CHARLTON HESTON, star of TOUCH OF EVIL and a longtime champion of ORSON WELLES, has passed away
Rare behind the scenes shot of Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and camera operator Philip Lathrop during the shooting of Touch of Evil.
Actor Charlton Heston has died, at age 84, in his home in Beverly Hills. The heroic actor won many honors in his long and prolific career, but for Wellesnet readers, perhaps his greatest claim to fame is stepping up and asking that Orson Welles be given the directorial reigns for Touch of Evil.
As we now know, Universal executives complied almost instantly, and the result was to be Orson Welles last film made with the technical resources of a major Hollywood studio at his command.
Unfortunately, Heston and Welles were only to make that one film classic. Afterwards, despite their having established a great working rapport and their both having high hopes for a continuing partnership, it was not destined to be. Welles asked Heston to appear in his version of Don Quixote, and Heston later asked Welles to direct a film version of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, but neither of these collaborations were realized.
Welles and Heston also wanted to collaborate on a science fiction film based on the novel "Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart, but could not get the funding.
However, over the years they remained good friends and it was undoubtedly Charlton Heston's role as chairman of the American Film Institute, that led to Orson Welles becoming only the third person to receive the AFI's life achievement award in 1975.
Since Charlton Heston's many other great roles as an actor will be celebrated and easy to access elsewhere, we elect to focus on Heston's commitment to the genius of Orson Welles, by reprinting these very interesting pages from his published journals, which indicate the depth of his respect for Orson Welles.
In late December of 1956, Universal pictures sent Charlton Heston a script for consideration by Paul Monash, based on the novel BADGE OF EVIL by Whit Masterson. After reading the script, Heston phoned Universal to find out who would be directing. Universal explained that no director had been set, but that Orson Welles was signed to play the corrupt police Captain, Hank Quinlan. Heston suggested that Welles would be a good choice to direct the film as well, and indicated he would certainly agree to make it, if Welles was at the helm.
Jan 1, 1957 St. Helen, Michigan: It's pleasant to have some space and time to read scripts. So far the Universal thing, BADGE OF EVIL seems the best but who directs?
Jan 2: My next movie prospect is still uncertain. I don't like LABYRINTH or JANE EYRE enough to do them. No word from Universal about Welles directing as well as acting in their piece.
Jan 3: I read and turned down a Robert Montgomery TV show that would have netted me a lot of dough: this gave my sense of ethics and integrity enough food to allow me to phone my agent, Herman Citron and urge him to push Universal on the picture with Welles. It's only a police-suspense story, like the ones they've been doing for thirty-some years, but I think with Welles it might have a chance to be something.
Jan 4: Citron says Universal agrees with my suggestion and has offered the directing job to Welles. If he accepts, I'll do the film for seven and a half percent of the gross. This seems fine to me, though I'd be glad of a little cash in the meantime. Now we have to see if Orson wants to get back in the swim again. I hope he does… he seems to me one of film's few geniuses, and I'd like to work with him.
Jan 8: Citron called to tell me Universal had accepted our gross deal and closed with Welles. I'm really pleased about this. I think we have a chance at a better picture than almost any I could make now. I'm bound to learn a great deal from Welles, in any case. I think he has what I need now.
Jan 14 Los Angeles: I arrived on time, but the day as usual, wasn't nearly long enough for all the stuff I had to do in it. The main stuff, of course, was meeting Welles. He seems to be all he's said to be, which is a good deal. In five days on the pictures he's rewritten the script. Almost all of it's different, and almost all of it's better. There's a lot to do, still, but he might bring it off.
Jan 21: I woke a little late and reread Orson's rewrite of TOUCH OF EVIL. It now lacks only good dialogue to make it a really meritable script. The makeup test was a great success. Bud Westmore made me look so acceptably Mexican they're cutting the covering lines about my not being Mexican. Orson thinks a moustache is in order; if I start today I can just make it. We also had a Mexican tailor begin work on a suit, which will help.
Jan 22: I picked up the finished script, Orson's second draft, on TOUCH OF EVIL and found it a great improvement over what we began with.
Jan 26: I spent the greater part of the day at Universal, sitting in while Orson cut twenty-five pages out of his script. Al Zugsmith's party for Welles tonight was interesting. We drove Orson, who proved a superb talker. We got into a provocative argument over viewing rushes, which bodes well, I think… I like to work with directors I can argue with.
