Although Kirk Douglas and John Wayne starred in the classic films “Harm’s Way,” “Cast A Giant Shadow,” and “The War Wagon” together, there was a time when the duo did not see eye to eye with each other.
According to Express, John Wayne was furious with Kirk Douglas while on the set of their classic “The War Wagon” due to Douglas being late to production one day. This was due to Douglas shooting a commercial to endorse Edmund G Brown, a Democrat, as Governor of California. This seemed to irk Duke because He was a lifelong conservative and supported the Republican candidate, who was Ronald Reagan. Wayne ended up being late the next day due to him shooting an endorsement commercial for Reagan.
Although there was tension on and off the set, eventually Wayne and Douglas did eventually get along. This is despite Douglas not referring to Wayne as Duke ever.
Even during a 1971 interview with DIck Cavett, Douglas did not put up with the discussion about Wayne’s controversial views on Native American land. Wayne previously stated, that a lot of people needed the land and “the Indians were being selfish and thought that they ought to have it.”
When asked about Wayne’s opinion, Douglas declared, “I don’t want to get involved in a conversation about John Wayne. I’ve made quite a few pictures with John Wayne, and, by the way, I’ve always called him John. Everybody calls him Duke. We have never seen eye-to-eye on a lot of things.”
Also during his interview with Cavett, Kirk Douglas stated he and John Wayne did not speak about politics. “We get along well, we never discussed politics. But he’s the first guy on the set. The hardest worker I’ve ever worked with. And I think he’s quite a character.”
Kirk Douglas Reveals Why John Wane Was the ‘Perfect Movie Star’
Also during an interview with Roger Ebert, Kirk Douglas stated that John Wayne was the perfect movie star. “I was in a lousy picture with him once, ‘In Harm’s Way.’ I used to think about John Wayne that he brings so much authority to the role he can pronounce literally any line in the script and get away with it.”
Douglas then said that in the duo’s “In Arm’s Way,” there was a line that he thought John Wayne couldn’t get away with. “It was ‘I need a fast ship because I mean to be in harm’s way.’ I thought, ‘Oh s—, I’ve gotta hear him say this line.’ But you know what? He said it. And he got away with it. Now that’s John Wayne…”
Douglas went on to proclaim that there is nothing wrong with a John Wayne movie. “I hate arty-farty pictures. What you always hope to make is a good, honest picture with balls. We did that with ‘Spartacus.’ That was the best big spectacle ever made.”