John Wayne in Costume for Stagecoach.
Movies - TV
John Wayne's Stagecoach Stunts Sparked A Battle With The Studio
John Wayne may be known for his male machismo and never-back-down-from-a-fight movie persona, but when it came down to it, the actor lost an important argument with a studio executive. While filming John Ford’s “Stagecoach,” Wayne failed to get his way in an argument with executive Walter Wagner, but ultimately, it worked out for the best.
At a spry 32 and newly promoted from B-movies and uncredited roles to the star of Ford’s “Stagecoach,” Wayne was doing double duty as both leading man and his own stuntman. While Ford was happy to let Wayne continue performing his own stunts because “it would give Duke a better sense of reality,” United Artists producer Walter Wagner put a stop to it.
Wagner told Wayne, “Duke, you are going to be an outstanding star. I do not want you to do any more of these stunts. My God, if you broke a leg or an arm it would hold up the picture for weeks.” When Wayne refused to give in, Ford eventually stepped in so they wouldn’t lose production time and convinced Wayne to let his stunt double do most of the work.