Feb 4: Today was spent in plumbing Orson, trying to find out where we are, exactly. I didn't. Janet Leigh, it turns out, has a broken arm, but they're unwilling, or unable, to recast the part, so she will play it. Joseph Calleia will do the part of Miller (Menzies in the finished film); offbeat casting, but not bad.
Feb 8: There is a stirring of unrest out at Universal about the way Orson's going about the film. They seem to fear what I hope: that he'll make an offbeat film out of what they'd planned as a predictable little programmer. They're bitching about budget and schedule and a dozen other things, but Orson is holding firm.
Feb 10: Rehearsal again at Orson's House. I still don't have a clear idea of the hole I should cut in the air with this man, but the scenes themselves are rounding out. I'm shying away from a specifically Latin characterization: I know that I have to go further than I am now with it. Fortunately, I think we can bully them out of some more rehearsal time, perhaps till Friday.
Feb 13: We dyed my moustache black; it's better and so is the script. Orson's ability to improve on a routine piece of screenwriting is amazing. As I suspected in the beginning, I'm likely to learn a good deal here.
Feb 15: Orson was ill yesterday and rehearsals were under way again today, both shaky but undaunted; we’re still rehearsing unofficially at his house. It's difficult to get beyond a certain point without sets, but he's resourceful at providing actors with problems to solve. I still don't feel I've done anything at all toward making this cop Mexican but I will. I tend to work shallowly at this stage, too often.
February 18, 1957 - The first day of shooting on Touch of Evil: Orson Welles, Victor Milian, Joseph Calleia and Charlton Heston face off in the very long take in Sanchez' apartment. At 7:40 pm Welles announces, " Okay, print it. We're two days ahead of schedule."
Feb 18: First day of shooting. Well, we began shooting with a drama I've no doubt Orson planned. We rehearsed all day, lining up a dolly shot covering the entire first scene in Sanchez's apartment. We never turned a camera all morning or all afternoon, the studio brass gathering in the shadows in anxious little knots. By the time we began filming at a quarter to six, I know they'd written off the whole day. At 7:40, Orson said, "Okay, print. That's a wrap on this set. We're two days ahead of schedule." Twelve pages in one take, including inserts, two-shots, over-shoulders; the whole scene in one, moving through three rooms, with seven speaking parts.
Feb 20: We didn't perform quite as spectacularly today, out in the back lot, but the shots were interesting all the same. We shot in moving cars all day, using a 18mm lens Orson claims has been perfected for two years, but avoided almost universally. It certainly saves you from those deadly process scenes in mock-up cars.
Feb 27: I had the morning free while they finished murdering Akim Tamiroff, allowing me to get in a little tennis (welcome) and paper work (necessary). After lunch I persuaded Dennis Weaver to play the motel night clerk and saw the stuff we did yesterday, while I waited to shoot. I swear some of (cameraman) Russ Metty's shots look like Cartier-Bresson stills.
March 7: I didn't work again till the very end of the day, but I saw two or three reels of rough-cut footage. Even misedited (Orson fired his cutter today) it looked special. We also acquired another classy bit player: Marlene Dietrich. I really think this one's going to go; it all looks better and better…and it started with a bright idea up in the snow in St. Helen.
March 12 Venice: The shooting tonight with Dietrich was quite a thing, even though Orson greedily refused to write me into any of the bits he made with her. She looked fantastic. A gypsy makeup, with a cast-off black wig of Taylor's from MGM, in which Elizabeth never looked so good, and oddments of costume from every studio in town. The only sexy grandmother I know. I only did one scene with Janet at five of an icy morning, but it was worth it to be around.
After Heston finds the empty shoe box in Sanchez apartment he confronts Welles, telling him: "You framed that boy. Framed him!'
March 13: Out to Universal for dailies… the burning car stuff…excellent; and Marlene's stuff, silent. Tonight in a scene with Janet, Orson got me to use a kind of adolescent diffidence. Sort of the manner Cooper has in scenes with women. I think he's right; if I got it right.
