I remember being fascinated by this movie poster when I was a kid. It was cool and sinister. Wasn’t until years later that I saw the movie, which remains overlooked, but is now available on Blue Ray DVD. Dig this Q&A with Peter O’Toole in the New York Times:
Q: How is it that “The Stunt Man” was as well-reviewed and widely nominated as it was, and yet played in so few theaters?
A.Don’t forget this is a long time ago, and I wasn’t very au fait with everything that was going on in any way. But apparently the guy who put up the bread, the money, I think he was a supermarket builder or something. [Melvin Simon, the producer, was a shopping mall developer.] He had bought the script and the entire idea on the fact that it was an art film, and it made sense on his balance books to lose money. I think eventually it crept into 11 cinemas, which is a bit shameful. [After a successful test run for “The Stunt Man” in Seattle, 20th Century Fox picked up distribution rights for the film but ordered only about 300 prints.]
Q.Was it disappointing to have put in so much effort into something that was not seen by a large number of viewers, or is that just the way it goes sometimes?
A.It’s almost the nature of my line of work. [chuckles] I began in the theater, don’t forget. I was with the Classical Repertory Company, the Bristol Old Vic, and we did 12 plays a year. Over a period of four years you can imagine the number of times one had the highest hopes [laughs] and you find you’re playing to – as the old actors used to say – Mr. and Mrs. Wood. Which meant nobody was in the audience but the seats. I’m used to it, but it was a disappointment.
For more on O’Toole check out Gay Talese’s 1963 Esquire profile, “Peter O’Toole on the Ould Sod.”