HOLLYWOOD- Sir Edwin Fluffer once again delves into his personal memoirs – soon to be published as ‘Not THAT Kind of Fluffer!!!’ – to recall Jessica Tandy.
As a movie actor you soon realise that the best pal you can have in this business is the cameraman. Be friendly to him as he’s the fellow who’ll make you look a million dollars up there on the big screen. Get caught chatting up his wife and he’ll make you look like the geriatric drunk you are as I found out to my cost quite recently on The Queen’s Screech.
Don’t bother watching that one. No, my favourite cameraman was always John Rutland. Dietrich called him Mr Beady Eye because she once caught him peering through the keyhole of her dressing room door.
Darling Johnny was a Brit like me, so I always felt we had a connection. I was one of the few people he trusted to return his library books. He’d asked Veronica Lake to do it once but she forgot leaving Johnny with a $2 fine.
One of the greatest pictures we worked on together was X Marks The Spot, in which I played a treasure hunting plastic surgeon. In many ways it was ahead of its time, and audiences weren’t really prepared for the sight of me performing rhinoplasty on a young Jessica Tandy while solving the riddle of the sphinx, but thanks to John you’d never know the underwater scenes were actually shot in the local aquarium.
In those days Jessica still looked so young that she got student discount on her entry ticket. I was told that Brando desperately wanted to play the great white shark, but he couldn’t fit into the costume. Johnny knew that I couldn’t swim so having us play the underwater scenes in front of the tanks saved me a great deal of embarrassment.
I couldn’t thank Johnny enough so I kept the Rolex I’d bought him and sent a fruit basket instead. At his funeral service I placed a grapefruit on his coffin in tribute without realising that it was actually a rare citrus allergy that killed him. His family were furious but Art Carney couldn’t stop laughing! I still remember the time that the three of us challenged The Three Stooges to a game of naked table tennis.
But that’s another story…
The ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ sex scene.
The Oscar winning feel good film might not be regarded as quite the family favourite if Beresford had not been forced to cut a love scene between Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy.
“ We spent three days filming that scene” said a reflective Beresford.
“ It was all tastefully shot and although you saw Morgan’s erect penis briefly the studios main objection was Tandy’s lack of pubic hair. They said a 70 year old church going woman would have a thick, matted bush and a shaven crotch suggested she was a bit slutty which wasn’t in keeping with the character. Jessica offered to grow it out so we could re-shoot but we ran out of time.
The ‘Batteries not Included’ crack scene.
The tale of miniature aliens who visit the residents of an apartment block on the verge of demolition was, according to co-writer Brad Bird, originally much darker in tone.
“ In my first draft Tandy’s character was a crack addict and I wrote this great scene in which her character lights up a rock to the sound of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. The little aliens got a little high off the fumes and started fighting with each other and when she realised her addiction had caused the violence, she decides to quit.”
Bird said he really fought for the scene but executive producer Steven Spielberg insisted it was cut.
“ Steven had a no drugs policy back then” said Bird. “ Which is weird considering 1941 was obviously made by someone who heavily abusing all manner of substances.”
The ‘Cocoon’ orgy scene.
Back in 1989 Jack Nicholson said to New York post Journalist Ron Barba that he was on his way home to “ Do a couple of lines and watch the Cocoon Orgy scene.”. Barba assumed it was just another Nicholson joke but years later when he told the story to Cocoon director Ron Howard, he was amazed by his response.
“ Well actually we did film an orgy scene.” said a confessional Howard.
“ It took place in the swimming pool after the old people had been bathing. It was Don Ameche’s idea I think he had the hots for Jessica. Anyway everyone agreed it was a good idea and so I rolled the camera and let nature take it’s course. The studio didn’t go for it but someone leaked the raw footage and I guess Nicholson got a copy. Though I did hear that Warren Beatty has been playing it on a loop in his living room for the last 27 years.