“Whenever Mrs Kissel breaks wind, we beat the dog."
Blake Edwards . 1979
Hollywood is supposed to be stuffed with tens. Perfectlooking women.Yet Blake Edwards found few tenenough for his critical eye. As well as the usual casting directors, he checked out all the new faces - and bodies - at fashion shows, coffee shops, little theatres, model and talent agencie
Jenny had, in fact, been written for Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren’s daughhter. She fled. So did Kay Lenz (Clint Eastwood’s Breezy in 1972).Kim Basinger and Christie Brinkley came but never conquered.
Tanya Roberts, a future 007 girl and Sheena(a most revealing pin-up ona Columbia Christmas card),had it in the bag until John Derek introducedhis wife.Mary Cathleen Collins Derek.
She had madeher first film,Once UponALove,directed by Derek(previously wedto Bo-alikes UrsulaAndress andLinda Evans), rejected Dino DeLaurentiis'Kong Kong and hadjust finished producing her husband's one and only hard-core porno movie, Love You...
"She's bringing some dignity back to the tacky business of sex in the movies," said Derek. "There's only one Bo."
Andin London, she told me about her audition.
“I went in toberejectedbutcould tell
that I got the part immediately...
Blake Edwards took his sunglasses off!”
He put them back on again when,in an instant replay of The Pink Panther,hisleading man vanished and another English comic became an international star.
After shooting scenes in Mexico, the unit returned to the MGM lot in Culver City.That’s when George Segal discovered thatEdwards had written in a whole new sequence, a song ’n’dance TV commercial, for his wife Julie Andrews (succeeding Shirley MacLaine as Segal’s wife). Segal was furious claiming Edwards was using 10 - and him! - to salvage his wife’s stalled career; she hadn’t made a movie since her Edwards flop, The Tamarind Seed, four years before).
Segal sent a cable saying he would not beturning up for work on October 2, 1978."Major catastrophe!" exclaimed a stunned Edwards."I couldn't believe it. He changed his story so many times that I really don't know what the answer is.Anyone who doesn't take the responsibility he's assumed lacks character,courage and morality.No matter how valid the reason to himself...he had a contract. Ifthis is allowed in our business, we're in a lot of trouble."
They had held long, in-depth meetings about the script. George said it wasfunny and he wanted to be in anEdwards film but felt he had "overshot"the script. "He asked me what he should do," said Blake."I told him he had no alternative butto do the film."
Naturally,they started suing each other.Edwardsand Orion wanted $16m for unauthorised absence from filming; Segal wanted $10m for retaining scenes he had not agreed to andbeing unable to take up other offers that autumn.Segal said the material was too risqué for a father oftwo teenage daughters. D'oh! 10 was nohotter than Segal sharing bathtubs with Barbra Streisand and Jacqueline Bisset in previous comedies. Not to mention their love-scene that La Barb insisted beexcised from theirOwl and The Pussycat, 1970.
It was suggested that George Segal feared Blake’s film
- certainly, the publicity - would be snatched by Bo Derek.
(He was right about that).
Then again, it was also said that Segal did not wish to expose his... thin ankles!
More than 20 years later in Paris, George told me some more..."I'd asked Blake to make changes. And he did. He kept changing Julie Andrews' part, and the pages of mine were always the same. It was oil and water, I'm afraid, Blake and me. That happens... It's amazing that it doesn't happen more. But I've only had good experiences. I really can't think of a movie that I didn't enjoy... I got to work with- and know!- Orson Welles, Jimmy Stewart. I performed for Jimmy Cagney. My idols!"
His career slid into tele-movies at this point, until, rescuedby the Just Shoot Me sitcom, 1997-2003.It sounded as if George shouldhave been sharing Edwards' group therapysessions. That is where Blake found Dudley Moore.
Until then, Edwards had been so desperate,he even threw caution - and ego - to the wind and called up his bete-noir. And Peter Sellers simply turned him down. Again and again. “I just didn’t feel I was right for the part.” All Peter Sellers did promise was a cameo as a jazz group drummer... to be found somewhere in a cutting-room vault. “A potty, strange gentleman,” is how the director described his partner-in-Clouseau. . “Basically, not a nice man... Certifiable!”(Of was that Sellers on Edwards?)
"Dudleyhad to some degree irked me because of his obvious appeal to women in the group," recalled Edwards, "They called him Cuddly Dudley and all sorts of endearing little things that made me envy and want to stranglehim at the same time...Right inthe middle of group,I said: 'Come outside with me' and I asked him: 'Would you like to be in a movie?' "
Moore, who has a fetish for tall and pneumatic women, took one look at the 38x22x36Bo and decided:
“She’s an 11.”
“No, she's a 500”
So said John Derek, who literally directedthe rest ofhercareerinto oblivion: Fantasies,Tarzan The Ape Man, Bolero, Ghosts Can’t Do It.(There was another 10 in the film, ifmerely glimpsedinthe party scene that she helped cast - Annette Haven, start of the 1978 hardore movie, Love You!, helmed by John, produced by John and Bo.
Blakefound mostpotentialsuccessors"doubledtheir prices because theyknew we had our backs against the wall."He even considered the off-the-wall casting ofGeorge CScott who later noted"it would have been ugly with me doing it."
Also watching10's hefty box-office receipts, Segal commented: "They should be sending me a note of thanks."
And 17 years later, it was George replacing Dudley in Barbra Streisand's The Mirror Has Two Faces, 1996.