very much to Steve McQueen, says his longtime buddy Robert
in Mexico with Yul Brynner for "The Magnificent Seven,"
Vaughn recalls how McQueen asked him, "Did you see the
size of Yul's horse?" and fretted about the height of
his own mount.
out to Steve -- I had seen him around town for years
skulking and glowering in casting offices -- that my own
horse, which was named Jumbo, was even bigger than
Brynner's, but Steve was really angry," Vaughn says.
wasn't happy that Brynner had this big white gun that
caught the sun. Steve was trying to outdo the King," --
Brynner had won the Best Actor Oscar for "The King and
I" the previous year -- "and, in that, he brilliantly
perhaps best remembered for his '60s TV series "The Man
From U.N.C.L.E.," will introduce a showing of "The
Magnificent Seven" Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Lincoln
Center's Walter Reade Theater.
It's part of
a 12-film McQueen retrospective running through Tuesday
that includes two other movies Vaughn made with McQueen,
who died in 1980: the classic thriller "Bullitt" and the
all-star disaster epic "The Towering Inferno."
close friends with Vaughn and had sent for his pal to
play an ambitious politician opposite McQueen's
detective in "Bullitt."
didn't make any sense at all to me, and I thought it was
going to be a flop -- just like I did with 'The
Magnificent Seven,' where they didn't even have
a completed script when they started shooting and they
just handed out new pages every day," Vaughn says. "But
then I was offered more money than I've ever gotten for
a movie, and the plot of 'Bullitt' suddenly became
very clear to me."
quirkiness manifested itself when Vaughn chose to place
a Phi Beta Kappa key on his character's vest.
over and objected 'because I wore it in the movie with
Faye Dunaway' -- 'The Thomas Crown Affair' -- and I
replied, 'Steve, if people are looking at my key and
connecting it to Dunaway, something's wrong with the
picture.' That satisfied him."
Towering Inferno," McQueen was obsessed with his rival
and co-star Paul Newman, making sure they each had
exactly the same number of lines.
believed he was a good actor," says Vaughn. "Paul was a
very articulate actor who wanted to talk through scenes,
which was something Steve never did," Vaughn says.
"Steve was very hip to the fact that his stardom was
based largely on the look he had."
By LOU LUMENICK
Vaughn at blogs.nypost.com/movies