John Wayne thought his co-star was an “arrogant little bastard” and avoided him
The 26-year-old later said of the two conservative politicians: “They laughed, drank, told dirty jokes and slapped each other on the back. They tried to lure me into their circle, but I couldn’t humor them. The machismo thing repelled me because it seemed very forced and unnecessary.”
When filming began, Wayne was seriously concerned that Clift would be manly enough to play a tough cowboy who could stand up to him.
The young actor, considered one of Hollywood’s original method actors along with Marlon Brando and James Dean, burned his thigh with a blank cartridge while taking rapid drag on the first day.
He was also nervous about taking on Wayne, but Hawks cheered him up and encouraged him to watch his scenes with Duke as David and Goliath. The director told Clift to downplay the scenes of him and Wayne before their first on-screen confrontation.
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