A reporter discusses actors and actresses with Charles Laughton, April 1935:
“One thing certainly prejudices me [against stars], and that’s personality. If I meet a star and dislike him very much indeed, I always try to say the best I can about his pictures, just in case I;m tempted to be unfair.”
“Yes, I can understand that,” said Laughton. “And who do you dislike?”
I told him.
He nodded.”Yes, he’s pretty nasty, I agree. I hope you don’t feel that way about Clark Gable?”
I gasped. Clark Gable is one of my secret weaknesses. that made me cautious.
“I like him,” I said mildly,”but I don’t admire him as an actor.”
“Nonsense,” said Laughton enthusiastically. “He’s a grand actor, probably the best leading man in Hollywood. Just think of him in ‘It Happened One Night.’ I went five times to see how he did it, and even then I didn’t know.”
“But wasn’t that Frank Capra’s direction?”
“No, it wasn’t Capra, or he would have pulled off the same trick with Warner Baxter in ‘Strictly Confidential,’ and he didn’t. He didn’t quite manage it with Claudette Colbert either. She was good, but you could see the wheels go round. But not with Gable. I tell you he’s a great actor–he’s saved more pictures from flopping than any star in Hollywood. I’m quite excited to think that I’m going back to work with him now.”
“In ‘Mutiny on the Bounty?'” I asked.
“Yes, with Robert Montgomery too. I’m looking forward to it tremendously.”
Interesting coming from Laughton, isn’t it? And Robert Montgomery was switched out for Franchot Tone by the time the film started rolling.