SS: What was it like making A Clockwork Orange for director Stanley Kubrick?
AC: He's A tough guy to work with. It's good working with him, because you know
that visually the film is going to be good, I had also read the book and had
never understood why it hadn't been made into a film. Then I discovered that
Stanley had bought it years before and nobody wanted to touch it. Stanley entered into a deal with Warner Bros. that he would do two films for
them, and one had to be ACO. Stanley can be difficult - especially difficult, I
think, for women. He's not entirely sympathetic. His original idea for casting
that film called for an actress to go into an empty office, take their clothes
off, and do a photograph. And they would be taped. I told him to go stuff it.
"Goodbye, Stanley, I'm not doing those kinds of interviews!" And they
would have been [video] taped, so I said, no thank you, Iím not having this
going around Wardour Street, and I said to hell with it.
I was off doing a play at Greenwich and Stanley did not like the lady who was eventually cast. After two days, the poor lady was in hospital! That (rape) scene was tough to do. I'm an ex-dancer, so I'm fairly strong. Stanley sent for me and I said, "Fine." I got a few remarks like, "Suppose we don't like her tits?" So I said, "Then you pay me and you send me back, Stanley, but you pay me." And that's it, you see. One has to be very tough with Stanley. He appreciated it. I also used to get his name wrong-I called him Sidney. That used to drive him mad. It's very good for directors-keeps them in their place.
Again, one wanted to get the theme right. We all sat around and worked on it for about ten days, actually, before we shot it. We cut all the dialogue from the scene. We found it worked better. He's very good in that he lets you see the rushes and see the way it's being cut. I liked working with Stanley, he's a curious man.
SS: Obviously, the rape scene is one of the most violent scenes in the entire film.
AC: It looks violent, yes, it was pretty tough to do, I must say.
SS: What are your views on screen violence and nudity?
AC: Stanley withdrew it for a time (Kubrick banned the film in the UK during his lifetime - A), because he felt he hadn't succeeded. It's really an anti-violence film, but rather like trying to make an anti-war film, it turned out glamorous. The violence turned glamorous. Stanley was very alarmed by that; he withdrew it. It was meant to be the other side of the coin to 2001-the black side of the future. Stanley said to Malcolm McDowell, "Do you know any songs?" Malcolm said, "Well I only know one," and went right into "Singin' In The Rain." One of Stanley's rather black remarks while we were doing that scene was, "You're playing the Debbie Reynolds part, Adrienne." I said, "Thanks." But he said in the beginning, "We don't want to do a Pekinpah"-and when you think about that movie, you see no blood at all. The violence is really in your own head. It's suggested. The only blood drawn in A Clockwork Orange is a scratch across the back of one of the actors' hands (Dim, in the lake - A.). The rape scene is frightening because of what you don't see. We choreographed it like a dance scene. We really tried to leave it to the audience, and people think they saw a great deal more than they actually did. I thought it was very well done.
© 1990 unknown (was sent to me)
Archived 1997-08 by Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net