Steve McQueen on the telephone
Movies - TV
Steve McQueen And Paul Newman's Rivalry Ignited With The Towering Inferno
Few took movie stardom more seriously than actor Steve McQueen, as he refused to play anything other than the lead and demanded to be paid at his market value.
Disaster movies were popular in the 1970s, which attracted McQueen to “The Towering Inferno”, but with Paul Newman also onboard, McQueen took aggressive action not to be upstaged.
McQueen rejected the role of architect Doug Roberts (Newman) in favor of fire chief Michael O'Halloran, believing that the latter character would be “showier.”
Seeking further insurance against Newman, McQueen got paid the same $1 million salary as Newman and insisted that O'Halloran have the same number of lines as Roberts.
McQueen epitomized Hollywood cool as a motor-racing daredevil, and thus, wanted to do as many of his stunts in “Inferno” as possible. Not to be outdone, Newman demanded the same.
The men didn’t get through their petty one-upmanship unscathed. Newman sustained a “moderate burn,” while McQueen turned his ankle so severely he sat for several days of filming.