April 6, 2013 InterviewThis is a featured page

Robert Vaughn has the last word on nude football players, Hamlet and PhDs

ACTOR Robert Vaughn's career has spanned more than 50 years and his credits include classic western The Magnificent Seven and cult spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. More recently the 80 year old appeared as Albert Stroller in BBC1's Hustle and as Milton Fanshaw in Coronation Street. His new release is The Magnificent Eleven, a modernisation of The Magnificent Seven. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Linda, with whom he has two grown–up children.

Published: Sat, April 6, 2013
Robert-vaughn-as-Albert-Stroller-in-BBC1-s-Hustle

Robert Vaughn as Albert Stroller in BBC1's Hustle


What was it like revisiting such a cult film as The Magnificent Seven?

Well, The Magnificent Eleven is not a remake, but it does take common elements and brings the story up to date. It's set in Wales and tells the tale of an amateur football team on hard times who go to ridiculous lengths to keep their team afloat. But they have their efforts thwarted by the baddie – that's me, American Bob – and his team of thugs. They sent me the script as Hustle was ending and when I agreed to do it, they totally bigged up my part.

How would you sell it to a new audience?

Dancing footie players, nude. Need I say more?

You've enjoyed a long career. Which role are you most proud of?

Laurence Olivier once said that the goal of all serious thespians is to play Hamlet, and he was right. I played Hamlet twice. It's one of the most demanding roles to perform, especially as the play is more than four hours long.

Are there any roles left that you'd like to play?

I always wanted to play Hitler, but he died in his fifties so I think I'm too old to pull it off now.

Any hidden talents or interests?

I'm an avid reader, especially of political and historical books. I got a PhD in communications in the late 60s and early 70s, and I published my book, Only Victims: A Study Of Show Business Blacklisting, about the McCarthy era. It was a very difficult book to research given the touchy subject, but I did manage to get one of the informers to talk on record.

What's been your most embarrassing showbiz moment?

Well, apart from some of the turkeys I've made, I remember I once had to wear a gorilla suit in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

What's been the best showbiz party you've ever been to?

New Year's Eve, 1971. I'd just met Linda and she hadn't had much exposure to the Hollywood scene. I was Jack Nicholson's acting teacher and he invited me to his party. When we arrived, Warren Beatty opened the door and, from there on, every major movie star of the day was inside.

What's been the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Never turn down a job. You never know how one role will lead to another, even if it's not immediate.


Do you have any regrets?

I've always wanted to go in a jet fighter and break the sound barrier, or travel to the moon.

What would you most like to be remembered for?

My opposition to the Vietnam War. It lasted almost 20 years and I naively thought more people in the industry would come out against it.

The Magnificent Eleven, the British comedy from Irvine Welsh, will be released on DVD on May 13, 2013, by Eureka Entertainment.


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lenechen cult spy series... 2 Apr 14 2013, 2:57 PM EDT by lenechen
Thread started: Apr 11 2013, 5:30 PM EDT  Watch
I have the impression that UK articles more often say "cult" to describe the Man from U.N.C.L.E. I certainly do not read every single article, but is it commonly described as "cult "spy series everywhere? In the US?
It sounds slightly odd to me for such a wide spread open popularity over decades. Well, I am foreign so maybe it is my brain which perceives the word.

Wish somebody still recalls that the Magnificent Seven was after the legendary film from Japan.
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SoloSista The Magnificent Eleven DVD 4 Apr 11 2013, 5:38 PM EDT by lenechen
Thread started: Apr 9 2013, 1:25 AM EDT  Watch
Unfortunately the DVD will only be released in Europe at this time. If you have a region free DVD player it will play fine. However fans outside of Europe will have to hope the film will be available soon to download.
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