Brian De Palma Remembers Filming a Student Film With Kirk Douglas

The Fury (1978) - Shown on-the-set - Director Brian De Palma, Kirk Douglas- Photofest-H 2020
20th Century-Fox/Photofest

The late actor joined De Palma, who was teaching a filmmaking course at Sarah Lawrence College in the 1970s, in producing low-budget feature 'Home Movies.'

When I was teaching a filmmaking course at Sarah Lawrence College in the late 1970s, Kirk joined me in producing a super-low-budget feature titled Home Movies. My concept for the course was to show the students how to make a low-budget feature by making a low-budget feature. Once the class had written the script, we sought out financing and started casting. Since Kirk and I had enjoyed working together on The Fury, I asked him to join our project.

He agreed immediately and even invested in it with me (along with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg). My students were shocked and surprised: "My God," they exclaimed, "we have Kirk Douglas in our student movie!" They created and wrote a character — a film school teacher called the Maestro — for him to play. I have fond memories of Kirk sitting on a tree branch with his co-star Keith Gordon in the middle of the night instructing him on the virtues of Star Therapy ("You must be the star of your own life," his character lectured, "not an extra!").

A star: No one embodied it better.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.