On the recently released DVD of The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1954), there's an audio interview of Dan O'Herlihy who played the title role, and who also had played Macduff in Welles's film and stage production of Macbeth. During the DVD interview I was surprised to hear O'Herlihy discuss at length his relationship with Welles. Didn't learn any revelations, but it's always fun to hear anecdotal stuff about the life of Welles. I'll summarize some of the more interesting things he had to say:
- As with a lot of people who worked under Welles, O'Herlihy said he had tremendous respect for Welles. He said he had more fun working with Welles than with any other director. He said that during the making of Macbeth Welles roared with laughter all the time, like everything was a big joke.
- O'Herlihy said that in some of the scenes in Macbeth, the camera was being wheeled around in a baby buggy(!)
- During the making of Macbeth, Welles showed O'Herlihy a preview of one of the scenes and asked for his opinion. The scene showed Welles as Macbeth standing against the horizon, and the lighting caused his shadow to be cast against the artificial sky. O'Herlihy told Welles that he thought a little surrealism would be fine in the movie, but Macbeth's shadow being cast against the "sky" was too much. Welles snapped back, "You're too conventional!"
- Near this time Welles spotted O'Herlihy eating strawberry shortcake which Welles snatched away from him and tossed out. Welles scolded O'Herlihy and told him that strawberry shortcake was not good for him, and that he had to stay slender to make it in the acting business. O'Herlihy had already witnessed Welles consuming a few helpings of strawberry shortcake himself, so O'Herlihy told Welles he'd promise never to touch the stuff again if Welles also agreed to give it up himself. Welles grudgingly agreed. O'Herlihy then does not see Welles for 20+ years until they finally work together again on the film Waterloo in 1970. By this time Welles is quite huge, and when Welles first saw O'Herlihy on the set he pretended not to recognize him. (O'Herlihy said that Welles often liked to "test" people.) To break the ice, O'Herlihy told Welles "I thought you promised never to have strawberry shortcake again?" Welles snapped back at O'Herlihy, "You dirty, son of a bitch!"
- O'Herlihy also reconfirmed that Welles never lost any of his skills. He said he met Welles late in his life and he said that Welles was as bright, intelligent, and imaginative as he ever was.