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Billy Crystal says the legendary Jack Palance did not let him ruin the City Slickers pitch by talking in their initial meeting.
The comic-actor was a guest Wednesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where he talked about his latest film, Here Today, but also one of his classics, which turns 30 this year.
Crystal explained that he was a huge fan of Palance from all his work in westerns and that the part of Curly Washburn was written specifically for Palance. They just needed to convince the seasoned Hollywood veteran to do the project.
“We get a call that he’d like to meet,” Crystal said of sending the script over the Palance’s agent. “So [director] Ron Underwood and I … meet at the bar of the Bel-Air Hotel. [Palance] is 20 minutes late, and I’m really nervous because I just want to meet him.”
Palance finally arrived, sat down and said nothing, Crystal told Kimmel. “He’s scary as hell,” the comic said. “I feel like I am about to have a martini with Dracula. We don’t know what to say, and I said, ‘You know, I am just so thrilled to meet you. We wrote this for you.’ And he goes, ‘Save it. I really like this a lot. And I think I would do very well as Curly.'”
It turns out Palance was correct, nabbing both a Golden Globe and Academy Award for best supporting actor for his work on the film.
Watch the Crystal interview below.
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