Luckily I’ve never felt embarrassed shooting love scenes, but when I started improvising and humping Jimmy’s leg the director shouted cut almost immediately and it never made the final edit. Sadly the carrot scene went as well, but Mr Ed the talking horse told me it moved him to tears. Some say Harvey was my finest performance, and sweating away in the costume I have to say I really felt I got under the skin of that character.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Edward G. Robinson. It was either a Monday or a Thursday, probably in the 1930s but it could’ve been the ‘40s, and I was wearing my lucky bow tie. I tell a lie, it was Jimmy Stewart, the year was 1950, and I was dressed in a bunny costume for my lead role in Harvey.
Film historians now quite rightly recognise this masterpiece as the Brokeback Mountain of its day, exploring a love that dare not speak its name between a functioning alcoholic and his pet rabbit. Although the script never explicitly mentioned the word ‘bestiality’ I was in no doubt at all about the importance of the issue we were exploring and it had Oscars written all over it.
It was Jimmy’s idea to have my name removed from both the title sequence and the end credits to help the audience believe that Harvey was indeed a real rabbit, and to this day people are surprised to find out it was me! I did develop a severe addiction to lettuce which led to years of electric shock therapy, but that’s another story…
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