John Wayne angered James Caan on set: ‘He wanted to hit Duke’

Speaking on The Tonight Show in 1997, the Godfather star said of Wayne: “If he could intimidate you, he would stay with you forever until you fell apart. He would test you. So tonight I remember that it was between him and Robert Mitchum and Howard Hawks was about 72 years old at the time and we were out in this great old west town.”

Caan shared how Wayne would walk up to him and tell him to turn around in a shot, take a step, and “Give me that look you got on me.” The young actor would do as Duke told him, but then director Howard Hawks would yell “Cut!” and tell him not to take the step.

The western star then again told him to take a half step and this went back and forth until the Mississippi actor blew up. Caan admitted, “I was going to hit him!” However, Mitchum ran in and broke up the confrontation just like with the chess game.

READ MORE: John Wayne “exhausted” in a film where the director “hit” the protagonist

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