Published -October 29th 1983
Photograph by Barry Peake
Colin Vaines talks to John Byrum, director of the new version of W Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge”
IT IS THE lingering memory of the horrors of the First World War that causes Larry Darrell, hero of W Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge”, to give up the security of post-war America and set off on a spiritual and philosophical quest for some meaning in life.
In a field in south-west England recently, those horrors were being recreated on an appallingly realistic depiction of a World War One battleground for Columbia’s new version of the Maugham novel.
Produced by Harry Benn and Bob Marcucci, with Rob Cohen as executive producer, “The Razor’s Edge” is directed by John Byrum, whose previous two films were “Inserts” and “Heart Beat”.
“I always look for the weak parts in any character I’m asked to play. I try to find out what he’s frightened of to justify what he covers up. There’s always a seed there. The trick is to find it.”
Denholm Elliott, accomplished actor and veteran of over 70 films, stars as the eccentric Elliot Templeton in Columbia Pictures’ “The Razor’s Edge”
Denholm Elliot as Elliot Templeton
Filed under Cast, Characters
“We thought too many films today are written by guys sitting in air-conditioned offices with bronze windows and directors who look at story boards and video tapes of other guy’s films. That works fine for them but we wanted to find a different process”
Bill and John travelled around America developing the script.
Bill Murray in Malibu writing The Razor’s Edge (Photo used with permission)
They worked in bars (where the jukebox would be on) , bus stations, restaurants, “we were constantly being interrupted by people saying ‘Hey aren’t you on Saturday Night Live?”. They went to practically every restaurant and bar in Manhattan, New Jersey, upstate, southern New York.”It got so we couldn’t work at home; it was too distracting”.
Since 2005, I’ve been lucky enough to have the help of the Director of The Razor’s Edge, John Byrum.
He has offered plenty of insights into the production of the film, but one question I had never asked until now is how he first met Bill Murray.
“Bill and I are both from the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. Grew up just a few miles apart, but I never heard of him until one night in LA, Jessica Harper and I were watching the then fabled TV show Saturday Night Live and he was making his very first appearance as Chevy Chase’s replacement in the cast. Continue reading