Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Lee Marvin Shoots From The Hip

Illustration for article titled Lee Marvin Shoots From The Hip

Over at the Beast I reprinted Robert Ward's hugely entertaining Rolling Stone profile of Lee Marvin:

"I noticed something," I say to Marvin, feeling a little like Ransom Stoddard, attorney at law. "In that scene we just watched, the sense of menace you created was linked to… how much faster you move than everybody else. The rest of them are standing still. But Liberty is always dipping his shoulder, whirling around. Was that your idea or John Ford's?"

Marvin picks up his glass and takes a sip. He's relaxed again, back in his own skin. "It's one of the things I always do. I move faster onscreen. Creates a sense of danger… and ah…"

Marvin doesn't finish his sentence. Though he's perfectly capable of going on in greatly detailed style about what he does, he often just lets things hang.

"I mean," Marvin says, looking at me through those glazed and slightly mad eyes, "you're in there, then do it and get the hell out."

"You mean," I say, picking up our thirteenth bottle of wine, "that fast movement isn't part of your subtle Stanislavskian approach to acting?"

"You ask me my motivation," Marvin says, moving back into his tough guy persona again. "I say Thursday."


"Payday. That's it, Ward. Fuck all the other stuff. It's important not to think too much about what you do. Take Strasberg. I went to his joint once, back when I was first hanging out in New York, doing plays. I did a ten minute scene in his class: the guy who had gangrene in his leg in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. After I did the scene, he starts in with, 'Well, you were going for the pain in your leg, but I didn't see it, so you didn't put it over and thus the scene failed.' I told him that he didn't know anything about gangrene. When it's in the terminal stage, there isn't any pain. What I was going for was that the guy was trying to feel pain, because if he had any pain, it meant he wasn't going to die. But he couldn't feel a damned thing. I know about that shit from the Pacific. Strasberg was furious when I corrected him. He threw me out, so I said 'fuck you' and walked. He's not my kind of guy at all. I didn't dig it when he came in using his acting school reputation to get the creamy acting jobs that some other old actor who'd paid his dues might have really needed. Nah, you can have him. He's not in my outfit, pal."