Empire Australasia - May 2018

(Kiana) #1

said, “Jeez, we’re going to have trouble putting
out a poster on this picture, because you’ve got
all of these foreign names.” Referring to some
of the actors in the ilm such as Francisco
\Rabal and Bruno Cremer and Amidou. And
I remember saying to him, “Well, if you want,
I’ll ask these guys if they want to change their
names. How much money do you want to pay
them to change their names so you can put
English-sounding names on the poster?”
That I remember. I went into that meeting
without great respect for their creative input.

The shoot was entirely outside of the United
States. You headed to the Dominican Republic...
Well, the bridge was ilmed in Veracruz, Mexico.
But the village and certain other sequences
were ilmed in the Dominican Republic, yes.
You could do some of it today in a studio,
with a massive amount of computer-generated
images. But we didn’t have that in those days.
If you wanted to ilm in a jungle extensively, as
I did, you had to shoot in a jungle. You don’t
think about the dificulty. You have a plan and
you try to execute that plan. The best-laid plans
of mice and men, you know, often go awry.

The rope-bridge sequence is the ilm’s big
showstopper. Is it one of the toughest sequences of
your career?
Oh, it was the most dificult sequence I’ve ever
tried to ilm. It was absolutely life-threatening
and I wouldn’t do something like that again
today. It was slow and painstaking, because it
was life-threatening. On a number of occasions

the truck fell over into the water and we had to
ish it out. Often with people in it. I was in it
once when it went over. I was inside ilming with
a handheld camera. Almost all of it, every time
you see one of the actors in the truck, they are
driving the truck. It’s only in the long-shot
sequences that there’s a stuntman for one of
the two drivers. But I was in it on one occasion
with Bruno Cremer, who was driving one of the
trucks, and it went over. It was not pleasant. But
the actors were extraordinary. And the fear that
they show, and the caution that they show, is
real. It’s a kind of acting that you did not have
to impose. And I was very conscious of that.
I made the experience real for these guys. They
knew I was doing that and they were up to the
challenge, as was the crew. But I can’t tell you
that it was completely safe. We thought it was
going to be alright, but there were many

Roy Scheider in
pensive mode.

‘Marquez’ (Karl John)
is gunning for
a launderette.
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