Graham Fuller: Did you ever have the urge to direct a movie yourself?
Robert Mitchum: No. I’ve never had the urge to be an analyst or a stunt pilot either. (a) You have to get there in the morning before the actors do; (b) you have to stay there until they’re gone; (c) you have to wrangle with the producer and the front office; (d) you have to sit in a darkened room and watch the film frame by frame by frame. You can hire an albino to do that.
GF: Did people ever approach you to direct?
GF: You just didn’t fancy it?
GF: But you wrote scenes in the movie occasionally. I’m thinking particularly of Macao , the Josef von Sternberg movie that Nicholas Ray took over.
RM: I was pretty well compromised, wasn’t I? I walked in there and Nick and Jane [Russell] handed me a pad of paper and some pencils. That was it. I went to the dressing room and I wrote in the morning, and then we had it typed up and we shot it in the afternoon.
GF: Did you ever want to have a career as a writer?
RM: I wrote special material for night-club performers and I had worked as a junior writer at Warner Bros. Writing is a very lonely proposition. Every time I submit something, I would hand it in and run because I didn’t want to be around when the criticism came.