometimes less, but Heston was an inspiration [to me]." Heston's stature on-screen and off is so substantial that he still works frequently, doing savvy turns in roles that are often, as with his CIA director in James Cameron's True Lies, ironic plays on his commanding screen persona. Naturally, the first topic of interest in talking with Heston at the moment is one of the summer's most anticipated films, Planet of the Apes, in which he has a small role and on which he has no small amount of historical perspective.

LAWRENCE GROBEL: Let's start out with a movie that's being talked about right now because it's being remade. When you made the original Planet of the Apes, did you have any idea it would achieve cult status?

CHARLTON HESTON: I was not overwhelmed with Pierre Boulle's book, but the idea was marvelous. Arthur Jacobs owned the property and it got to be kind of a joke, because every month or two he would call to say, "Well, I've got it over at Warners now." And I'd say, "Didn't you have it there last year?" And he'd say, "Yeah, it's a different bunch there now." This went on for nearly two years. They'd say to him, "For Christ's sake, talking monkeys? Buck Rogers? Get out of here." Then **** Zanuck, who was running Fox, said, "There are going to be actors in makeup, right?" Then he said, "I'll give you $50,000 to develop the makeup. If it looks good, we'll do a test scene. If the test looks good, I'll take it to New York and show it to the board of directors. If they don't laugh, you've got a picture." And that's how it turned out. I was positive it would be a successful film.

Q: You stayed out of all the sequels but the first, right?

A: I told ****, "We've done the movie. The rest is going to be further adventures about the monkeys." Which it was. He said, "Chuck, I have to do a sequel and I can't do it if you're not in it." I said, "You stepped up to the plate on this when no one else would, so I guess we owe you one. Just kill me off in the first scene." He said, "How about you disappear in the first scene and we kill you off in the last?" That's how it worked.

Q: In hindsight, do you regret not having done the sequels as well?

A: No, because the first one is the best one. I haven't seen all of the others.

Q: Is it true that when Kim Hunter embraced you at the screening of the first one, you didn't know who she was?

A: Yeah. I'd never seen her without the makeup.

Q: Where would you rank this film among your work?

A: Pretty high. I'm very proud of it and I still get checks.

Q: Is it the way you think our world might end--not with a whimper, but a bang?

A: Who can say? You know, for that scene on the beach where you see the Statue of Liberty stuck in the sand, **** Zanuck was there that day, and when my character said, "You finally really did it. Goddamn you, goddamn you all to hell," **** said I couldn't say that. I said, "****, I'm not swearing, I'm calling on God to damn the people who destroyed civilization." He said, "That's pretty good. That will fly."

Q: What's your part in Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes?

A: In a relatively brief scene I play a senior ape, a great ape in the literal sense, who is dying.

Q: What do you think about Tim Burton?

A: He's pretty good. I'm delighted to be working for him.

Q: Do you think it's being remade because of the spate of '70s remakes like Charlie's Angels, The Mod Squad and Shaft?

A: Might be. All I know is I got a call from **** Zanuck, whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. He invited me to lunch, and we went down to Beverly Hills. He said, "Chuck, I have to do another sequel to Planet of the Apes. And I have to have you in it. It wouldn't work if you weren't." Then he described the part--a day's work, but I'd be paid a large sum of money for it.

Q: When you made Planet of the Apes, you were an established star. But you'd had a pretty smooth ride from the beginning, right?

A: When I came home from the war, my wife and I went straight to New York to get work, beginning as nude models at $1.50 an hour, which wasn't bad. A production company was holding free auditions for anyone who served in combat overseas, so I went in and did Mercutio's death speech and the producer said, "Come up to CBS tomorrow." Having almost no experience, I did The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Jane Eyre, Of Human Bondage and Wuthering Heights in the space of 14 months. The actor doesn't draw breath that isn't going to be good in one of those parts, so then I got a movie, Dark City. I did it and I met DeMille. Every new actor on the lot was invited to go to DeMille's private dining room and have coffee and talk to him for a minute.

Q: Were you nervous meeting him?

