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The Sand Pebbles movie review with pics from the film
[excerpt from Steve McQueen - Portrait of an American Rebel
by Marshall Terrill - Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1993]
McQueen's other costar, character actor Mako, saw another side of the movie star. The two men first met on the lot of 20th Century-Fox. "He seemed like a quiet, unassuming type of fellow," recalls Mako. "He was wearing blue jeans and a blue polo shirt and sweat socks and sneakers. He did possess confidence and charisma, but he was very quiet." Mako was a newcomer to feature films and was portraying Po-Han, a friendly local who befriends Jake Holman on the ship. Mako was pretty much left to do his own acting without much direction from Wise. McQueen, however, liked his scenes acted out before him. During a scene in the engine room, Mako scratched his head during a rehearsal. "Are you going to scratch your head in the scene!" McQueen asked him. Unaware that he was doing anything out of the ordinary, Mako responded, "I don't know." McQueen thought Mako might steal the scene with the very act of scratching his head, something he certainly did with Yul Brynner on The Magnificent Seven. Now that Steve was a movie star, no actor, big or small, was ever going to steal a scene from him.
Mako learned later on when seeing the film for the first time that McQueen "really impressed me. Not so much when you're working with him in person, but when you see his work on screen. There is little wasted emotion. He came to know the camera so well. His work was so subtle and right on the money. I think that he was unique in the fact
that he chose to do less on the screen. By doing less, he brought simplicity on the screen, and at the same time he was very much the image of the American man."
Special thanks to the Sand Pebbles Website [C. Garcia], without whom, this page would not have been possible:)