LOS ANGELES–Jon Voight was at press tour Saturday to talk about the American Masters special You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story. It premieres on PBS Sept. 23-25.
The Academy Award-winner was on a panel with Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel and documentary filmmaker Gregory Orr, step-grandson of film mogul Jack Warner. After the session, he was mobbed by reporters asking about the impending births of his daughter Angelina Jolie’s twins.
Voight said he knew nothing, but shortly after he left the press conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel, reports confirmed that Jolie and hubby Brad Pitt had welcomed two more tykes to their international baby farm.
Voight did have a story to tell–a long, blog-worthy story–which he saved for the end of the session. It took place many years ago when he was shooting Deliverance with Burt Reynolds in a remote, outdoor location in Georgia. “We’re going out into the middle of the woods, usually in the early morning, and we would be climbing the rocks, looking for the proper location,” he said.
We’d be in this terrain, you know, this terrain. Nobody knew what we were doing. We were free to do it because no one could reach us. And the only thing that gave us any connection to civilization was that we would be down in this gorge, you know, like maybe 50 feet down in this gorge and there’s a river and we’d be — be on rocks and sitting. And in the early morning, we would watch our chairs being dropped by rope down the thing. We’re looking. We’re sitting on the rocks looking at chairs. Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronnie Cox. It continues one more step.
And we didn’t need — of course, we didn’t need the chairs. This was a little reminder that we were still civilized. And we would sit in — and we would be sitting on log sand rocks and enjoying it. Really, we had a great time, a lot of fun, you know. You can imagine. Hard work and dangerous work, too, and sometimes silly and dangerous but fun.
And the chairs would come. The prop guys would put them up diligently every morning just to remind us we were in a movie, he said. You know what I mean? So he’d put the chairs up, and everybody sat in everybody’s chair, but Burt would always sit in my chair. And he would make — and I would be on the rocks. We’d be on the thing. And I’d look up and I’d see Burt sitting in my chair. Now, I didn’t give a damn, of course. You know what I mean? But I did notice it. Every day– for two weeks he’s sitting in my chair. And I finally — which is probably what he had prepared, you see, because Burt was a rascal, you know, of the highest rank. And I said, “Burt, let me ask you a question.” “I’d be delighted to talk to you, Jon.” I said every day — and by the way, Burt knew that this role was going to make him. We all knew that, you know, and we were preparing something for the audiences with Burt there. And I’d say, “Every — we get these chairs. We don’t need the chairs. We’re sitting, we’re happy here without the chairs. We’re sitting on the rocks and the, you know, logs.” And I said, “But you sit in the chair, and every day for two weeks you sat in my chair. Oh, I don’t care, but can I ask you why?” He said, “I’d be delighted to tell you, Jon.”
He said, “You see, when I sit in your chair, I can see my name in my chair.”