By Walter Wanger
Cleopatra confronted numerous difficulties in the course of its filming and construction: passionate casting disputes, damaged contracts, a expensive re-location from London to Rome, an emergency tracheotomy for its celebrity, Elizabeth Taylor, scandal-ridden gossip surrounding relationships on set, and the cheap of $2 million that ballooned to ultimate bills of $44 million. Legendary manufacturer Walter Wanger remembers the drama that happened either off and on the set, together with the magnificent hindrances he needed to conquer and the excitement of manufacturing a cinematic triumph. A revealing tale approximately Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s tempestuous romance and an insightful filmmaker’s magazine, now again in print for the fiftieth anniversary of Cleopatra’s free up, My lifestyles with Cleopatra shares the genuine tale of the connection and picture that enthralled the world.
“I were instructed by means of dependable reporters that there has been extra global curiosity in Cleopatra, which I produced, and in its stars—Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison—than in any occasion of 1962.” —Walter Wanger
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Extra info for My Life with Cleopatra: The Making of a Hollywood Classic
You always know where you stand with her. There are no games to play, no hedging, no subterfuge. She speaks directly and in a vocabulary that allows no confusion as to meaning. People have asked me why studios tolerate the special problems that arise through dealing with such special people. The answer to that was best expressed by director Billy Wilder. After finishing a Marilyn Monroe picture that was plagued by Marilyn’s illnesses and lateness, he said, “I have a healthy aunt in Vienna who would come on set on time, know her lines, and always be ready.
She’s excited about the picture, enthusiastic that Oliver Messel will probably do her costumes. Had a painting of his on the wall, which she bought in London last year. She complained bitterly about the climate in New York. It occurred to me that if she is miserable and sick here, how will she be in England? DECEMBER 8, 1959 Adler and Skouras back from Europe. Buddy flew from New York to Hollywood with me and told me of his “Christmas surprise” for me—he’s bought an Italian version of Cleopatra, made by a producer named Lionello Santi, to keep it off the market.
The ideal box-office team, according to them, would be Cary Grant as Caesar, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, and Burt Lancaster as Mark Antony. Other actors submitted by casting for Caesar are Sir John Gielgud, Yul Brynner, and Curt Jurgens. For Cleopatra, they have listed Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Jones, Kim Novak, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, and Susan Hayward. Some contract actresses being recommended seriously are Joan Collins, Dolores Michaels, Millie Perkins, Barbara Steele, and Suzy Parker.