EDITOR’S NOTE: The “pirate actor” is unnamed, but I asked Mr. Gordon about it, and he confirmed that the actor was indeed Timothy.
But, of course, doing a movie isn’t all fun and games. Much of it is hard work with long hours. And sometimes painful, like our young star Charlie Herbert experienced. The script called for one of the pirates to discover Jimmy hiding on their pirate ship, and to pull him out of his hiding place. The pirate actor wrote his own action… grabbing the boy and viciously hurling him across the deck. And if you think Charlie hurt himself when he hit the vessel’s railing, you’re right. The poor kid almost made his lower lip bleed from biting it so hard to keep from crying.
From what I was told about the actor’s reputation of bordering on psychotic behavior, I shouldn’t have been surprised at his treatment of Charlie, but I didn’t think the man would be so violent with a young boy. Anyway, I didn’t want him in the film anymore. Now my problem was how to get rid of him, since the script called for him to be in scenes throughout the film, including the last scene of the movie.
So, after the day’s shoot was over, I got busy writing a scene where the pirate would be killed in a shipboard sword encounter. The scene could be easily cut into a sequence we had already filmed. Because he was established in so much of the already-filmed footage, it was critical that I would get him to do this additional scene. If he refused, I would have to carry him throughout the rest of the film as written.
When I gave him the new pages the next day, he asked me how he could get killed in the beginning of the movie when, according to the screenplay, he appears in the rest of the film, until the end. Of course I lied. I told him the new scene was to be a new ending with his death at the very end.
He bought it, and we quickly set up the scene on the ship’s deck… filmed it in record time… and our production manager quickly handed him his notice of completion.