March 14: Slept late and satisfied and woke to play a little tennis, but no dailies. The main setup tonight was the damnedest shot I've ever seen, and that includes our first day's work. After Joe Cotten had finished his cameo scene, we started working on the opening shot of the film: a complicated setup with the Chapman boom moving three blocks, angling down over buildings to inserts, through two pages of dialogue to a car blowing up as I kiss Janet. The sun came up at six and wrapped our night, but I think we got it. To bed at seven, feeling great.
March 18: It poured all night long, but didn't affect us. We moved inside the hotel down in Venice, covering a scene scheduled for a set at the studio, in the DA's office. Orson never liked that set and when the rain-washed out our night exteriors, he grabbed the chance to shoot this moving through the hotel lobby, into the elevator, up two floors, and along the hall, with dialogue all the way. That's a first, for sure. It would be remarkable as a planned and prepared shot; as a rain-cover pickup, it’s really something else.
March 19: We fished up the scenes in the hotel room and the lobby. They tell me you have to come early to get seats at the studio running of our dailies now. If we can just get the title changed now… I'm inclining increasingly toward BORDERLINE.
March 25: The dailies were brief, good shots of me clambering around those derricks. We shot, with immense effort, a scene with Joe Calleia and me checking the bugging equipment. Very proppy and difficult to shoot. At three in the morning, outside his house in the car, Orson and I killed a bottle of brandy and more or less agreed on partnership, which seems a very exciting prospect to me.
March 27: The shooting went swimmingly tonight, and the adjective is thoughtfully chosen. Thank God it was the warmest night we've had because I spent a lot of it treading water across that damn antique travesty of a Venetian canal. Orson also was very excited about a novel he's found to make (EARTH ABIDES).
March 30: I came in after dawn this morning, too full of the exhilaration of work and watching the sun come up to go to sleep. My son took his first steps one year ago today, and I almost feel I'm only beginning to do the same on this film. Orson is certainly the most exciting director I've ever worked with. God…maybe it will all really begin to happen now.
March 31: A lazy, late-sleeping, tennisy Sunday morning, filled with sun and Fray's laughter and hot cakes after four sets. After lunch and the nap this night shooting schedule seems to require, even on a day off, I drove over to Orson's to pick up EARTH ABIDES, the science fiction novel he thinks might do for a film.
April 2: Last day of shooting. We finished work with a final dawn shot, of Orson's death, in an overturned chair on a dump heap, and then had a celebrant drink or two in the trailer. Orson and I took along the last magnum of champagne and found a place still open to give us bacon and eggs to go with it. A hell of a picture to work on… I can't believe it won't be fine. It was wonderful to loaf tonight, all the same. We had steak and saw Orson's LADY FROM SHANGHAI on TV. It's good, but not as good as ours, I think.
April 3: Had a dubious conference on the sales campaign Universal plans for TOUCH OF EVIL. After driving Orson home, I gave him a copy of WASTREL. I read the script again and I still think it's damn good.
April 4: Herman Citron seemed enthusiastic about the Welles partnership: Orson was enthusiastic about WASTREL. I wasn't enthusiastic about WRITTEN ON THE WIND tonight. I was right to turn it down.
April 9: Lunch with Herman and Orson, who now feels WASTREL will take too careful a scripting job to have ready by summer, so he want to go ahead on the science fiction thing or something else first. I'm disappointed, but willing to play it his way. I still think this road is right for me.
April 12: At lunch Orson expounded the reasons why he feels WASTREL ought not be the first project we do.
April 14: Orson sent over LORD JIM and THE SINGER NOT THE SONG, but I didn't crack either one.
April 15: Orson thinks we might be well advised to find something to do at Universal, to fill the gap till we can get a script on WASTREL.
April 29: Herman has many misgivings about the Welles partnership, but I still think he's wrong. I'm fully aware of Orson's chameleon nature, but I'm more aware of his talents, and anxious to use them.
June 6: Orson's off to New York to do the Steve Allen Show, so he can hardly have anything started before I'm finished with THE ANDERSON COURT MARTIAL show for CBS.
June 17: I very nearly finished my dubbing on TOUCH OF EVIL with a long session today. Orson continues to amaze me with the ideas he has. He created a climax for me in the bar scene that wasn't in the printed footage, simply having me dub one speech in four little pieces. Whatever happens, I am in his debt.
