Norman Jewison on The Thomas Crown Affair

From an AintItCoolNews interview with Norman Jewison:

Capone: You made a couple of films with Steve McQueen. Could talk about your relationship with him, and what you remember most about working with him?

NJ: Well Steve McQueen was kind of textbook bad boy, you know? He could test you pretty good. [laughs] I said, “I can’t be your father,” because he liked working with older directors.

Capone: So he had a father complex?

NJ: Yeah and so I said “But I will be your older brother who went to college. I’ll look out for you.” So we had a pretty close relationship from the very beginning, and it was simply because I did a little homework and found he had spent time in Boys Town, and he had had a rough upbringing and I think he was looking for a father, for kind of a fatherly influence, and that’s why he liked working with older directors.

Henry Hathaway used to do films with Steve McQueen, and I realized that he could get a better performance from Steve simply because he wanted to be directed. He wanted to be told. He wanted desperately, so I kind of found out a lot about him just by talking to him. So, we became pretty close, and then I did THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR with him with Faye Dunaway, and that was her debut really. She did a film, BONNIE AND CLYDE, but I felt that THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, when it came to style, it was really kind of style over content that film, and I tried to make it something totally different than we had seen Steve do before. So I put him in a $2,500 suit and gave him a different look, and he loved it.

Capone: It was a stylized version of him. It was heightened and classier than we'd seen him before.

NJ: There was something kind of elegant about the picture, and I had [cinematrographer] Haskell Wexler and some talented people working with me.

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