Did you hear him say on NPR that he has been approached to play Don Quixote in a film? I did, and I thought: I have to post about him. There is some information on the Net about Terry Gilliam's rekindled film project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which will also star Ewan McGregor, apparently, as Sancho Panza. According to that embedded site, Duvall wanted someone like Danny DeVito in that role - hello! But they need big names to sell movies these days. Danny DeVito would get me to watch. Well I would already watch because of Duvall. I like McGregor (OK, love), but Sancho Panza?
"I Love to Tell the Story," which is sung by Emmylou Harris and Duvall himself. When Duvall-as-Pastor-Sonny preached, he was my dad (except for the Pentecostal part; my dad was not a "holy roller"). They even look alike with their balding heads and heart-melting smiles. I want to tell him how his acting affected me and rang like the truest church bell. To me, he is like my dad's ideal self, although Pastor Sonny has some serious flaws. Maybe being flawed and forgiving is ideal, somehow. Another strange connection is that his mother's maiden name was Hart, my maiden name, and she was from Virginia, like my dad.
Which leads me to the other (pin-) cushion hidden under the chaise lounge in my heart, the cushion with pokey down feathers sticking out the wrong way. I came this close to humiliating myself forever, with Robert Duvall. Oh the pain! I would have needed to be cleansed of my sin in the river of forgiveness.
One of our film students in the English department knew someone working on the set of Open Range in
Twilight Zone episode in 1963.) I got my Roberts mixed up, and in the foggy zone of my head, Duvall transformed into De Niro. The call had been arranged for a couple of days, and I knew very well who this Robert Du- was. I've always liked him, he's tops, the best! But the entire phone call, through which I was mercifully silent, I was picturing him in Raging Bull, and between student questions and comments, I kept almost blurting something out about his performance. I never got the chance, or courage, thank God. After the call ended, and the students floated in starstruck bliss out of the dark old English department hallway, I began to realize my mistake, with horror. If I had been rational, I could have told him how I felt about Pastor Sonny Dewey, him as my dad! It would have been a seminal moment in his career, right up there with his Oscar and Emmys, to hear from a preacher's kid that he had got Pastor Sonny absolutely right!
But all I could do was thank my cowboy guardian angel for lassoing my mouth shut and not letting these words out of my beak: "You really epitomized method acting when you gained an extra 30 pounds as Jake La Motta . . . "
Autographed photo of Duvall found here.
Photo of Duvall as Boo Radley found here.
Photo of Duvall in the water as The Apostle found here.
Image of Duvall and Costner found here.
Photos of Annette Bening as Sue Barlow and Dean McDermott as Doc Barlow, and Costner behind camera found here.
Michael Gambon photo found here.
Photo of Robert De Niro as Raging Bull found here.
Disney poster found here.