A: Not very. A few months later, as I was driving off the Paramount lot, DeMille was standing on the porch of his building. I probably wouldn't be here if I hadn't been driving a convertible with the top down. I made a gesture to him, and as I was told later, he asked his secretary, "Who was that?" She said, "Charlton Heston. He's a Broadway actor, just made a picture with Hal Wallis, you ran it two weeks ago, you didn't like it." He said, "I like the way he looked just now. Have him in to talk about being the manager in The Greatest Show on Earth." Bingo! There you are. My second picture won the Academy Award, and I had the leading role. I'm a great believer in serendipity.

Q: Ridley Scott recently cited you as a pioneer and an inspiration for doing not only Ben-Hur, but Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man. Do you consider yourself a pioneer?

A: I made my first movie just as the studio system was ending. Being independent was an enormous advantage--you could pick your scripts, rather than have them just toss a script at you that you had to do.

Q: Speaking of Ridley Scott, how do you think Gladiator will hold up in comparison with Ben-Hur?

A: Gladiator's, very good. Russell Crowe is extremely good in the part. Ben-Hur had the chariot race, which is probably the best action sequence ever filmed, but the battle stuff in Gladiator is extremely good.

Q: Al Pacino told me that Russell Crowe is the only real movie star today. Is he right?

A: I've only seen him in the one movie.

Q: You once called Marlon Brando "the most naturally gifted actor in American film."

A: Yes, but he didn't use it. After he did One-Eyed Jacks, they'd send scripts over and he wouldn't read them. He'd say, "How can you talk about movies when there are people starving in India?"

Q: You also said you believed Spencer Tracy to be "the best American film actor on the planet."

A: Tracy was the best, certainly, of his time. He gave us a permanent mantra for our profession: show up on time, know your words, and don't bump into things. And he had enormous flexibility.

Q: Laurence Olivier you called "God."

A: He was the best actor of our time. I was directed by him onstage and acted with him in Khartoum.

Q: You've said you're not certain we have a great actor in America today. What about De Niro? Pacino? Hanks?

A: You've named probably the three best of our time: De Niro, Pacino and Hanks. But I cannot understand why almost no American film actors will do stage. I walked over to De Niro at a restaurant in Santa Monica once and said, "Mr. De Niro, we've never met, but I must tell you that I think you're the best American film actor of your generation." He's somewhat withdrawn and said, "Thank you, thank you." Then I added, "That said, you have to do Shakespeare." And he said, "Yeah, yeah, people say that to me all the time." I said, "They're right. It's shocking, with your ability, that you haven't done that." Then I realized that I had irritated him and said, "I have no right to tell you how to run your career...But I'm right!"

Q: You've said of Marilyn Monroe: "After Garbo, there's probably never been a woman the camera loved more than Marilyn."

A: The camera either loves you or it doesn't. There's nothing you can do about it. The camera loved Monroe, just as it did Gary Cooper.

Q: You had an opportunity to act with Monroe in Let's Make Love, didn't you?

A: Yes, I turned it down. She had been so difficult on sets. I know she was a troubled, insecure woman, but still. On The Misfits, Clark Gable, an icon who still always showed up on time, would sit all day waiting for her. Come five o'clock he'd say, "See you tomorrow." He never made a fuss. But that was just terrible.

Q: Another woman like that was Ava Gardner, with whom you worked on 55 Days at Peking. You've said she was as difficult as any actress you've worked with. What made her so difficult?

A: She was the last of the great female stars. When I worked with Ava, she was a knockout beauty. The first time I met her was at her apartment in Madrid. She told me how she came from the Carolina hills and I came from the Michigan woods, so we had something to talk about. She was very nice, but this was probably the first time she'd participated in script conferences. Nick Ray was directing--and this film would later kill him. We met at his house, and she listened for quite a while, had a couple of glasses of wine, and then started bashing everything--the script, everybody in it, everybody involved. I walked out the door, tossed my wine glass in the pool and went back to where I was staying. It was clearly very difficult for her. She looked wonderful, she knew her words and she wasn't a bad actress by any means...but it was very hard to get her out of the trailer. Sort of a Monroe thing, I guess.

