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Written by / 3/01/2010 / No comments / , , , ,

NATHAN GEORGE ("SHORT EYES")

Nathan George, an energetic, talented African-American actor, appeared in a handful of films in the 1970s, all of them intense, timeless classics including SERPICO (as a bad cop); SHORT EYES (as a tough, wily convict) and the Oscar winning ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST...

When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor?

Right after I got out of the military, and something went off in my head where I knew I could do this.

What were some of the most memorable experiences working with Al Pacino in the film “Serpico”?

Well, Al and I would have lunch every day, but that all changed after the scene where I threw him up against the locker. He really took exception to that, and wanted us to do it over. But Sidney Lumet thought it looked real, so it stayed. The friendship was pretty much over after that.

How were you cast for “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” as one of the assistants under the Head Nurse?

Michael Douglas (producer) saw me in a play in NYC, and thought I would be right for the movie. Also, Milos [Foreman] really liked rehearsing. We rehearsed for that film for months.

Was there any adlibbing during the pool scene?

Jack [Nicholson] and I worked on it a little bit, but that scene was acted as written. It was a tense scene, but it called for a lot of emotion.

Any other memories working with Jack "R.P. McMurphy" Nicholson?

Jack was a real ham; he really liked the camera. Whereas most everyone else involved in that film, was theater-based...including myself. I wasn't as aware of the camera, as Jack was.

Was the climax as intense as it looked?

Yes, incredibly. However we did numerous takes, so it loses intensity as you play it out over and over again.

Where was “Short Eyes” filmed?

Shot at the Tombs, which was a rundown prison in NYC.

Who was the toughest con in the prison?

Well, I think Ice is up there on the top, but I'm a bit partial.

Any memories of the climactic scene of “Short Eyes”?

Robert (Young) the director was going to throw Bruce Davison down the table, and they were having trouble setting up the shot. It was my idea to have the DP put the camera on a blanket, and pull it down the table. They used it... and it worked.

NATHAN GEORGE INTERVIEW BY JAMES M. TATE
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