Though it might seem a bit sexist, the director had all the good intentions of banning women on the set to truly encapsulate the environment of a prison. He even went as far as not allowing any wives to come during filming. All of this, he believed, would contribute to the film’s authenticity.
The director was so stern on this regulation that he even made Joy Harmon, the actress who played “The Girl” in the very notable car wash scene, stay in a different location while she wasn’t needed for the production yet. Pretty intense!
Newman’s Own Foundation
As we mentioned earlier, Paul Newman was truly an honorable man. He was so remarkable even beyond his career, as he gave time to put up his own foundation, Newman's Own Foundation. He started it in 1982 with a single salad dressing and chose to donate all of the profits to charity. Now, the foundation produces everything from tomato sauces to salad dressings and even frozen pizzas! All the after-tax money from their sales goes straight to the foundation which is then circulated to charities around the world.
He truly had a heart for the less fortunate and that legacy still lives on today. The foundation even recently reached its own milestone of $530 million in donations! The man surely succeeded in his vision of helping thousands of charities and millions of people around the world.
Another Hollywood Starlet
Hollywood superstar, Jo Van Fleet, was the theatre, film, and television actress chosen to play the role of Luke's dying mother. Though she had all the talent, the producers apparently did not have her as their initial choice.
Apparently, Bette Davis rejected the offer because it was too minor of an acting role. Because the Hollywood diva had better things to do, Jo Van Fleet ended up taking on the film. Van Fleet was mostly known for playing roles of much older women with a career that spanned over three decades.
The Unforgettable Car Wash Scene
Joy Harmon, playing "The Girl", truly became an unforgettable face due to her cameo in the Car Wash Scene. It was indeed a display of cinematography and directing excellence as the scene came off seeming perfectly rehearsed. Although in the actual production, the footage of Joy Harmon naively washing the car and the prisoners’ reactions were filmed separately. Apparently, Rosenberg gave Harmon specific instructions on her movements and expressions that she should make while filming.
Can you believe this iconic scene, though only having a short coverage in the film, actually took the crew three whole days to film? The hard work of the director and the crew truly spelled out anyway as the scene was made to perfection.
We Expected Joanne Woodward
Academy Award and Globe Award Winner, Joanne Woodward, was supposedly expected to land a role in the film, especially being Paul Newman's wife. The two starred in 10 feature films together, as well as 5 films directed by Newman himself, so it definitely came as a surprise that she didn't participate at all.
She probably couldn't land a role in the film as there was a tight limit as to how many female roles were available. Since the film had a very androcentric focus, there wasn’t much room left for other women to take part.