Q: Do you have any other vivid memories of her?

A: Oh, yeah. When we had two weeks to go, the producer was giving a party for one of the honchos in the company. She left, and 20 minutes later I left, and outside, there was Ava standing in the middle of the street. She had a red satin cloak and she was doing matador passes at the taxis with her cloak. Quite impressive.

Q: You worked with both Sam Peckinpah and Orson Welles, two directors given the label genius. Were they?

A: They both were extraordinarily talented. Sam had a shorter career than he should have. He had substance problems. And he was a feisty guy--that's not the tone to take with studio heads.

Q: If it hadn't been for you, Orson Welles wouldn't have directed Touch of Evil, would he?

A: Orson was the most talented man I ever met--which doesn't mean I think he was the best actor, the best director or the best writer. But whatever you mean by talent--he had more of it than anyone I ever saw. I got a call from one of the honchos at Universal asking me what I thought of the script Badge of Evil. I said, "It's pretty good, but they've been doing those cop pictures from silent days. It really depends on who's going to direct it." He said, "Well, we haven't set the director yet, but we have Orson Welles to play the heavy." I said, "Why don't you let him direct?" You'd think I'd suggested my mom to direct the picture. There was this silence, and then, "Yeah, Citizen... Ambersons... we'll get back to you."

Q: How was he to work for?

A: Wonderful. On the opening day of shooting, the second A.D. is supposed to call the production office the minute they turn the camera on for the first time. We rehearsed and we rehearsed and never turned the camera on. It was well after lunch and executives were now gathering in uneasy little groups in the corners. They were afraid to get into a thing with Welles. Finally Welles said, "OK, let's shoot it." We did that scene, one dolly shot, in four takes, including close-ups. Then Welles said, "Print, cut, that's a wrap. We're two days ahead of schedule." The studio executives thought they'd gone to hog heaven. They figured he could do that every day. Of course he didn't. He just wanted to show them he could have.

Q: How did Welles lose control over the final cut of the picture?

A: I was shooting The Big Country for Wyler and I got a call from the studio asking where Orson was. I didn't know. He just walked off Touch of Evil in the middle of the editing. Universal had been delighted with him--he'd finished shooting on time, they loved what he shot. It was just foolhardy to walk out in the middle of cutting. If you turn in your first cut and then come back to make changes, that's another thing. But you can't just walk out.

Q: Welles did return, didn't he?

A: It was too late. I have the famous 58-page memo Welles sent the studio. He sent me a copy because he knew I would be on his side. I was told they wanted some retakes and extra shots but there would be another director, and I said to my agent that I wouldn't show up. He said, "Chuck, you have to. Just shut up and do the scenes."

Q: Touch of Evil was recently released on DVD, and another film of yours is now being reissued in a restored version on DVD, The Greatest Story Ever Told. Have you seen it?

A: No, I haven't. I saw it when it came out. It was not a success, considering [George] Stevens's stature as a director. My agent had called and said, "George Stevens wants to do a film about Christ and he wants you to play the lead." I said, "Christ is not the right part for me. But I'd love to be in it." Max von Sydow, who was far and away the best European actor, played the best Christ I've ever seen on film.

Q: Christ is a pretty thankless role, isn't it?

A: That's why it's amazing that he could be that good. I was John the Baptist, which is a good but fairly short part.

Q: You argued with George Stevens to show John the Baptist's head being cut off. Who was right?

A: He said to me, "Remember, Chuck, this isn't a movie about John the Baptist." You had to go with your director. But I remember shooting the baptisms in the Colorado River--it must have been in the high forties. I had a swimsuit underneath my fur tunic but it was still pretty cold. George came walking down and asked how it was going. I said, "Fine. But if the Jordan had been as cold as the Colorado, Christianity would never have gotten off the ground." [Laughs]

Q: Were you brought up religious?

A: Yes. I'm an Episcopalian. Not as strongly attended as I should be. I was baptized and I'm glad I was.

Q: Did you get more religious playing some of the roles that made you famous?

