In this wide-ranging interview with the website Little White Lies, eclectic director John Boorman briefly touches on his friendship with Stanley Kubrick:
Didn’t Kubrick want to use Bill McKinney [who plays the rapist in Boorman's Deliverance] for a film at one point, but was too afraid to meet him?
Stanley called me to ask what he was like. I told him he was a marvellous guy, a tree surgeon when he’s not acting and a wonderful man, really into his meditation. Kubrick said it was the most terrifying scene ever put on film, and that surely he’s got to have that part in him somewhere to be able to play that character. I said of course not, he’s just a marvellous actor. So Stanley cast him in Full Metal Jacket. When Bill was at Los Angeles airport he was called over the tannoy. Kubrick didn’t want him to come, he’d recast the part because he couldn’t face him.
Were you and Kubrick close?
Yeah, we spoke on the phone for years. We were both working at Warners. His method of communication was flat-out interrogation, he would just ask a series of questions, constantly on the look-out for information. He never wanted to go anywhere. I remember coming back from doing The Heretic and we went out for dinner. I’d told him that I’d meet him at the restaurant so asked him where he wanted to go. ‘I’ll let you know’ he said, ‘I’ll pick you up’. He was worried I might tell someone else which restaurant we were going to. It was all pretty paranoid. So he picks me up in his new Mercedes but before we go anywhere he says, ‘Watch this,’ and he activates the central locking. It was something every car had fitted as standard by that point but he was very impressed with it. For someone who gathers all this information, there’d be little things like that of which he had no idea. He didn’t know about ordinary life really. He was so cut off.Read the rest of the interview at Little White Lies. Having personally watched Exorcist 2: The Heretic for the first time recently, I had a real need to try and understand what the fuck is going on in this guy's brain. That movie is balls-out insane.