THE LOSERS [aka
AN AESTHETIC DEATH
Q: This is one of our favorite death scenes. Even though this was hardly a "serious" war movie, it captured the futility of the Viet Nam war for our group of baby boomers. All the good guys died and the sleazy CIA operative got away. But your death was done especially well.
Bill: Actually the whole movie changed from the original script. We weren't supposed to die; we were all supposed to live. Jack Starrett, who was also the director, and I sat down and rewrote the whole ending at lunch one day. I think it was better the way we rewrote it.
Q: Certainly made a sequel unlikely.
Bill's hair still light from
Darker Than Amber
This chase is more graceful than we
can show with video grabs
Link [Bill] takes off from
the top of a hill
He's mortally wounded while
airborne but doesn't stop the
chase after the man blamed
for his friends deaths.
Link catches his adversary
But succumbs to
His brother closes his eyes
Q: Since Jack Starrett was [contributing] writer and director as well as actor in this, I guess he couldn't complain about how you jumped him in the end.
Bill: There's another scene that's better where I jump off a motorcycle and tackle him. And I did that because the night before at dinner he got kind of drunk and slapped me. I didn't want to hit him back. So the next day when we set up this scene where I come off the motorcycle and tackle him, I knocked him to the ground so hard, he couldn't believe it [said with something approaching childish glee]. (There's a scene while they are all prisoners in which Starrett slaps Bill. Maybe the slap Bill mentions was just a rehearsal of sorts.)
Davis (Starrett) runs from
the fighting; Link (Bill)
chases him on his bike
Link jumps from the moving bike
and takes Davis down
Q: You took that leap from the motorcycle?
Bill: I've been doubled in two, no three motorcycle stunts in my whole career. I did everything in Losers except that [pointing to a sequence where the motorcycle jumps over the roof of one of the buildings.] That was Gary McLarty. He was also the guy who in Run, Angel, Run jumped the motorcycle onto the train. Hal Needham did one in C.C. & Co. All the rest of them I did.
Some of the stunts Bill did
And the one Bill didn't do
[The same stuntman, Gary McLarty also did the stunt below in Run, Angel, Run. Angel (Bill) is trying to escape angry bikers waiting on the other side of the moving train. He takes a flying jump onto a flatbed train car, landing upright and sliding into a sideways skid.]
Bill starts the scene revving
up next to the moving train.
McLarty takes over for a spectacular jump onto the
moving train where Bill gets up from the fall.Q: All of you looked like you were having fun doing this movie [Losers], especially the first part where you were clowning around on the bikes.
Bill: Oh yeah. We had a great group of people with us. I thought Adam Roarke [Duke] did a good job. I loved the way he and the girl acted together. He's passed away since then. [April 1996] His brother is my agent. The guy who played my brother, Dan Kemp, was the father of the raped girl in Run, Angel, Run in sort of a big brother role there too. [In January of 2000 Dan Kemp also passed away.] And Paul Koslo [Limpy] is always good. He was in an episode of Wildside with me years later. [As a Light Brigade deserter in Crimea of the Century]. I was with Bernie Hamilton later in Hammer.
We shot this in the Philippines. It was a marvelous experience. Everybody was so nice to us, all the people there. But a few of the Filipinos were kind of weird man. They can be nice to you, but if you insult them, they'll pull a gun on you and shoot you. Our assistant director got shot and nobody ever knew who shot him. They hit him in the shoulder from a long ways away.
Another sartorial aside: Where did you get the earring you're wearing in this?
Bill: The Hell's Angels gave it to me on another movie I did. I wore it here because we were supposed to be outlaw bikers.
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