A: How can you avoid that?

Q: How big a compliment was it when Willy Wyler told you that after playing Moses, John the Baptist and Judah Ben-Hur, you were the best imitation Jew in Hollywood?

A: I thought that was great. I treasure that.

Q: You've said you consider Wyler the best director of performance in film.

A: Once, when we'd shot a scene of Ben-Hur for three days, he still kept coming back to this one part. After we finished, I was in my dressing room about to shower and he came to the door. "Sorry to catch you with your pants off, Chuck," he said, "but I wanted to talk to you." He came in. I poured him a drink. He said, "Chuck, you have to be better in this part." Charming. I said, "OK. What should I do?" He said, "I don't know. If I knew I'd tell you and you'd do it, but I don't know. I just know you have to be better." And he left. I sat for a long time with a drink in my hand. And in the end, I was better.

Q: In the film The Celluloid Closet, it came out that Gore Vidal had been brought in to work on some scenes between you and Messala and he had suggested that the key to the Judah/Messala friendship was homosexuality. Was there anything to this?

A: I don't know who suggested that Gore Vidal take a shot at this scene, but somebody did. I don't think it was Willy. Willy showed the scene to me and it wasn't marvelous. The scene we already had was better. Then the playwright Christopher Fry came in and did some more work on it. Gore Vidal has never gotten over that.

Q: You called Vidal a tart, embittered man.

A: Yes, he is. He's done some good writing, but he wasn't good at writing film scripts.

Q: Ben-Hur won 11 Oscars. Do you think any film will ever match that?

A: No. Titanic won 11, but now there are additional categories.

Q: What degree of reality do your characters have for you after you've finished playing them?

A: A good proportion of them, in my case, have been real men, unlike Taylor in Planet of the Apes. With Richelieu or Andrew Jackson or Gordon of Khartoum or Marc Antony, you are playing genuinely great men--and great men are more interesting than the rest of us. I find that fascinating. I certainly always know that I'm acting a scene when I play them, that it's not really me. But I understand those characters better than most laymen because I have searched them out.

Q: Is there any truth to the story that you got the part of Moses in The Ten Commandments because DeMille thought you looked like Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses?

A: Yes. The year before he cast the film, DeMille was over there looking for places where they might shoot and they stopped in Rome. His number-two guy, Henry Wilcoxon, said to him as they were looking at the marble sculpture of Moses, "You know, Mr. DeMille, that looks exactly like Chuck Heston." DeMille never forgot it. And I do look like that statue.

Q: It's part of film legend that someone asked an A.D. during that shoot, "Who do I have to **** to get off this picture?" Is it a true story or apocryphal?

A: That's a great story. And true. It was during the orgy scene, which at first was great fun. But it got a little old, and this girl asked that of the first A.D.

Q: What did you think of Earthquake?

A: It was very well done. I had script approval, so I persuaded them that I should die.

Q: You've noted that you've probably been killed in more films than any leading actor in movie history. Do you have any favorite ways you've died?

A: It's nice if you have a few things to say in the end. My best death scenes have been in Antony and Cleopatra and Gordon of Khartoum. And El Cid--he's mortally wounded in battle, but then he gets to die in his wife's arms.

Q: And your wife was Sophia Loren.

A: Right, that's pretty good.

Q: You aged during the second part of El Cid, but she didn't. Was there any discussion about that?

A: Of course not. If I'd been directing there wouldn't have been any discussion, either. When you've got someone who looks like Sophia, you don't alter that.

Q: What are some of your favorite moments?

A: Off the top of my head, the most important moment--in El Cid, in the scene where his troops take Valencia. We were shooting outside a real 11th-century castle. I led a troop of mounted armored horsemen up the beach. There were at least a thousand people inside and outside the gates. They were all screaming "Cid, Cid, Cid!" I rode through the gate in armor, got off the horse, walked up a 40-foot circular staircase to the top of the wall and turned and watched as they screamed, "Cid, Cid, Cid!" So I know what it's like to take a city. I really know what it feels like. Better than ***. That's the best example I can give you.

