BUZZ KULIK ON DIRECTING SERGEANT RYKER

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Film & TV director Buzz Kulik, worked with Lee Marvin a few times and was gracious enough to grant me a phone inter view for Lee Marvin Point Blank. Most of what he told me went in the book. However, This little tidbit didn’t make the cut but is worth retelling…
Director Buzz Kulik: There is one story that stands out. I had worked with him on live TV. I liked him and thought he was a wonderful actor. He had a tough time with booze, though. Drunk, he could be belligerent. He couldn’t hold his liquor that well. Because of his past experience with it, I had heard he was difficult. So, what I did was talk to the head of security at the studio. I told him to tell the guards at the gate, “If he leaves at lunch, gets out on to Lankershim, hits the bars, gets into a fight, I want to know about it, right away. Tell me if he leaves.” I talked to Lee. I said, “I don’t want you to go off the lot for lunch. When we break for lunch, you could have lunch with me or whomever, but don’t leave the lot.” He said “Okay.” About five or seven days into shooting I called a lunch break. The hour goes by and Lee doesn’t come back. I wait a half hour, and he still didn’t show up. I yelled at security. I called all the gates. I said, “Look, all I asked is that you tell me if he leaves.” Nobody saw him leave. He finally showed up, bombed. Do you remember the old show, “Wagon Train?” Well, they filmed at Universal. When we broke for lunch, Lee wandered over there, sat with some of the old timers, and they must have had some booze in their dressing room because when he got back, he was all tanked up. He was very apologetic. I made him apologize to the cast and crew. What we wound up doing was shooting a different scene that day. I shot the scenes where he was at the defense table and all he had to do was listen. If you watch those scenes now, I think you can see him kind of hanging down. [laughs] He was a wild man.

 

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