First things first: if you haven’t yet read my Random Roles interview with Norman Lloyd, then go read it right now…and, no, I’m not kidding. I’ve never felt more gratified by a piece I’ve done for the A.V. Club, and—hand on heart—I’ve never felt quite so moved while transcribing an interview. It truly is a must-read, which is why I don’t want this post to in any way undercut the interview proper. This is definitely just a (relatively) small bit that I set aside for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.
While I was talking to Mr. Lloyd, I had a tendency to drift into moments of awe, as is only appropriate when someone is telling you their tales of working with Orson Welles, getting a career kick-start from Alfred Hitchcock, and watching Buster Keaton surreptitiously direct Charlie Chaplin, but as I was listening to the recording, I found myself getting a little emotional at the realization that I’m almost certainly never going to speak to anyone with a career as long and storied as that of Mr. Lloyd, who—as of this writing—is only a few days away from turning 101.
It’s because of this realization that, after I finished my transcription and realized that there were still a few moments from Lloyd’s career that I’d hoped to bring up but hadn’t managed to hit on, I decided that there really wasn’t anything preventing me from asking for a quick follow-up.
So I asked…and, boy, did I receive: I ended up chatting with him for another 30 minutes. Better yet, because of when it took place, the majority of the material from that second conversation actually ended up within Lloyd’s Random Roles piece. In fact, all but one role made the cut.
Why didn’t that particular role end up in the piece? Well, first of all, it would’ve added an additional 1,300 words to the piece, and it was already heading toward 9,000 words to begin with. More importantly, though, I just couldn’t find a spot to place it where it didn’t feel like it was dragging things down.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s a fascinating segment, particularly for film geeks. It’s just that I really like the way the piece flows as it stands right now, and this particular segment is—as you can tell from the word count, pretty freaking long, and the more I considered it, the more I thought it played better as its own entity, so that’s how I’ve decided to present it.
Oh, right, and one other thing: in this particular instance, Lloyd’s “role” had absolutely nothing to do with an acting performance. It was tied to his work as a director on the CBS series Omnibus. To be specific, it was about a five-episode production called Mr. Lincoln, starring Royal Dano as Abraham Lincoln. Actually, to be even more specific, it’s about one of the gentlemen who served as a second-unit director on the first of those five episodes.
Well, hell, let’s just put all the cards on table: it’s about Stanley Kubrick. But you already knew that from the title of this piece. What you don’t know, however, is what Kubrick did—or what he didn’t—that Lloyd wanted to make sure was clarified for history’s sake.
Confused enough yet? Read on. You’ll figure it all out soon enough.