June 28: My work at Universal consisted merely of a few off screen lines for Joe Cotten's benefit, but it was nice to be in on the windup of shooting. At lunch Orson advanced still another idea…a tele-film of DON QUIXOTE, with me as the eccentric Don. What, if anything will come of this, I can't imagine. Orson's argument is original and telling however. "All great actors," he says, "are character actors."
July 16 New York: I knew it: Just as soon as I committed to Wyler's film (THE BIG COUNTRY), Orson called in great excitement. I must come down to Mexico, immediately, to star in a tele-film of the second part of DON QUIXOTE, for God's sake! We are to make it in six shooting days and I'm somehow to get out to the Coast in time to do my fittings for both projects before the end of this week. It's too tough to bring off; yet I can't turn it down.
July 17: I spent the day trying various plans on for size, trying to get us to Detroit and me on to the Coast. Citron thinks the whole thing is madness, and so do I, really. But Orson is impossible to resist, especially with a part like this. I can manage it, driving all the way to Detroit tomorrow and cramming in all my meeting with Wyler on Friday and Saturday. What a ridiculous way to make a living!
July 19: Los Angeles: Orson hasn't left for Mexico yet, and I was able to get him on the phone, but not able to get much out of him about DON QUIXOTE. The only reason to do it is for fun, anyway.
July 22: St. Helen, Michigan: Today flung the fat in the fire for fair, as far as DON QUIXOTE is concerned. After all the frantic gut-busting we've gone through, the elaborate device Orson had worked out whereby we'd enter on tourist permits and then pay a fine to make the film, kicked back in our faces. The bureaucratic machinery wouldn't have gotten me my passport back in time to leave Mexico Monday for THE BIG COUNTRY location. I felt bad about it, but Orson doubtless felt worse.
Sept 19 Los Angeles: They got to me today for THE BIG COUNTRY interiors. I was unable to contact Orson, before the wrap today.
Sept 20: Willy Wyler gave me a long lunch hour to talk thing over with Orson, who is a full of nineteen enthusiasms as ever.
Oct 22: Talked to Orson; he says he's turned down the Mexican film MGM wanted us to do. I'm relieved, frankly.
Nov 4: Ran two related films today: PATHS OF GLORY, which I turned down partly to do the other: TOUCH OF EVIL. I think Kubrick's film is smoother and has many fine things, including Kirk's acting. TOUCH OF EVIL, on the other hand, has flaws. Unscored, undubbed, it seemed uneven in tempo and unclear in the opening sequences. Universal feels a day or so of additional shooting is necessary to clarify some ambiguities. Maybe so. There are truly marvelous things in the film. Orson's enormous talent is evident throughout.
Nov 5: I spent the day in an unsuccessful attempt to get together with Orson about the added scenes they want to do on TOUCH OF EVIL at Universal. He was shooting, and unavailable…or more unavailable than usual. I don't quite know what to do with this situation. I feel I have a moral obligation to Orson, but a smaller one to Universal as well. I don't want to shoot the stuff without him, but what the hell…something has to be done. You can't just sulk in your tent, like Achilles.
Nov 7: I finally got together with Orson; he claims he's eager to do any retakes they want, and do them free as well. This settles it for me. If he doesn't do it, I don't.
Nov 11: This problem of the Universal retakes is getting more and more complicated. It becomes obvious now that they really don't want Orson to do the work, for whatever reason. Partly, I think, because of the overage on the budget, and partly because they don't like the way he made the film, I suppose. (TOUCH OF EVIL was budgeted at $880,000. and came in at $1,040,000.).
Nov 12: Had a long do with Herman about the Welles retakes this morning. My ethical position still bothers me terribly, in the face of what is now Universal's apparently implacable determination that Orson will not direct them. It turns out that, legally, I have to do them in any case. That may get me out of a horny dilemma, but it doesn't satisfy me.
Nov 16 (Saturday): I played tennis this morning and reluctantly told MCA (Heston's talent agency) that I'd answer the Universal call for retakes on Monday.
Nov 17 (Sunday): Today, very tardily, I reached an important, expensive, but basically correct decision, I think. After a long phone talk with Herman, I agreed, despite a deep moral ache, to go ahead tomorrow with the re-takes, after again failing to reach Orson by phone. At that point, a messenger brought a letter from Orson:
I want you to read this before we talk—there are some points that should be made as unemotionally as possible, and I'm afraid I don't quite trust myself to keep the exposition of them as cool and clear as I'd like.
