Being John Wayne’s Son Doesn’t Make It Any Easier To Get Him Into Your Movies
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Being John Wayne’s Son Doesn’t Make It Any Easier To Get Him Into Your Movies

In Scott Eyman’s biography “John Wayne: The Life and Legend”, Mike Wayne recalls that there was one advantage to running the Batjac. “I can get John Wayne to read the script without bidding me a million dollars,” he said. “I’m always competing for it with other studios, but I can get free readings.”

According to Mike, he knew what his father liked, and was always aware that, in the end, The Duke was in charge.

“He’s used to seeing a finished script; I would never give him anything unless it’s a complete treatment or a complete script. As far as he’s being a boss, he’s the boss in whatever movie he’s in. In movies, the most important elements are finally figured out and get his way. Running Batjac is no more difficult [for me] than it would be for anyone else.”

Batjac produced 26 theatrical features between 1952 and 1974. Three of these earned Academy Award nominations (“Hondo”, “The High and the Mighty”, and “The Alamo”), but these films were largely mainstream without aspiration to do anything. more than entertaining. In other words, they are vintage John Wayne movies, whether he stars in them or not. As Mike put it, “The fact that he’s so professional makes it easier on him, but there’s never any doubt about where the muscles are. That’s both the good and the bad thing about John Wayne: he dominates everything he comes in contact with because of his charisma, his star energy.” So it’s no surprise that Batjac never made another film after The Duke’s death in 1979.