Wayne was just as tough off screen as he was on. He said: “Before I arrived, it was common practice that the hero should always fight cleanly. The heavyweight was allowed to hit the hero on the head with a chair or throw a kerosene lamp at him or give him a kick in the stomach, but the hero could only knock down the villain politely and wait for him to get up. I changed all that. I threw chairs and lamps. I fought hard and I fought dirty. I fought to win. And, behind the scenes, few co-stars were dumb enough to risk “fighting” with the 6’3 star.
True Grit, based on Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name, won Wayne a long-awaited Oscar in 1969. As soon as he read the book, the actor actively lobbied for the lead role in the United States. United graying and bandaged. Marshal Coq Cogburn.
Despite his legendary status, the Western legend was unable to control the casting, unable to secure the role of Mattie for his daughter Aissa. However, his own pre-eminence had also meant that Elvis gave up the supporting role of La Boeuf after being denied the headliner.
Wayne himself had wanted Elvis and was deeply disappointed when negotiations fell through, but it was another actor who would cause him the greatest heartbreak once filming began.
Duvall’s temper has apparently not softened over the decades, with Michael Caine saying it was “pretty violent” while filming Secondhand Lions in 2003.
Duvall was also a Method cast member, and his intense approach and irritation with anything that didn’t match that caused trouble with Wayne and True Grit director Henry Hathaway.
This turned into loud and aggressive on-set confrontations. 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.
The actor later recalled, “He was like, ‘When I say ‘Action!’ tense, fuck you. ”It’s hard to work under that as a young actor.”
Wayne’s growing irritation at the disruptions to his cherished project led him to fight Duvall as well and eventually threaten to punch him if the other actor didn’t stop arguing with the director.
Duvall then opened up about the experience working with the screen legend.
He 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…
“He was an institution in himself, and that last movie he did, The Shootist, it was wonderful what he did. So he was a great guy to work with, absolutely.”
Wayne, himself, was never satisfied with his work on True Grit. Even the night he won his Oscar, the veteran star pulled aside fellow countryman Richard Burton and told him he should have won for Anne of a Thousand Days. When Barbra Streisand, who won the previous year for Funny Girl, presented him with the golden statuette, she later revealed that he had whispered “beginner’s luck” in her ear.
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