Your telegram has arrived in which you speak of yourself as "legally bound" to the studio. But this is the advice—not of your own lawyer—but "the legal department of MCA."
Even if I were not available, don't you think it would be sweetly reasonable on your part to insist on a certain standard of professional capacity and reputation in the choice of an alternate director?
UNLESS THE STUDIO IS STOPPED THEY ARE GOING TO WRECK OUR PICTURE—AND I MEAN WRECK IT, BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE KIND OF ONE-TWO-THREE, ABC VARIETY OF COMMERCIAL PRODUCT THAT CAN BE SLIGHTLY WRECKED. WITHOUT MY HELP THE RESULT WILL BE VERY MUCH LESS SATISFACTORY THAN THE MOST ORDINARY PROGAM ITEM, THE RESULT WILL NOT SIMPLY BE SOMETHING LESS THAN YOU HOPED. THE RESULT WILL BE GENUINELY BAD.
You must realize that if you have a financial interest in the picture, I have a professional one. If I were now directing another picture—or about to direct one—and if I hadn't been away so long, I might be tempted to write off my own investment as a bad loss. But as things are with me in this industry I simply cannot afford to sustain such a blow.
I'm heartsick at the though of having to involve you. But you really cannot avoid some involvement—now or later.
If you are tempted to think of yourself as the helpless victim of sinister Hollywood forces, over which you have no control, I must tell you that you're wrong. You aren't helpless at all, and it's well within your own power to save much of a rather large investment of time, money and—yes—love.
You can do this by getting a little tough now.
Much love as always,
Orson's letter outlined his position so eloquently it prompted me to do further soul-searching. In the end, I called Citron again and canceled the call for tomorrow's re-takes. I told him to tell the studio I'd reimburse them for all costs they couldn't cancel, due to my late pullout. Tomorrow I see a lawyer, Orson, and the studio brass.
Nov 18: A damn difficult day, on the whole. My lawyer, Meyer told me I had no legal ground to refuse to do the retakes, which is exactly what Citron had said, but I had to be sure. I told Orson this, and that I would make a final appeal to Ed Muhl (Universal's production chief), which I did (and should have done last week). He was pleasant, but adamant. They do not want Orson to do the retakes, though they seem to have only limited criticism of the film itself. So I do them tomorrow. The cost to me of the day's delay will be high, about $8,000. in uncancelable crew calls, mostly…but not as high as the moral cost of finking out.
Nov 19: I have done worse work in the movies than this day of retakes, but I don't remember feeling worse. Harry Keller, who directed, was pleasant enough, but in a hell of a tough position. I was able to talk them out of one change I felt would be a mistake. I can't honestly say the other additions will seriously harm the quality of the film. What it will be, without Orson's cutting, I don't know. What it would've been had he been allowed to cut on it till the end, I won't know either.
Nov 20: Orson sent me this letter regarding work on the re-takes:
The way I hear it, you and Janet are growing more cooperative by the minute. The fact that the dialogue you are speaking is not absolute hogwash—the fact that your director is not, after all, a certifiable incompetent and above everything else, the fact that all this added work is involving a great quantity of close footage on both of you bums—I suppose makes this cheeriness inevitable.
This is to remind you that what is happening over there is still the ruination of our picture. The spoiling process may be a bit less obvious than we expected, but the essential fact remains, and I beg you not to permit the merry stimulation of work to interfere with that air of reticence you had sworn to maintain.
There's this character—(known an loved by all)—he might be called "Cooperative Chuck"… he is not merely well disciplined in his work, but positively eager—even wildly eager—to make things easy for his fellows on the set and for all the executives in their offices… In a word, he's the Eagle Scout of the Screen Actors Guild.
The purpose of the communiqué to beg him to leave his uniform and flag in the dressing room…
There's nothing I can do about meeting the excitations of the close-up lens, but I can implore you to curb your peace-making instincts and to maintain an aloof and non-committal silence. That goes for Janet, too, damn it.
In a word, keep your yap shut.
Dec 3: I had a very satisfactory match at the club, and a less satisfying meeting with Universal on the publicity situation on TOUCH OF EVIL. I get the feeling they're not as high on the film as they should be.
