Shire followed up her Oscar nominated turn as Connie Corleone in “The Godfather” with her role as Adrian Pennino, Rocky’s inspirational better half.
Lost girl: “Adrian resonated for me because I knew that painfully shy person, who had the worst high school life. If something didn’t happen soon for her, she’d be an old lady forever … she’s right next door to an empty life. Adrian reminded me of Laura in Tennessee Williams’ ‘Glass Menagerie.’ I always loved that role, and every young actress yearns to play her. I said, ‘Wow this is Laura, but she has a chance. The gentleman caller will love her.’ ”
Artistry at a cost: “I believe that when there isn’t a lot of money on a production, you have certain kinds of solutions and one is forced to be extremely creative. We were given a great deal of permission to experiment with ideas. The scene where Rocky removes Adrian’s hat and glasses — these were corny moments, but they worked and were strangely pure. … When Burt Young throws the turkey out the door, I asked if we had the ‘take 2’ turkey. He just threw it out! It was so brilliant.”
Sly as director: “Sylvester is a wonderful painter; hence he has a great eye, sense of whimsy and street language. When you’re the actor to his director, you can always trust him because he understands the visual landscape….You feel like you’re working with a sensitive man. And there’s that wonderful shift when he goes from yelling ‘action’ and jumps into the actor’s role.”