Frank Marshall has, by this point in his career, achieved “legendary producer and filmmaker” status. If, somehow, you aren’t familiar with Marshall, you probably love a lot of the movies he’s worked on, films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, — the list truly goes on and on and on. But he may have just pulled off his greatest feat.
You see, way back in the early 1970s, one of Marshall’s early jobs was working on Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind. Little did Marshall know back then that The Other Side of the Wind wouldn’t see the light of day until 2018. (Where it just played this week at the New York Film Festival.)
The story of The Other Side of the Wind is long and somewhat tedious and complicated. To sum it up in one sentence: there are a lot of people who claimed to have the rights to the unfinished film and it took about 40 years to sort that all out. Now, here we are. The film itself is basically a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary about a director (played by Jon Huston) who made a bizarre avant-garde film called The Other Side of the Wind that he’s trying to convince colleagues is a work of genius. Also, as Marshall says ahead, Orson Welles would make everyone take a break from filming every day so that he could watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Also, at one point Marshall had to find a human skeleton because Welles wanted a human bone for the movie.
Ahead, Marshall talks about the movie that he’s been technically working on longer than any other. Also, he tells us what movie in his filmography people would talk about more (hint, it stars Christian Bale), and explains why the love of The Goonies is still a bit baffling to him. He also insists that, despite the delays, Indiana Jones 5 will be happening.
I can’t believe we’re talking about this movie.
Isn’t it incredible? Neither can I.
Without Netflix does this movie exist?
No. It doesn’t. There’s no way it exists. There’s no way it exists the way we were able to do it, which was everything we wanted. There is a way for someone to come in and say, “I’m gonna give you X amount of dollars,” and you just have to make that work. They stepped up every time.
Welles has had movies in the past that were put together maybe not the right way, and it didn’t go well.
Yeah. And so, because of their love of movies, that’s where it came from. It’s a great thing. And, look, people were upset when VHS came along. They were upset when DVDs came along. They were upset when television came along. It’s another way for us to tell stories.
When was the last time you ever spoke to Orson Welles?
It was probably 1973.
Okay, so well before he died.
Yeah. We had dinner with him after we shot Daisy Miller. Peter Bogdanovich, Cybill Shepherd and I went down to Madrid. And we saw him in Madrid and that was the last time I saw him.
When I was a little kid Orson Welles was everywhere. He was in The Muppet Movie.
Oh yeah. He was everywhere.
At one point he wanted to be a talk show host.
He went on Johnny Carson. He was a magician. He was doing shows. It was crazy. And he loved to create. And I think what you see in this movie is his artistry, of how he was pushing the envelope on how we tell stories on film. And he was constantly doing that. And that’s what was exciting for him. But he was everywhere.
He wasn’t making movies in his last few years, but he was sure on television a lot.
We would stop shooting at 4:30 in the afternoon so he could watch, or we could all watch, the original The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Because he loved Dick Van Dyke. So it’s things like that that I went, “Wow. This is an incredible guy.”
So you watched The Dick Van Dyke Show with Orson Welles?
With Orson Welles, and he would roar with laughter. It was fantastic. He just appreciated performance and artists.
I’m thinking of the intro when Rob Petrie trips over the sofa.
Yeah, He would just roar! And then he had this great laugh, as you know. And then, “Okay. Back to work.”