O Lucky Man was Lindsay Anderson's 1973 follow up to his Cannes Palme D'or winning masterpiece If..., released in 1968. An epic fable of success and acceptance, from the day I first saw it almost twenty years ago it became a firm curious favourite of mine. I wrote a book on the movie a few years back and interviewed Jeremy Bulloch, who appears in three roles throughout the sprawling epic. More well known for playing Boba Fett in Star Wars, Bulloch has a famous scene in a hospital bed, pictured above.
Below is my Q and A with Bulloch, featured in my book, Classic Film Series: O Lucky Man (reprinted this year).
You had had quite a long career by the time O Lucky Man! came along in 1973. How did you come to be cast in the film?
I had worked with Lindsay Anderson before on a commercial as well as being asked to be in the theatre production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
What was your view on Lindsay Anderson when you first met him?
I liked him immediately. I got the impression that he had to be comfortable with the actors around him.
When you read the scene when you would be playing the pig man in the bed, what were your initial views?
I didn't realise exactly what I was going to look like in the hospital ward. Even to this day people remember that scene of me with my head grafted on to a pig’s body.
Where do you think O Lucky Man! stands in Anderson’s career and as a part of British screen history?
Lindsay had already proved himself both in film and theatre. The film was both praised and criticised. I had worked with Malcolm many years before in a soap opera called "The Newcomers." I enjoyed my time on the film with some great actors and I felt honoured to be part of it.
Do you have any funny stories regarding the making of the film?
No really funny stories except at the very end of the film when I had the sandwich board. I stood outside the cinema in Leicester Square as the public came out. The camera was hidden and Lindsay asked me to approach the cinema goers. I was there for hours. I was punched but not hard. What hurt me most was the way the general public swore as I walked towards them. F Off! You filthy F!!cker! Get a bath!!! At the end of the night shoot Lindsay asked me what he thought of the reaction I got. I said that I got the response I expected. Lindsay stood looking at me and finally he said "I think we'll come back tomorrow night just to get the right look when you turn towards Malcolm." I couldn't believe it but Lindsay was right in the end. The final look to Malcolm felt just right. I wasn't looking forward to returning to the Leicester Square Odeon but luckily I didn't get too much verbal abuse.
I was about to ask if it was true that you got punched in that scene…
I was hoping that Lindsay would not entice people to punch me and film it. That would be physical abuse.
Finally, how do you look back on O Lucky Man as a film?
As I mentioned before it was both praised and criticised and my part was the alter-ego of Malcolm McDowell's character.
You can get my book on the film through Amazon. Also wroth getting is the 2 DVD edition of O Lucky Man itself, which is getting more collectible now.