From Ophuls’ DIVINE.
Here’s a good bit from the Max Ophuls interview featured at the back of Faber’s 1974 book Masterworks of the French Cinema. I figured not everybody can get their hands on this, and it may not be worth buying the book secondhand just for this bit. The screenplays which make up the bulk of the book (AN ITALIAN STRAW HAT, LA GRANDE ILLUSION, LA RONDE, THE WAGES OF FEAR), translated from French and printed in a non-traditional format, are not all that useful to most people in this age of DVDs, but the appendices have some nice stuff ~
“But I really became a producer by accident. One night I flopped so terribly in a dramatic part that the next day the Manager of the Dortmund Theatre summoned me to his office. As I was paid for playing both comic and dramatic roles, he told me, I would have to take a 50 per cent salary cut. To soothe my indignation he hesitantly suggested an alternative. I could stop playing altogether and become a Regisseur, a director, keeping my original salary. My actor’s pride was deeply insulted — but a few days later I accepted.”
To justify his acceptance to himself, he argued at the time that in his new position he would make actors play their parts exactly the way he himself would have played them. “So through the actor I’ll prove that really and truly I should have played the part myself and that I am a much better actor than anybody had thought…”