Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

My Mentor: Robert Duvall

duvall.jpg

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)

Related

h_00888367.jpg

My Mentor: Noel Clarke

button1.jpg

My Mentor: Jenson Button

braff.jpg

My Mentor: Zach Braff

kids-arent-alright.jpg

The kids aren't alright

key1.jpg

My Mentor: Tim Key

dermot-mentor.jpg

My Mentor: Dermot O'Leary

Comments

More

I judged the International Booker Prize shortlist by their covers

So the saying doesn't go

by Gary Ogden
28 Apr 2017

Women fancy men who read and this is the book that impresses them most

But it doesn't work the other way

by Tom Mendelsohn
28 Apr 2017

The Fyre Festival looks like one of the worst events in human history

People have spent up to $12,000 on an unfolding disaster of an experience that you will not believe

by Tom Mendelsohn
28 Apr 2017

Whatever happened to the FA Cup Final song?

Time for the 80s and 90s staple to make a comeback

by Tom Victor
27 Apr 2017

Ray Winstone on family, feminism and how film stars have changed

His wilder years may be behind him, but a return to his roots has given Ray Winstone a new lease of life

by Jimi Famurewa
27 Apr 2017

These iconic album covers look better as children

We couldn't do a version with the Nevermind baby

by Tom Victor
27 Apr 2017

Sir David Attenborough opens up about health struggles

It is taking the 90-year-old longer to write his scripts

by Tom Victor
27 Apr 2017

Watch Mindhorn for FREE with ShortList Film Club

Check out the new film starring Julian Barratt

27 Apr 2017

M. Night Shyamalan announces sequels to Split and Unbreakable

*SPOILERS INSIDE*

by Gary Ogden
27 Apr 2017

Would you like to see Kermit The Frog cover R Kelly’s Ignition (Remix)

So baby give me that ribbet ribbet

by Gary Ogden
27 Apr 2017