Kirk Douglas' 'The Fury' Co-Star Remembers Heartfelt Advice Actor Gave Her

The Fury (1978) - Amy Irving, Kirk Douglas-Split-Photofest 2-H 2020
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest

In her first starring role, Amy Irving says the late actor cheered her up when she was in an emotional state.

The Fury was my first starring role. This was a real big deal for me. And I had a certain way of working, getting myself there emotionally to play the character. I wasn’t very ?experienced in front of the camera at all. So, while Brian De Palma was setting up shots, I was sitting in my little director’s chair, in my own world, concentrating on where I’m at in the scene — I was taking it really seriously and getting myself into an emotional state. And as tears were rolling down my face, Kirk came over to me.

"Are you all right?" he asked. I told him I was just preparing. He said, "Amy, first of all, you’re what, 23 or 24 years old? You’re never going to make it to 30 if you put that much into everything while they’re lighting the set. My advice to you is, A, save it and use it when the camera is rolling. And, B, did you not hear what lens he was using on this shot? With that lens, you’re going to be the size of a pea on the screen. It really doesn’t?matter how emotional you are."

It was a really good lesson. And he was right. I probably would not have made it to 30 if I had not had that sage advice from Kirk Douglas.

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