Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Walter Hill

I shot three pictures for Walter Hill. What a great director! And good friend...and all around great person. I first met Walter on an interview for the picture; "The Longriders". Walter had only done a couple of pictures prior to this one. My agent had sent me the script several days in advance and then set up this meeting. I think it was at Fox but I'm not sure. Anyway, I went into the meeting trembling from head to toes. I had only shot one other feature film at this point - "The Other Side of the Mountain, Part II" and that had been three years previous. So to say I was nervous would be gross understatement. We went through the usual pleasantries in the beginning and then Walter asked me the "QUESTION". Who was my favorite director. I sat there absolutely numb. I mean, this could well be, and in fact usually is a trick question. Do I tell the truth? Or do I say Walter Hill of course - lying thru my teeth. (I had never heard of Walter Hill at that point. So..I took a deep breath and said: Akira Kurasawa...the great Japanese director. I meant it, Kurasawa is beyond great! I continued to hold my breath for another - what seemed like an hour - minute and then heard Walter say: "Good choice, he's mine too." Music to my ears. Moral to this story, always tell the truth...and pray. He admired Kurasawa's asymetrical composition - as I did - and wanted to try it on this movie. We chatted a while longer, he thanked me for coming. I had barely walked in my door back home when the phone rang. It was my agent, Crayton Smith telling me I got the job. To say I was ecstatic would be gross understatement. I could probably write a whole book about the making of that film. It was, of course, my breakout movie. Everybody eventually get's a chance to do something that really gets noticed. Generally, many job offers follow. That's why they call them breakout movies...because you finally - after God knows how many years of working and waiting you are able to break out of obscurity. Thank you Walter...thank you. Our next mutual venture was '48 HRS.". I'll talk about that in another blog later. Suffice it to say...The Longriders launched my career and all because I told the truth. I have another story to tell later where I told the truth and didn't get the job!

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