1960: Update on ‘King of Kings’

Filming schedule, issues arise on set

July 19, 1960:

GOOD MORNING: Nick Ray filmed the “King of Kings’ ” Sermon on the Mount Sequence in 10 days this week; this week he starts battle sequences — requires eight days. Spain temperature was in the high 90s during the sermon sequence and lenser Franz Planer was a heat victim…Rip Torn, playing Judas, confessed he consulted four N.Y. psychiatrists to get their interpretation of the betrayal!…2008 Update: Rip Torn, on the phone from N.Y. indeed recalled the location of “King of Kings” when he was greeted on arrival at the set by director Ray with “All ye of little faith –“. Torn recalled that the location was indeed an inferno and despite it he praised the performance by Jeff Hunter, as Jesus, in the difficult shoot. He admitted, although some were offended by the film, the cast was well received. They also included Siobhan McKenna, Robert Ryan, Hurd Hatfield, Viveca Lindfors and Rita Gam — plus the narration by Orson Welles, and the magnificent Miklos Rosca score. Rip has not stopped working in these 48 years. … He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in a “30 Rock” seg and was thankful to Tina Fey for “being very supportive of me in a long scene–I could see her concern for me.” A double was offered for his physical endurance — but Torn insisted on doing it (successfully) himself. We discussed Tina Fey’s other acting claim to fame — her sensaysh carbon of GOP vice president would-be Sarah Palin on “SNL” … Among Torn’s many outstanding role characterizations was his as “Artie,” the show producer of “Larry Sanders'” (Garry Shandling) — 89 segs — for which he won an Emmy….Rip said he, Garry Shandling and Jeffrey Tambor, among other cast members, have remained friends and get together to play basketball. “The old boy has still got some moves,” Rip bragged…. He recently played Demi Moore’s and Parker Posey’s father and Ellen Barkin’s lover in “Happy Tears” And teamed with Mariel Hemingway in Michael Mailer’s “Chatham.” He also financed and produced (with son Tony) “Lucky Days,” which his daughter Angelica directed with Rip playing a key role. He’s also in “American Cowslip” with Val Kilmer, Diane Ladd, Peter Falk and Ronnie Blevins. “I played one of the meanest guys who ever lived — and still manage to get a laugh,” he laughs. But when I asked him what he’ll do next, he said, seriously, “Never say you’ve got it until you’ve got the money.” It’s coming — again.