Q: You're critical of Oliver Stone for spending his career attacking core elements in our society, but you did appear in his last film.

A: He gave me a nice part in Any Given Sunday. I had one of my favorite lines--when I'm pissed off at the owner of the team, Cameron Diaz, and I say to one of my entourage, "I honestly believe that woman would eat her young."

Q: Was the reason James Cameron wanted you as the head of the CIA in True Lies that he felt you could plausibly intimidate Arnold Schwarzenegger?

A: Yes, because I played parts like that all the time.

Q: YOU can intimidate Schwarzenegger, yet you have a fear of spiders, don't you?

A: I was once bitten by a brown recluse spider, which is one of the most dangerous spiders in North America. I got a shot and after a week I was fine, but I really do not like spiders.

Q: YOU directed a young Kim Basinger in Mother Lode--and she had problems with another actor, Nick Mancuso. How did you straighten her out?

A: I told him to go sit in his trailer. This was Kim's first film. I took her arm and said, "Kim, this is not really about acting. You run into him and you're frightened and he hugs you. I know you don't like him, but that's what we get paid for as actors. You don't always get to do things you like. Do you think you could let him hug you?" She was a nice girl and was good in the film; I would have worked with her again.

Q: What's the hardest thing about acting?

A: Getting the parts.

Q: Why do so many high-caliber actors put down their profession?

A: I don't know. I love acting.

Q: More than being governor?

A: Right. I'd rather play a senator than be one.

Q: Which of your films are you most personally proud of?

A: Of course The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. The two Marc Antonys, in Julius Caesar and in Antony and Cleopatra--there's no better writing. Then I've done eight Macbeths, two on television. I like Treasure Island--Long John Silver is a great part. And Sherlock Holmes.

Q: You've said that Robert Ardrey's script of Khartoum is one of the three best scripts you've read. Not counting Shakespeare, what are the other two?

A: Planet of the Apes, largely done by Rod Serling, is a wonderful script. And Soylent Green was an extraordinary and unusual film.

Q: Your own candidate for the worst movie you ever made was Call of the Wild, which was never released in the States. What made it so bad?

A: We made it in Norway, and whoever put up the money [required that there be] a reasonably good part for a German actor, a Norwegian actor, an Italian actor and a Spanish actor. The result of that was not very good. My daughter was then about eight and she was with me. There's a scene where I break through the ice and the dog pulls me out. We did the shot and the crew brought towels and glasses of wine to warm me. My daughter was crying and I said, "Honey, I'm OK. It's all right." And she said, "What about the doggie? He doesn't have any towels."

Q: What movies influenced you as a boy?

A: The Gable Mutiny on the Bounty and Morocco, where Gary Cooper is in the Foreign Legion. I was a great fan of Cooper's.

Q: Were you always called Chuck, or did you have other nicknames as a child?

A: When I was a little kid, I was called Charlton. It wasn't until I got to high school that people started calling me Chuck. Everybody calls me Chuck now except my wife, who calls me Charlie. The only person who called me Charlton was Mr. DeMille.

Q: Who was the most significant person in your past?

A: I guess my father. Then my wife, who changed my life when I met her.

Q: You've been married more than 50 years. What's the secret?

A: You've got to pick the right person in the first place. And I did, entirely by accident. I sat behind her the first day of a required freshman class at Northwestern called Fundamentals of Theater Practice A40. She had a mane of black hair and I didn't see her face for two days, but I didn't take any notes, either.

Q: Has she been influential in the parts you've chosen?

A: I trust her judgment very strongly. She is a more mentally equipped person than I am. I know how to give speeches, but she just has a better brain. She is the architect of my life.

Q: What was the most traumatic experience of your life?

A: When I was 10 and my parents divorced.

Q: After they split, you didn't see your dad again for 10 years.

A: That's right, until just before I went overseas during the war. When I came back from the war, until he died, we had a nice relationship.

Q: Who are your heroes?

A: Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington.

Q: Why do you so dislike the word start?

A: It seems overweening.

Q: How do you want to be remembered?

A: As a good man, a good father, a good American and a good actor. I'm working at it.

