Senior Editor
02.02.10 9 Comments

Apparently this clip is pretty famous, but I hadn’t seen it before yesterday, when everyone sent it to me in response to Rip Torn’s awesome drunken rampage.  It comes from Norman Mailer’s 1970 film Maidstone, and involves a pretty intense brawl that ensues after Torn hits Mailer in the head with a hammer, and Mailer responds by trying to chew off Torn’s ear.  Or as Nick Nolte calls it, Wednesday.  From the description:

Mailer’s concept was a half-scripted movie where a tyrannical director who plans to run for president is assassinated by an actor on his current film who wants to stop the tyranny from going global. Mailer spent much of the shoot insulting his actors to get one of them to improvise his assassination. Mailer drifted in and out of character, then wrapped without an assassination. […]
Rip Torn (playing his brother-in-law and assassin) allegedly decided to take it upon himself to “improvise” an attack by hitting Mailer on the head with a small hammer, drawing blood. Mailer retaliated by tackling and then nearly chewing Torn’s ear off as they grappled viciously, and it rapidly escalated into an unhinged on-camera brawl as Mailer’s horrified kids screamed in terror. […]
I have to wonder how “unplanned” this sequence was, as the camera is obviously following Rip closely in the moments before the attack, and if principal photography had finished the day before, why was the camera crew still hanging around filming Rip and the Mailer family? Its more like Mailer knew Rip would pull something for the camera, but didnt know what, and overreacted because he wasnt expecting him to use a real hammer and actually start hitting him with it. [via this guy]

First he hits Norman Mailer with a tiny hammer and tries to convince him it was part of the movie, 40 years later he gets caught carrying a tiny pistol.  Who wants to bet his plan in case he shot someone was to just slap him on the back and go, “Aw, relax, ya pussy, Ol’ Rip was just f*ckin’ with ya.  C’mere kid, pull my finger.”


(The whole thing feels pretty staged, if you ask me).

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