Martin Landau begins this "documentary" by telling us, "One of the
things I said to Tim (Burton, director) was 'what you want me to play
here is a 74-year-old morphine addict, an alcoholic and a guy who had
violent mood swings? That would be hard enough, but the character
happens to be Bela Lugosi, who everyone knows. This could be the worst
thing that ever happened to me!"
Well, Landau handled the assignment superbly, as anyone who has seen
the movie would agree. In fact, he won the Oscar for "best supporting
actor" for this role. So.....I guess it was far from the worst thing
ever to happen to the veteran actor.
Special-effects guru Rick Baker contributed a number of things to this
"behind-the-scenes feature" and said when he heard about this film
being made "I just HAD to do it. I would have done it for free, being a
big fan of Burton, Lugosi and Boris Karloff.
Lugosi, as shown in the movie, certainly wasn't a fan of Karloff, but
most people were.
Attempts to help Landau with the strong Hungarian accent of Lugosi was
not easy to do. They couldn't find dialect tapes. What Landau wound up
doing was watching all 35 of Lugosi's films, and more, to get the
accent down. He also went into drug and alcohol rehab places and
noticed all small many of the people were, where the effects of the
abuse and shrunken people. Thus, he tried to make Lugosi look small and
frail in those "institution" scenes in the "Ed Wood" film.
"Lugosi was a sad, lonely figure," mused Landau.
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