Woods & Stone

Woods recalls some of the more difficult moments between him and Stone: “Oliver and I are great friends now and were then, but there was alot of tension between us during the making of the film. At one point we were rolling in the mud, pushing and shoving each other, and people had to pull us apart. Another time I was strapped down to the street with all these wires [tied to explosive squibs] running up my legs because I was suppose to get shot, and this Mexican pilot who didn’t speak any English was about to fly this old single-engine plane real low over me, and just before the scene starts, Oliver’s looking over the scene and I hear him say, ‘God I miss combat.’ So I think, ‘You get down here and be wired to the damn street with this screwy plane flying over you, then.’ But all the tension worked wonders on t he screen.”

Bob Richardson agrees. “I think that Jimmy would raise the stake of each scene intentionally because when he amps up to a high level, his performance is outstanding, and when he didn’t crank himself as high, he wasn’t quite as god. At least I think this is what he thought. As a result, he clearly made a decision to go at Oliver, deliberately push him, whether subconsciously or consciously. He pushed Oliver hard, and Oliver ended up pushing back. The two of them just came to that end, ego against ego. As a result, his performance is what it is, and I believe that’s one of the reasons it’s so fine.”

Stone acknowledges the battles between him and Woods. “With Jimmy, the thins is he tends to direct himself.” He says, “Which is not good because he over plays alot. I’ve seen that in alot of his performances. It’s as if the director could not control him or criticise or challenge him - I have a feeling that Jimmy is so bright with his I.Q that he’s intimidating. You know he has a very eccentric genius, no question about it, and I was lucky enough to tap in to it. Bunt in order to do so I had to get in the way of his reflection.”

Richard says it went alot farther than that. “One time we were setting up to shoot a bar sequence and all of a sudden there was this screaming from another room. Then we heard this sort of movement. So we opened the door and it was Oliver just beating Jimmy’s head against the ground. They were taking swings at each other. They came to blows a number of times. They would just pound each other.”

Stone shrugs and a malicious grin comes over his face. “Jimmy’s like the guy you want to punch out in school. He’s a whiner. He complained so much he drove everyone crazy. The crew, me, his fellow actors, everyone wanted to kill him because we had no money and we really had to depend on his mercy. He was, at that time, the biggest single star in the whole thing, so it was like we were all amateurs and he was the professional always telling us what to do. When someone is always reminding you of that, it becomes tiresome. I don’t believe in confronting everyone, but I think confronting Jimmy helped. He wasn’t use to being confronted and I think he gave the best performance I’ve seen him do. Because I drove him nuts. on certian days, I tried to work on his insecurity a bit. To use the anguish. By the time we got to that, he was ready to pop. But that was a little long into the shoot when we started to get under each other’s skin.”