--

My favorite part of the interview is the anecdote about Robert De Niro. De Niro doesn't seem to have been very gracious.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:32 am 
Offline
Damned Dirty Admin
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:18 pm
Posts: 2636
Location: Sweden
Haven't read that one before, I agree it's very good and filled with information. I also agree about De Niro, one would think having Moses come by your table and tell you you're the best actor of your generation would soften him up. Guess not. I disagree with Chuck about that, by the way, I've always felt Pacino is the best from that generation.

Fun fact about Chuck not liking spiders, I hate 'em, too! :lol:

_________________
Image
You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:37 pm 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:03 am
Posts: 1255
Chrysagon wrote:
It just occurred to me that this interview was done a couple of years before the infamous Michael Moore intrusion and perhaps even in the same location (it mentions his guest house). It's a case study of how to do a proper and respectful interview with Heston, as opposed to the Moore debacle.


That's very true, Chrysagon, and I would add that it is also a case-study of how to be indomitable.Chuck was not just a great actor, a good man and one who kan speakhis mind with honesty and courage-- those can be personal virtues. But for the public he could be an inspiration of life, which is a continuous fight with odds and you have to live on with resilience and optimism. The way he laughs saying "I am now the poster boy for the campaign against prostate cancer", can be a lesson to anybody -- to fight any odd in life.

I also like the part where Chuck advices Bill Clinton to take money and run.Thanks a lot for scanning the pages and sharing.

By the way, I forgot to congratulate you on attaining your long-deserved rank that suits you best! Congrats, War Lord.
.

_________________
Image

I know this Man!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:46 pm 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:03 am
Posts: 1255
As for the De Niro annecdote, I findit interesting because it shows Chuck's character as frank, candid yet being o dignified. He himself walked over to Niro, paid a compliment and then said what he felt, or suggested something good for a young actor, being a senior. How many celebrities would do that, out of just a frank goodwill? Most of them suffer from an ego-problem, but our chuck wasfree from that.

_________________
Image

I know this Man!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Interviews with Chuck
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:49 am 
Offline
Prince Judah
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:18 am
Posts: 1360
Judah wrote:
By the way, I forgot to congratulate you on attaining your long-deserved rank that suits you best! Congrats, War Lord.
Thanks, Judah. This is definitely my preferred rank. I may have to stop posting soon so I can stay at the War Lord rank forever... :D

Judah wrote:
As for the De Niro annecdote, I findit interesting because it shows Chuck's character as frank, candid yet being o dignified. He himself walked over to Niro, paid a compliment and then said what he felt, or suggested something good for a young actor, being a senior.

Everything that I've read about De Niro in the past few decades in regard to his public persona suggests that he was introverted and reserved when in public. Also, the few times I've seen him on TV in some interview also indicated that he was not a natural conversationalist and didn't much like talking about his work. I still remember an interview long ago when he was asked to repeat his famous "You talkin' to me?" line (from Taxi Driver) just for fun and to please the audience, and he just refused to do it. He came across as very uptight & humorless. So, his perceived rude behavior with Chuck is nothing new; I don't think it had anything to do with Chuck specifically either; De Niro was/is that way with everyone. Maybe he's copying Brando's attitude (recall, Heston brings up Brando in at least one of the above interviews). Though, I'm pretty sure De Niro loves acting, unlike Brando who it is theorized got sick of acting after the fifties.

I probably also give Pacino the edge over De Niro, though I'm not that impressed with Pacino the past couple of decades either. Pacino was great in the seventies and I'm always impressed with his Scarface (1983), but after the eighties Pacino resorts to shouting/yelling in his performances, while De Niro sort of repeats the same performance over & over. Most of De Niro's gangster film roles have an aura of sameness about them. Also, I recently watched De Niro again in one of his few unusual roles, in The Last Tycoon (1976), in which he played a 1930's film producer. De Niro can be intense and focused -- this made his rep -- but he's also very expressionless during much of the film; this can be a boring performance to many - he comes across as this humorless bore.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 42 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron

suspicion-preferred