Dec 5: Orson saw a rough cut of TOUCH OF EVIL with the new re-takes directed by Harry Keller inserted. He then wrote a long memo to Ed Muhl outlining all the changes he'd wanted made to the film, sending me a copy as well.
Dec 12: Another letter from Orson has arrived:
I got a wire last night from Muhl stating that (Ernest) Nims (Universal's head of post-production), is working on the 'majority' of the changes requested in my memo, and asking me to turn up on Wednesday for dubbing. What interpretation are we to put on this?
A. They are afraid I won't come for dubbing unless they promise to make the changes.
B. A certain throbbing of war drums has reached their ears at last, and they intend to make a convincing show of cooperating with my suggestions in the hope of spiking my guns, in the event of any future battle.
C. Utter demoralization. Hundreds are being fired from the studio, and the rumors of Muhl's joining them continue to spread. In such an atmosphere of decay and despair, maybe the sheer force of energy—which they now see I am prepared to put into this fight—has awed them into momentary compliance.
D. Another possibility is that the very evident constructive spirit of my memo amounts to a strong weapon which they do not wish to have used against them…
E. The last possibility (and, I think, the least likely!) is that they have all been genuinely converted to the suggestions in the memo and are hastening to put the 'majority' into effect.
Obviously, at this point, our cue is to play it straight. They deserve no thanks for their expressed willingness to follow the main lines of the memo. If, in fact, they do so, it will not constitute a personal favor to me; nothing but the good of the picture has ever been at issue. I shall make my loops and wait and see. It’s up to them. The big question, of course, is just what the 'majority' will really turn out to be. In fact, there were no bargaining points in that memo of mine. It represented my notion of the minimum number of improvements necessary. It's my fear that their execution of these changes will leave something to be desired, since they may be acting without much enthusiasm, but most importantly, because they will be working in great haste.
Dec 18: The dubbing session went very quickly, just to clean up a few odd loops left over on TOUCH OF EVIL. I then saw Orson for lunch. Seems he has managed to make a lot of his points on the editing of the film; also they plan to follow his advice on the re-scoring. He is going to Europe, however, so we'll have to wait.
Jan 31, 1958: We sneaked TOUCH OF EVIL in Pacific Palisades tonight. I'm afraid it's simply not a good picture. It has the brilliance that made each day's rushes look so exciting, of course. Indeed, there's hardly a dull shot in the film. But it doesn't hold together as a story. My only consolation is that I was not wrong about any of the elements as we shot them and looked at them each day... just about the results.
September 26, London: I ran three films today... well, not all of ULYSSES, but enough to see that Barbara Jefford's a fine actress, with perhaps not quite enough sexual charisma (classy syntax for "not sexy enough") to play Cleopatra. On film, anyway. On the other hand, from the Maugham film we saw with Hildegarde Neil, I couldn't tell whether she's quite up to acting Cleopatra, but she seems to have the requisite erotic X. Orson's CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT is remarkable. Peter Snell and I were both knocked out by it, not only as a film, but by Orson's Falstaff... perhaps his best since KANE. He's done an impressive job, making one film out of four of Shakespeare's plays. The battle, grinding down almost to slow motion, is especially good. I think he should direct ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, if he will.
October 1, Los Angeles: Back home, I made a fruitless attempt to reach Orson today. This is the kind of game you have to play with him. He's working, and maybe really couldn't call back; God knows, often I can't. The difference is that with Orson, you always assume his telephone neurosis is responsible, simply because you know it exists.
October 3: I got the ANTONY script to Peter Bogdanovich to give to Orson, since he's likely to see him before I can.
October 5: Orson called to say that he liked the ANTONY script. I'm pleased, but not surprised. (Surprised that he called, of course.) While casting for I AM LEGEND, we saw a number of actresses, one or two actors for Richie and Dutch, and looked at film on others. This is always a hard time for me. I hate to be involved in these readings and interviews. No one remarkable came up today, though one girl is possible.
October 6: I had word that JULIUS CAESAR is doing very well in its first week in Los Angeles. This is very meager evidence, but augurs well. [In the end, it did only moderately.] Our casting on LEGEND proceeds very slowly. Warner's are reluctant to move on Tony Zerbe. I hate to use muscle, but I'm convinced he's the best actor for the part. He is enormously flexible and hasn't been used up in TV. The UCLA seminar on CAESAR went well. Students are easy to talk to, perhaps because they're so used to having it done to them.
