Cab driver: “You go Archway? How far up hill in Archway, you know big hill Archway?”.
Me: “You think Archway’s hilly mate. San Francisco, now that place has got some proper hills. Last time I was in San Francisco must’ve been about 1966…no….’67 it was. We were over there filming Bullit. Great film, no-one understands just how much hard work goes into making a movie like that.
I remember some of the conversations we had with the director. He’s there telling us we’ve got to get the car chase all done in one shot. I was like “There’s no way we can fucking get this in one shot!”. I mean I didn’t actually say that, Peter Yates was a notoriously hard guy; if he wanted something doing, you just got on and found a way to bleedin’ do it.”
Cab driver: “Mmmm”
Me: “So there we were, 20 of us sitting around in the hotel trying to figure out how the hell we’re going to get this done. Bear in mind this is the late 60’s, we haven’t got the technology they do now days. We haven’t got any of that CGI stuff. We couldn’t just drive the Mustung over a couple of bumps, whisk it back to some bod in an editing suite somewhere and have him piss around with it. Oh no. We’re there till god knows what time building pulley’s and running round the city trying to scrounge bits of scaffolding to build rigs. It was fucking nightmare truth be told”.
Cab driver: “So how far Archway you go?”
Me: “Anyway. So somehow we figure out a way to do it and then we realise…..we haven’t got enough camera’s!!! We need at least 20 but we’ve only got 16, and 3 of those aren’t even on set! Someone’s got to go and tell Peter Yates.
Obviously no-one wants to do that so we’re doing paper, scissor, stone to see who has to break it to him. Then Steve McQueen comes over, he says; “look boys, I know what’s going on. Pete’s having a tough time, the studio’s on his back to get this thing wrapped up. If you go and tell him we need more camera’s he’ll fucking walk and everything we’ve done so far will be for nothing. Let’s just go with what we’ve got. You get everything set-up and leave the rest to me.”
A gent he was Steve. A bloody good driver as well. You know he done pretty much all of the driving on that film himself? Yeah he said to Peter Yates one day; “You’ve got a stunt driver!? But you’ve got the best stunt driver in Holywood right here.” So he goes over to other driver, paid him a weeks money out of his own pocket and told him to go home!? Then he jumps in the motor and we shoot one of the finest car chases in cinema history. The rest is history as they say.
Cab driver: “Straight on?”
Me: “I worked with Steve a fair bit after that. We became pretty good friends as well. He was a good family man was Steve. We used to take the kids on holiday and to the football. I got him into the Spurs, whenever he was in town we’d always try and catch a game. Not a lot of people know that. Got on well with old Dave MacKay.
Yeah, we all used go out a fair bit back then. Bloody ‘ell could he drink! I’ve never known anyone like it. Used to inhale it he did. Always had a whiskey chaser. Loved his motors, oh yeah, he was always racing. I used to joke that I didn’t know how he could ever drive a car the amount he used to drink! HA! Those were the days. I miss him I do. Don’t make them like him anymore.
Cab driver: “This is the Boogaloo”
Me: “How much is that mate?
Cab driver: “Twenty five.”
Me: “I thought you said twenty?”
Cab driver: “No twenty five”
Me: “You sure? Alright. Here are mate. Have a good night. Bye”