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John Wayne was so angry with Robert Duvall that he threatened to beat him up

True Grit was a godsend for John Wayne, who lobbied for the lead role of one-eyed US Marshal Rooster Cogburn after reading Charles Portis’s novel of the same name. Duke would eventually win the Best Actor Oscar for his role in 1969, but the production was anything but easy for him. Despite being a huge star, he did not control the casting. Famously, Elvis Presley could not be secured for the supporting role of Texan La Boeuf, as the singer’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, demanded higher billing than Wayne himself. Meanwhile, there would be another actor who ended up leaving the western legend furious once filming began.

The actor in question was Robert Duvall, who played Lucky Ned Pepper in True Grit, which is on ITV4 today. The nearly 92-year-old was 38 at the time and had yet to become the leading man he would be in his later Hollywood career.

He was known to have a fiery temper just like his former roommate Gene Hackman, whom he and Dustin Hoffman lived with in New York when they were poor young actors. All three enjoyed practical jokes, but Duvall and Hackman were known for short fuses that led to explosive bar fights.

Hoffman previously shared how Duvall ended up incorporating his real-life anger into his performances. The True Grit actor would choose an audience member he intended to hate and then yell “Fuck you!” when he left the stage after a scene call.

As a method actor, he became frustrated when Wayne and True Grit director Henry Hathaway’s plans for his character did not match his own. As a result, on-set confrontations became commonplace.

He said in 2015: “The director and I didn’t get along, I don’t get along with many directors.” And on another occasion, he added: “Henry Hathaway… we won’t talk about him.”

READ MORE: John Wayne called Gone with the Wind star ‘too stupid he could only act’

Despite winning Best Actor for True Grit, Wayne was unhappy with his performance as Rooster Cogburn, later calling the award “beginner’s luck”.

However, Duvall admitted, “Wayne wasn’t as bad as some supposedly serious actors I’ve seen who trained at the Actors Studio and all that…Wayne was interesting to be around. He was nice and outgoing.”



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