October 8: We're not getting very far in our search for the girl in I AM LEGEND. It should be an easy part, requiring only a certain swinging, pert quality, coupled with as much physical attractiveness as possible. So far, we've only come up with two girls that seem close. It's tough, of course. For years, most black actresses have been conditioned to register as ladies. We want a girl for this role, I hope we can find one.
October 10: Orson called again this morning, and I went over to discuss ANTONY with him. He seems most interested in directing it, as indeed he should be. Still, with Orson you never know. He said to me, "Do you have a great Cleopatra?" "We don't have any, yet," I replied. "You direct it and we'll pick an actress and you make her great." "Not with that part, dear boy," Orson rumbled. "Believe me, if you don't find a great Cleopatra, you can't do this play." If he comes to London to test actresses, then I'll believe he wants to do it. I hope he does. He could make it the kind of picture it deserves to be.
October 19: Still nothing from Orson. We read an actress for LEGEND (Judy Pace) today who seemed very good; the first one to come on with the flip kind of thing we want for the part, and the first one with anything like a string of professional credits behind her. We'll look at film on her tomorrow, but this seems the best bet we've had so far. I've screwed myself up next week on my trips. I'm committed to go to Chicago for SAG on November 1, and there may be no time to do that between New York and London. If I could contact Orson, I'd know a little better what the hell is going to work there.
October 20: Orson finally called, he won't be free for ANTONY. This is either true, or he doesn't want to do it. In any case, we won't have him. I've now come to feel the best course is to direct it myself. None of the two or three men who could really do it can (or will). If there is a film in the world I can direct, it’s this one.
Finally, here is an article quoting Mr. Heston 40 years later, and still championing Welles cut of Touch of Evil!
In it, Heston points out the obvious, that Beatrice Welles had no legal or moral rights in attempting to stop Universal's re-edit of Touch of Evil from being shown:
CHARLTON HESTON BLASTS BEATRICE WELLES OVER RESTORED TOUCH OF EVIL
Sunday, August 30, 1998
Charlton Heston once fought to get Orson Welles the job of directing Universal's 1958 "Touch of Evil." But now Welles' daughter, Beatrice, is fighting the studio's re-release of the vintage thriller and Heston thinks she should butt out .
"Ms. Welles is making as much trouble as she can," Heston tells us. "Beatrice does not have a foot to stand on. This is all about money."
Next month, Universal and October Films plan to release the noir masterpiece, which was snatched from Welles during editing. Sorry for past sins, the studio is trumpeting the film as meticulously restored — based on a 58-page memo that Welles sent the studio and Heston.
But Beatrice Welles, executor of her father's estate, wants no part of it. "She was never consulted," says estate rep Thomas A. White. "This is no artistic homage. Universal just wants to make more money from their film library."
Beatrice Welles was victorious last spring when her threat of a lawsuit prompted the Cannes Film Festival to cancel Universal's gala "Touch" premiere, where Heston and his co-star, Janet Leigh, were to appear.
And Beatrice Welles isn't through. Her lawyers argue that the 58-page memo is the estate's property. They demand that Beatrice Welles see all the raw footage that Universal used for the re-edit. Otherwise, the lawyers say, they'll sue Universal as soon as the film opens.
"That's troublemaking," says Heston, who is committed to touting the re-release. "Beatrice Welles is not a film maker. She's not qualified.
"Universal didn't consult me, or Janet," adds Heston, who echoes the studio's line. "Why should they? We were all working for salary. If you don't have a share of the picture, you have no control over it.
"I imagine if Universal would offer Beatrice $35,000, she would walk away. They are not inclined to, nor should they."
Beatrice Welles' lawyer, Steven Ames Brown, calls Heston "a presumptuous twit. If this is about money, how come we haven't made any money demands? The studio already offered her $35,000 and we told them to go to hell."
Heston suggests that this mess wouldn't have happened "if Orson hadn't disappeared in Mexico after turning in his first cut."
Says Beatrice Welles' lawyer: "Bashing the family of Orson Welles must be the first sign of senility. Charlton Heston believes in artists' rights as long as they don't interfere with him being in the limelight. He lost out on a trip to France at the studio's expense. He should get over it."