“I started crying and told them I couldn’t go to the jungle with her. “He bit me on the arm!” I can not do it!'”. The scene looks like something out of a comedy, but it happened in real life, with michael douglas as the protagonist and directors of 20th Century Fox as part of a disbelieving and surprised audience.
This meeting took place in the early 1980s. At that time, the actor agreed to participate in the new project of Robert Zemekis, the film after the lost emerald. The film follows the journey of romantic novelist Joan Wilder through the Colombian jungle as she searches for her kidnapped sister and a precious treasure with the help of bird catcher Jack Colton. Douglas would step into Colton’s shoes, but it had to be decided who would be the female lead.
The first candidate was Debra Wingerwho had just become one of the most successful young actresses after her starring role in challenge to fatealongside Richard Gere. However, apparently a bite left her out of the project.
As Douglas told Rob Lowe on his Literally! podcast, he, the actress, and the director went to dinner to meet and talk about the movie. “We were talking and drinking tequilas. Suddenly, as if someone was giving her a light punch on the arm as a joke, she came over and bit my arm.”.
The bite, apparently, was not “gentle”. “I screamed in pain! She kept looking at me like she was waiting for my reaction to the joke and I thought, ‘This could be tough.’ When I looked, it tore my skin.” The meeting took place in Texas, where the actress was filming the strength of lovewith Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson.
In 2019, the actor had told another story. In an interview with Variety, as we commemorated the film’s 35th anniversary, he said: “We couldn’t get a clear answer as to whether or not Debra was interested in the project. Also, we had been on location in Mexico with Robert and realized that filming was going to be difficult. We needed someone who is one hundred percent committed to playing as a team”.
The role eventually fell to Kathleen Turner and the film, released in March 1884, became a box office success, grossing $115 million worldwide. Plus, it got a sequel. The Jewel of the Nilewith the same head pair.
Possessing a magnetism and a scenic mastery that made him a coveted figure in 80s and 90s cinema, no one dared doubt his talent, but his name was starting to ring strong, too, for his notorious feuds with his co-stars.
Her rivalry with Richard Gere while filming challenge to fate it was more than noisy. In real life, they couldn’t stand each other: the actor didn’t tolerate his partner’s attitude and the actress compared her to “a brick wall”. Of him I would say:I hated every minute of shooting. When they see me shaking in love scenes, I don’t do it out of passion but out of hate”. During this experience, the actress also expressed her displeasure with the film’s director, Taylor Hackford, and with the experience itself.
“The way forward is to do things that keep you cool and show business made it hard for me. It was a world I didn’t believe in,” he said in an interview, in which he remember when Paramount producer Don Simpson gave her an envelope with pills to remove fluids, arguing that she came out ‘bloated on camera’ during filming. The actress replied bluntly, “I can’t say what I said to her because it sounds too ugly, but I think in those times, either you grow up or they tear you down.” I don’t know if I grew up there, but I didn’t collapse either. I had to fight a lot, but I knew what was wrong, I knew it wasn’t about my face or someone was controlling my life,” he pointed out.
In the strength of loveIt wasn’t a secret either. arguments between Debra and MacLaine. They used to argue frequently between takes and the actress from bachelor pad He would later state that he hated his co-star’s “erratic” behavior and some rude jokes he allegedly made on set. Asked about such statements, Winger said in an interview, “No blood was shed, but there were some questions. We were both wild and willful.”
The interpreter carefully studied the scripts with a requirement that she claimed for others. “A lot of hurtful things were said about me, but I wanted people to honor my process and everyone to be as excited about the work as I was. It was very childish. When I think of the relationships that have soured , it is because of this intensity. I had not learned to respect the method of others and I thought that we all had to work in the same way”, he would later write in his memoirs.
After three Oscar nominations and with studios still battling for her presence, Winger decided to walk out, questioning both commercial cinema and the place the industry gave to women on screen.