Actor John Wayne escalated his career in Hollywood to the next level with Stagecoach. However, the movie star went through quite a difficult journey working on B-movie Western flicks with no sign of stardom. Legendary filmmaker John Ford put Wayne through the wringer while shooting Stagecoach, but it was all to achieve one of the greatest moments in filmmaking history.
John Ford manipulated John Wayne on ‘Stagecoach’
Michael Munn’s John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth explored the Stagecoach era of the actor’s career. It was a substantial moment that found him playing Ringo Kid, the protagonist who escaped from prison. However, Ford put Wayne through a rough time to get the best possible performance out of him.
For example, the filmmaker sabotaged the working relationship that Wayne had with co-star Andy Devine, who played Buck. There was a scene where Devine drove the stagecoach and Ford asked Wayne “What do you think of the scene?” Wayne responded that he thought it looked “phony” because the reins were loose.
Ford led Wayne right to Devine and told the actor what he thought of the scene. From then on out, there was always tension between the two actors.
Wayne regularly dealt with bullying tactics from Ford, and not only on Stagecoach. However, he always looked up to the filmmaker and accepted the behavior. But, that isn’t to say that Wayne accepted that behavior from anybody else.
‘Stagecoach’ actor John Wayne faced ‘punishment’ to get the perfect introduction shot of Ringo Kid
Actor Claire Trevor, who played Dallas, told Munn that things changed after Wayne completed filming Stagecoach. Ford decided to reshoot the one scene where Ringo is first introduced, where the camera tracks into a close-up. He cocks his gun and yells, “Hold it!”
“Ford told me he decided to reshoot Duke’s opening shot because by then, after all the punishment he’d put Wayne through, Duke had exactly the look of pain with the innocence underneath which would establish the Ringo Kid,” Trevor said.
This scene would go down as one of the most iconic sequences in moviemaking history. However, Munn broke down its imperfections, such as the fact that it was shot in a studio rather than on-location in Monument Valley. Additionally, the picture goes out of focus. Nevertheless, it had an impact on audiences.
The actor’s career was never the same again
Wayne would see his life change forever after making Stagecoach. It made him a notable Western movie star, but the film wasn’t meant to be a vehicle for the actor. Rather, it was an ensemble piece that featured its various characters. Nevertheless, audiences connected most with Wayne as Ringo, and they continue to do so in modern times.
He went on to star in many other Ford pictures, such as The Quiet Man and The Searchers, which also went down in history for their iconic status. Wayne would finally earn his Oscar for his brilliant work in True Grit. However, many of his fans were surprised not to see him get a nomination for his final dramatic role in The Shootist.