Death of Ned Beatty, unforgettable in Deliverance and Network

Also seen in Superman, The Exorcist 2, The President’s Men, and heard in Toy Story 3, the comedian has died at the age of 83.

It’s a traumatic piece of cinema that we pass on from cinephile to cinephile, as if we hoped to exorcise it by passing it on to our neighbor: the rape scene of Issuance, where a city dweller who has gone canoeing on a river finds himself the victim of two savages inbred in the forest. Nothing trivial or touting about it: the strength of Boorman’s editing is to suggest the horror of the scene, more than to show it. The victim was played by Ned Beatty, unforgettable actor, who died on June 13, at the age of 83, according to Variety.

with his chubby and childish physique, the very designated weakling of the group, contrasting with the muscular Burt Reynolds or the serious nerdy nerds played by Jon Voight and Ronny Cox. Beatty was 35 years old. It was his first film role. “Ned hid a fierce rage beneath his warm appearance, and that rage could erupt instantly. We were all warned. Since he was going to be sodomized, we treated him with deference, much like someone with an illness. incurable”, wrote John Boorman, recalling the filming of Issuance, in his memoirs published in 2003. “It was his first film. He was sailing in unknown waters, in every sense of the word. I had to guide him, as the technique was unfamiliar to him, but he was impeccable from the start. He knew the character. It belonged to him. ” If Boorman remembers with difficulty the filming of the scenes of paddling in the rapids, he passes very quickly on the scene of the rape, easy to shoot, according to him, thanks to the professionalism of Bill McKinley, who plays the “mountain” rapist of Beatty: “He and Ned agreed on what to do. They spent a lot of time together. It felt like the act they were about to perform separated them from the rest of us. We rehearsed. , and we shot this scene like any other scene. It was all perfectly prepared, and executed calmly. “, says the filmmaker. Before concluding, a bit chilling, however, showing that the role had marked Beatty with a hot iron: “Thirty years later, people still accost Ned in the street and say to him: ‘go ahead, mouth like a pig!’

Issuance was thus the first film of this native of Kentucky who possessed a beautiful voice, formed in the choirs of his local church. He almost became a chorister, but turned to the theater, before starring in Boorman’s film which had a huge success and opened the doors to television and cinema for him. After Issuance, he found in particular Boorman for The Exorcist 2: The Heretic (he will parody his role in Is there an exorcist to save the world? in 1990 with Linda Blair and Leslie Nielsen), and will play Otis, Lex Luthor’s silly henchman, in Superman (1978) by Richard Donner and his sequel Superman 2. Among others, he was also the original voice of Lotso Bear in Toy story 3.

He was nominated for an Oscar for what is perhaps his best performance: in the squeaky Network: Hands on television (1976) by Sidney Lumet, with whom he had filmed The President’s Men the same year, he plays – for the time of a single scene – a terrifying media mogul who delivers a hallucinatory speech, with prophetic dimensions, on the omnipotence of television. “The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime”, he belches, channeling through him the terrifying archetype of tycoon Hollywood past, present, and future – all Charles Kanes, Scroogeys, Rockefellers, Elon Musks and Steve Jobs. Unforgettable, forever.

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