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Acting class with actor Bruce Glover from Diamonds Are Forever

By: Mark Cerulli
Published:
2014-03-18
What do Bond villains do once they’ve been sent off to cinematic Valhalla by 007? In Bruce Glover’s case, they keep working and teach acting. When Anders [Frejdh] told me he had been invited to Bruce’s Wednesday night class at his LA studio, fellow enthusiast Greg Bechtloff and I tagged along for the experience.

Acting class with Bruce Glover from Diamonds Are Forever
Bruce walked a group of young hopefuls through a set of line readings, able to dip into various dramatic personas to illustrate his points – boiling anger, sniveling apology and deep concern. Effortlessly he was able to conjure up a businessman announcing a catastrophic failure to his employees, or a deranged psycho teasing a victim – child’s play to a man who has made over 70 films. Along the way Bruce dropped in tidbits from that long career, working on movies like Walking Tall (1973), Chinatown (1974), Ghost World (2001) and… yes, Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

Acting class with Bruce Glover from Diamonds Are Forever
Several nights later, we were able to have dinner with Bruce and his wonderful wife, Betty, a former Broadway dancer, at the storied Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills. There Bruce displayed a hearty appetite, keen wit and a long memory as he tucked into Tortilla Soup and Dover Sole.

Bruce praised Diamonds’ director Guy Hamilton as being one of the best he’d ever worked with. He loved the freedom Hamilton gave him to add to his character, really making it his own. Glover recalled one late night shoot “… standing chest to chest with [Sean] Connery as he and Putter Smith prepared to deposit Bond in a drainpipe soon to be buried under the desert sand. He looked down at the iconic star and said IN his Wint affectation, “I think I’m becoming emotionally involved.” He waited for Connery’s laugh. There wasn’t one! If anything, Connery seemed… puzzled. It wasn’t until they shot the aircraft interior sequence on a runway in Germany several weeks later that Connery realized he was being put on. As Bruce tells it, “We were waiting while they were setting up and I noticed a group of beautiful Lufthansa stewardesses sitting around chatting. I, of course, walked over and started flirting with them. The conversation went back and forth, the girls laughing, etc. and after a few minutes I felt this presence behind me and heard Connery’s voice saying, “You sonofabitch… You SONOFABITCH!” Connery finally got the joke and the ice was broken! Over the last few decades, whenever an acting acquaintance would cross paths with Connery, he’d invariably send Bruce’s regards. Connery would respond with, “You tell that crazy baastard I said ‘hello.’”

He spoke at length of his times as a struggling New York actor, trying to land roles AND put food on the table for his wife and young son Crispin Glover (now an accomplished actor/director himself). His career would frequently take him to California for weeks at a time, allowing only for short calls home as he tried to explain to his son why he had to stay away just a little longer. Glover’s talent and ability to “read” a scene got him noticed and occasionally a minor role would be expanded. More days on a shoot meant more money for his family.

Along with being a hugely talented actor, Bruce is a keen observer of the Business. He took a dim view of the (then) recent tragic death of a camera assistant working on a Georgia film set. “A film set is a dangerous place,” Bruce said, launching into a story about working with a non-professional stuntman in a shot that involved diving over a wheelchair-bound character. Bruce, a natural athlete who had played a variety of sports including semi-professional football, had no problem making the leap. But the untrained stuntman suddenly lifted his knees up – cracking Bruce in the mouth costing him two teeth. His abdomen was impaled on the metal chair handle and another section as he went over, resulting in an excruciating double hernia! Bruce stayed in character to finish the shot in spite of the pain.

After a leisurely meal, Bruce and Betty walked through the Beverly Hotel’s plush lobby – Betty pausing to look at jewelry displays that would put a dent in even Brad Pitt’s bank account. They posed for several photos – Bruce directing the camera of course (!) and then they were off, back to his comfortable villain’s lair where he is working on a number of projects, including a film with son Crispin. Anders and I were left with one thought – “One is never too old to learn from a master.”

Watch the new official demo reel for Bruce Glover:


Editor's note:
For more info about Bruce Glover's acting classes, visit the official website. For the latest news, check out the Facebook page.

This article was written exclusively for FSWL by Mark Cerulli. © 2014 From Sweden with Love.

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