John Wayne Called His Stuntmen ‘Chickens***s’ Over the ‘McLinTock!’ Mud-Pool Scene – Old western – My Blog
John Wayne had a very particular way of bringing his characters to the silver screen. He turned down many roles that didn’t fit his signature style. However, the role itself isn’t the only element that he was particular about. Wayne also wasn’t afraid to call out the stuntmen for the McLinTock! mud-pool scene.
John Wayne played George Washington ‘G.W.’ McLintock in ‘McLintock!’
McLinTock! follows George Washington ‘G.W.’ McLintock (Wayne), who is an aging rancher and self-made man. However, he goes through a series of trials that involve both professional and personal issues. Everyone around him wants a piece of his farmstead, including high-ranking government men, his sons, and the nearby Native Americans.
McLintock tries to juggle it all but ultimately is surprised to see his wife make a sudden return after leaving him a couple of years prior. However, she didn’t come back for him. She wants to claim custody of their daughter, turning McLintock’s whole world upside down.
John Wayne called the stuntmen ‘chickens***s’ over the mud-pool scene
Michael Munn’s John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth tells the story of the Western icon. He wrote about a variety of projects that the actor worked on. Wayne had a bit of a run-in with the stuntmen on the McLinTock! set. However, the memorable fight scene wouldn’t have been the same if it happened any differently.
“The stuntmen started complaining that they wanted extra hazard pay to do the scene,” Wayne said. “I stood at the top of the hill with Maureen [O’Hara] and said to the stunt guys, ‘You white-livered chickens***s, it’s as dangerous as diving into a swimming pool. Maureen and I will show you, won’t we, Maureen?’”
Wayne continued about McLinTock!: “Maureen looked like I’d just told her to jump off Niagara Falls and she said to Chuck Roberson, ‘Why, that old bastard wants me to slide down that hill and into that mud pool. If you say it’s safe, I’ll do it, but not because that old bastard says I must.’”
“And Chuck told her it was safe and that all she had to do was slide down on her ass and keep her head up,” Wayne said. “So she told the stuntmen, ‘Duke’s right. You are a bunch of chickens,’ and with that, I told everyone to get out of our way, and down she went, and by God, she made that scene funny because the audience knew it was her.”
Wayne concluded: “So, of course, that meant I had to do it, and down I went. It was a great scene. We had a lotta laughs, I tell ya.”
Maureen O’Hara didn’t feel the same way about the mud-pool scene
“Half the people in the world are women. Why does it have to be you that stirs me?” ???? Are GW & Katherine McLintock your favorite John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara characters? pic.twitter.com/7EtIvcToVs— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) September 9, 2018
However, O’Hara didn’t have quite the same experience. She certainly didn’t find the same amusement in filming the McLinTock! scene that Wayne did. The temperatures and other conditions certainly played into that.
“It took several days to film the mud-pool scene,” O’Hara said. “We were filming it in November and the mud pool was so cold that each day they had to thaw the ice that formed over it. When I went down the slope and into that disgusting mess, the Indians were so thrilled they knelt down and bowed to me.”