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Apocalypse Now, 1979
APOCALYPSE NOW, 1979 When I arrived in the Philippines in the summer of 1976 for my scenes in Apocalypse Now...Francis Coppola was alternately depressed, nervous and frantic. Shooting was behind schedule, he was having trouble with the cameraman, he wasn't sure how he was going to end the movie...I offered to re-write the script based on the original structure of the book, and Francis agreed. I spent about ten days on a houseboat completely re-writing the movie and thinking about how my character should look. Conrad described Kurtz as "impressively bald"...without informing Francis, I shaved my head, found some black clothing and asked the cameraman and lighting crew to photograph me under eccentric lighting while I spoke half in darkness with a disembodied voice. After I showed him these tests, I told Francis I thought that the first time the audience hears Kurtz, his voice should come out of the darkness. After several long moments, he should make an entrance in which only his bald head is visible, then a small part of his face is lit before he returns to the shadows...I was good at bullshitting Francis...what I'd really wanted from the beginning was to find a way to make my part smaller so that I wouldn't have to work as hard...I wrote Kurtz's speeches, including a monologue at his death that must have been forty-five minutes long. It was probably the closest I've ever come to getting lost in a part, and one of the best scenes I've ever played...I was hysterical, I cried and laughed and it was a wonderful scene...
Apocalypse Now, 1979

Apocalypse Now, 1979
An important collection of material relating to Apocalypse Now, including:
- two scripts, one dated 3 December, 1975, 153pp. of mimeographed typescript, the other dated 26 July, 1976, 163pp. of mimeographed typescript, both with paper covers printed APOCALYPSE NOW;
- a quantity of call sheets, various dates 1 September - 7 October, 1976, inscribed with notes in an unknown hand;
- a typescript letter, signed, from Francis Ford Coppola to Brando [n.d. but circa mid-1976], the letter apologising for being elusive but with Coppola excusing himself by explaining I was so anxious to get the script done, and solve all it's problems, Coppola goes on to tell Brando how he is re-working the character of Leighley [Kurtz] in the film what I tried to do and am still working on was to rethink the character of Leighley from a doped-up madman, to a sincere, rational -- maybe even great officer who finds himself totally at odds with the Generals in command, and gives way to his own instincts about the way to wage this war...Leighley is an extraordinary man, because he always tells the truth..., Coppola expresses his hopes for what his film can achieve: I guess that's what this movie is really about. About facing the truth, and then rising beyond it. We will never get past Vietnam if we sweep it under the carpet -- we must face it, head on, as ugly and horryible [sic] as it will seem out in the open. And then by facing it, we can put it behind us..., he ends on a positive note I have an open mind and a hunger to make this be good, and to move people, and to help put this war in perspective... I really think your help at this point will push me where I want to go. Please don't worry about anything, nothing is impossible, and together we can accomplish anything, even make a movie about Vietnam..., 1p.;
- a collection of Brando's typescript notes on the character of Kurtz and the film, circa late 1976, various notes include: Possibly a scene of him talking to himself or several scenes of this only to find that he's talking in to a tape recorder 10ft. away...possible conscientious objector...we have to see his conversion not hear about it!...It's a percentage game. War always is. Cites Churchill's allowance of Coventry to be bombed because of need to not let German know they had broken the code..., 17pp.;
- a book: CONRAD, Joseph Heart Of Darkness & The Secret Sharer, New York: 1950;
- 13 black and white stills of Brando as Kurtz or on set with Coppola or Sheen, all -- 8x10in. (20.3x25.4cm.);
- three limited edition promotional blankets, appliquéd Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now, 97, 98 or 99/600; and related material (a lot)

Lot Essay

Brando apparently insisted his character's name, Kurtz, be changed to Leighley, only to insist it be changed back to Conrad's original name of Kurtz during filming. The call sheets included in this lot show the name of Leighley was used until 14 September, 1976.


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