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Rod Taylor - quotes

Quotations relating to actor Rod Taylor.


I got this call out of the blue from Mr. Hitchcock and was totally amazed. And I came out, and being a brash young brat, I guess I didn't show any kind of respect that I was supposed to, and I think he kind of liked it. And we got on extremely well. And I did the wrong thing — I called him Alfred!

I didn't say all the right things. I remember that. I said, "I hope the birds and things don't kind of totally out shadow the people." Of course, that's the story... they're supposed to. So that was number one. Wrong. But then we really talked about "making movies" and how I loved it, and how I was interested in his work. I brought that up and said the right thing. And we just got on extremely well. That was it. We didn't get into any deep discussions about the movie itself at all. No "What do you think of the character?" — none of that. It was taken for granted that I loved it and wanted to work with him and I was absolutely flattered and astonished that he wouldn't mind working with the kid... then.

Immediately, we became the best of friends — Tippi Hedren and I — and still are the best of friends. And so it was very easy. We'd rehearse together on our own, and it was extremely easy because we had a lovely chemistry without trying for it.

Rod Taylor (2000)
keywords: Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds (1963), Tippi Hedren, casting, and pre-production

Film Production

The funniest people on the thing were the bird wranglers. 'Cause they were bad-tempered. They were great guys, and I had drinks with them in the evening, but you look after a bunch of seagulls and ravens and crows and pigeons and God knows what else, and you get very nervous!

But Ray Berwick — he was the head bird wrangler — and he was a wonderful guy. And he indeed had patience. He wasn't as bad tempered as his buddies. He knew his birds backwards. He was like a great old cowboy with horses, you know. He knew these silly-looking birds, and he understood them and liked them.

All these tricks were pretty horrifying and pretty exasperating. That's why these wranglers just were going through hell as well as us. We all had our trips to the nurses' station to get out tetanus shot.

With all these bird attacks, no computer tricks, nothing like that. These kids, they'd tie the birds to the back of their collars and they'd be flapping and carrying on, and it was quite terrifying, really. But how else could you do it? And there was no CGI with birds coming into the lens. You put meat in the lens.

There were very low tides at Bodega Bay, and these sand flats stretched for miles. And it was nothing to see one of these poor wranglers running after a seagull that was flopping along just six feet ahead of him for miles.

This one raven, Archie — There's a still of me looking terrified with a bandage on or something, and I'm looking at this bird. That's real terror. I hated that bird! That bird — every morning if I was on the set, we were on the set together, would come over and go "Ungg!" and bite me. And I hated him, and he hated me.

Even when we came back to the studio. And I think that shot on the veranda was taken in the studio. I'd walk in and say, "Is Archie working today?" And they'd say, "I don't think so, Rod. I think we're working with seagulls." And out of the rafters would come Archie. And, you know, hated me. And would lie in wait for me. And I'm sure that bird's still alive!

Rod Taylor (2000)

Working with the birds was very interesting. I love all animals. I always have. And it was very exciting for me to work with the birds. Ray Berwick, who was the bird trainer, taught flocks of birds. He taught them six at a time. He taught them individually. The ones that were taught individually basically could never be released because they were taught to do very bad things. Like, they'd be taught to dive bomb somebody or peck them or, you know, really go after people.

You know, we didn't really rehearse this. It was just because, using live animals, we wanted to take it right away. So everything was lined up and Ray took the little box of strawberry finches and let them go down the chimney, and we thought they'd be flying around and… Well, they sat on the hearth and a few of them jumped up on the coffee table and on the arms of the chairs, and they weren't doing anything. We're going, "Um, okay. What do we do now?"

So we thought about it and all the different things that we could do. Maybe using a fan would be good. You know, and then they'd fly around. Well, so would our hair, you know? So that wasn't going to work and our clothes would fly and everything.

So we finally decided that we would do the scene without the birds. So all of us are reacting to birds that aren't there. And then the film, once it was edited, was sent over to Disney.

There was one named Buddy — very beautiful raven — who I became friends with. In fact, he was so nice, he couldn't even be in the movie. He was so sweet. And he'd come hopping into my dressing room on the set. And he'd hop up on my dressing table, and… he was just fun. It was just… they're so smart. They're so smart.

There was another one that particularly had a reaction to Rod Taylor. And he want after Rod continuously. It was kind of funny, actually!

Tippi Hedren (2000)
keywords: Ray Berwick, Rod Taylor, The Birds (1963), Walt Disney, and production
Hedren talking about the scene where the birds attack the gas station outside the restaurant...

They had, supposedly, shatter proof glass in there. And the seagull comes and hits the phone booth — they had the seagull on the wire, and it was a fake bird, of course. And the bird comes down, hits the glass, and the glass shattered and got all over my face. It was pretty scary. And we spent the afternoon taking little tiny bits of glass away from my skin.

But after that, Rod Taylor comes and gets me and we go into the restaurant. We don't even see anybody. And then we look around and there they are, all huddled, you know, almost into the kitchen. And silent. And one of the characters, the mother of the two children [played by actress Doreen Lang], looks at me, and she's crazed. And she comes after me, accusing me of being the cause of this. And she becomes hysterical.

And I, who have never slapped anybody in my life — I was told, you know, in the script that she slaps this woman. And I said to the actress, "Let's practice this — you know, do one of those fake things." She said, "No. I want you to hit me." I said, "I can't do that." She said, "No, you must. You must hit me. I want you to, because then the reaction will be right." So I really had to slap her and I could hardly handle it!

Tippi Hedren (2000)