In one short scene with minimal dialogue, viewers actually got to learn exactly the type of character Luke was. This part in the film was the iconic boxing scene that took a total of three days for Paul Newman and George Kennedy to nail. It was definitely much harder to film than it was to watch!
You would think that acting wouldn’t entail actual punches and hits but these dedicated actors were willing to do just about anything to achieve a phenomenal take. As such, the two exceeded expectations in their efforts to perfect such a scene.
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.
He Saw It Coming
Paul Newman knew his performance and the overall film would find success. He knew just what was coming, and what was coming would be greatness. Newman definitely knew that this film was headed for great things.
Apparently, Paul Newman was so sure of himself that he even made conversation with a visitor on set and said: "There's a good smell about this, we're gonna have a good picture." You can bet it was definitely that and more, Paul!
Race Car Driving
Paul Newman was truly a phenomenal man full of talent as he wasn't just skilled in acting, but in so many other areas as well. One of his greatest skills was in the race car driving, a hobby that Paul first ever found any grace in.
Newman was actually able to win a number of national championships as a race car driver in the Sports Car Club of America. His racing name was P.L. Newman and apparently, he said he would only the sport when he started to embarrass himself. Additionally, Newman used the television coverage he got from racing as a platform to help raise awareness for his foundation and charity racing events in his life.
The Eyes Have It All
More than his phenomenal acting and good looks, there was one particular detail about Paul Newman that made the film what it is today – those sparkling blue eyes. Newman's eyes were so distinct that they really lit up the films he starred in.
Those eyes were so important that the producers even pushed to re-shoot a number of scenes to focus more on Newman's baby blue eyes. For them to spend more on re-shooting must have meant that those eyes were a VITAL part of the overall film. They believed that more coverage of his eyes would mean more profit for the film. I guess they made the right decision!