Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

My Mentor: Robert Duvall


The actor on the tutelage of Marlon Brando

There was one actor I always looked up to.

When we were coming up, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and I used to sit in a place called Cromwell’s Drugstore in New York City, two or three times
a week. And if we mentioned Marlon Brando’s name once, we’d mention it 25 times.

Brando was a role model to many young actors.

People have heroes and I think you always look up to somebody. Brando was unique. It was just who he was, his work. Sometimes the people round him weren’t as good, but he’d carry the movie. Young up-and-coming actors all look up to Brando and his work – he was one of the very best.

I first met him working on a movie called The Chase.

I was like, “Wow, I get to work with Brando!” He was very friendly to begin with. He called me into his dressing room and said, “What do you think of this script?” I said, “It’s pretty good.” He said, “Well, I think it’s pretty sh*tty.” So we talked, I thought it was gonna be great, we were gonna be like brothers. I used to go in his dressing room, but then for two months he wouldn’t say hello. He knows everyone’s dying for him to say good morning to them, but he wouldn’t do that. He was a strange guy that way, but that was part of the deal with him. He was a bit of a prima donna, but he could justify it because he was gifted.

He is one of the most unique actors who ever lived.

Recently I saw the first 20 minutes of A Streetcar Named Desire – it’s been 50 years since I last saw it. And I was watching it thinking, “My God, look at this guy.” He was a force of nature, a powerful presence.

My best memory of him is a slightly x-rated one…

I remember when we mooned each other on the set of The Godfather. I went for his belt, he went for mine, he said, “You can’t do that to women and children!” and we mooned. Some woman said to me, “Mr Duvall, you’re fine” but she says to her friend, “Did you catch the balls on Brando?!” We all mooned each other – Pacino too, and Jimmy Caan. We tried to have humour and mess around on set. We’d fool around and Coppola would go, “Come on, we’ve gotta be serious.” But he knew it caused relaxation, and I think Brando appreciated that. The Godfather: Part II wasn’t as fun ’cos Jimmy Caan wasn’t around. Brando loved him and his humour.

The Judge is at cinemas from 17 October

(Image: Rex)



My Mentor: Noel Clarke


My Mentor: Jenson Button


My Mentor: Zach Braff


The kids aren't alright


My Mentor: Tim Key


My Mentor: Dermot O'Leary



Kanye discusses Paris robbery for the first time and calls out Jay-Z

Yeezy slates Jay from the stage

21 Oct 2016

Everything you can expect from Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror

What you need to know for Season 3

21 Oct 2016

A forensic analysis of Liam and Noel Gallagher’s ongoing feud

A timeline of the best brotherly insults of all time

by Jamie Carson
21 Oct 2016

The first Glastonbury headliner has been announced

And it's an old favourite

by Dave Fawbert
20 Oct 2016

Tom Cruise acted out his entire career with James Corden

A few good men who have all the right moves

by Tom Fordy
20 Oct 2016

A love letter to Red Dead Redemption

As the sequel is announced, we look back at what made the first so dang powerful...

by Sam Diss
19 Oct 2016

Your first look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Why can't it be May already?

19 Oct 2016

Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

A conversation with Slaves about anger

Ahead of our first gig in association with Lynx, we sat down with Laurie & Isaac

19 Oct 2016

Benedict Cumberbatch on life in a monastery and hitting walls

Benedict Cumberbatch tells us why he decided to finally don a cape

by Chris Mandle
19 Oct 2016