FKM 2016 | Interview with Jack Taylor: “There are no secondary actors, only secondary characters”

Today begins the FKM, Fantastic Film Festival of A Coruña. For a week there will be screenings of recent films and others not so much. The programming brings together titles for all likes and dislikes. Also the already traditional zombie walkthe occasional master class, and round tables with different guests talking about various film topics, even if they have nothing to do with the horror genre.

A few weeks ago, another tribute was paid to the Coruña Loving of Ossorio, director of some very interesting horror films. For this, one of the protagonists of ‘The cursed ship’ (1974), jack taylor, one of the most prolific actors of that glorious period of Spanish cinema. A server was with him, and we talked for a while about things related to his filmography and those terrifying years.

Taylor is already 80 years old. His appearance is elegant, a gentleman, and I treat her very closely with him. Calm in his responses, with a fine sense of humor, Taylor is one of those who enjoys talking about movies —he loves to sentence some issues with unforgettable phrases, like the one in the headline. Among the curious anecdotes that he told me in a talk set over good coffee after dinner, is that of a woman named Marlene Dietrich She was the one who taught him how to make scrambled eggs. She also speaks fondly of henry fonda and others whom he met in his long career. In the interview we focus on what he remembers and thinks of his own career.

  • What has Jack Taylor learned in all the years he’s been in the movies?

Well I tell you one thing. I don’t know if I’ve learned… I was six years old, and my teacher called me to play Santa Claus, in a Christmas play for the school. And the first time I stepped on stage, at the age of six, I thought “this is for me”. It’s funny… I’ve learned to take things easy. I have learned patience… My God, how difficult is this. We continue and then I return to this question. (laughs)

  • You participated in one of the most glorious times of Spanish cinema, a time that set a bar and has not yet been surpassed. Now I believe that an operation similar to that of those co-productions is being carried out, making genre films. Also tell us a little about those years.

I was very surprised by the number of followers of genre cinema. I am constantly fascinated by the number of young people who follow these films, all over the world. They call me from all over the world to talk about this type of cinema. This is due to luck nothing more. I was at the right time in the right place, and it’s not much of a mystery. One time when I was in San Francisco I was watching a pretty bad movie with Debbie Reynolds and I thought “if they can do that, so can I”. I had worked at school—if you can call that work—where I had classmates like James Ivory. In Los Angeles I landed a role in a movie next to Jack Benny, and in those years men had to be dark-haired and women blonde. Black and white stuff. He didn’t have much to do. I wanted to go somewhere else to try something different. I wanted to go to Italy, because I was fascinated by Italian movies, but I had no money. So I went to the closest place: Mexico.

I was driving the 2950 km. In six months I learned Spanish. I was hired for two episodes of a television series. Then for a film about the life of the poet Joaquín Murrieta. The beginning was that easy, and that difficult.

  • At the time he worked with Amando de Ossorio, Paul Naschy, Juan Piquer Simón, who made box office bombs. Is there a memory or movie that you treasure? Anything you didn’t do and would have liked?

I was lucky to work with Juan on two of his first films. ‘A thousand screams has the night’ It is admired everywhere. Not long ago in Boston they told me that they get together every year, as a celebration, to see her… I don’t understand why.

I never worked with Eugenio Martin, and I would have loved it. I would have liked to work with Jesus Franco.

I worked with Ossorio four times, one of them a western… I don’t like westerns at all. They are operas. And yes, it is the quintessential film genre, but I was born in the west, and what we see in the movies is all lies, it is not the slightest reflection of reality.

In Spain, at that time, the cinema lived very well despite Franco. It was very sensual the way sex was shown, and the things they dared to do. A grave rape, for example.

  • What would you highlight about Amando de Ossorio’s cinema?

Probably their hooded ones. The Templars.

  • ‘The cursed ship’ seems to me the best of the sequels, despite certain situations and dialogues, but what an atmosphere.

Today I was telling the people at the festival that the mist that is seen throughout the film, since there is no machine to make smoke, was burned oil. It was horrible, horrible (laughs). We were in a closed ship, breathing that. prohibitive all.

Well, I don’t know if there was a budget.

I did like that world of the Templars. I would like someone to take up that topic again and do some work. It could, it could. Although today’s commercial mentality does not fit it.

There was a certain charm in the cheapness, in the limited budget. This is how Orson Welles began in the theater, without means, only with a piano on stage and the actors sitting in the audience. With very little means and imagination. This is how you can make movies. They are shadows. They are ideas. They are dreams.

When I went to Hollywood, I immediately realized that Hollywood doesn’t exist outside of where it is… what was the first question?

  • It was about what he’s learned in all these years

put up with me

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FKM 2016 | Interview with Jack Taylor: “There are no secondary actors, only secondary characters”


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