Whenever I do a film, I always feel that I know the characters and the actor is just acquainted with them, because I have the whole script and relate to the whole thing. I had one scene with Jimmy - when the Benedicts give this big party for Leslie - and I told Jimmy, ‘Go over toward her and as you pass the bar, pour yourself a big drink and drink it down. Pour yourself another one if you like.’ And he said to me, ‘Look, I have this flask in my pocket. Why don’t I go over to the bar and get a glass and pour the stuff from my flask?’ And I said, ‘Forget it, Jimmy. It’s their booze. Pour yourself a big drink of their stuff.’
And I just realized a few years ago, that what Jimmy wanted to do would have been the cutest bit in the movie. His point was that it had to do with pride - he was too proud to take a drink from their table. Usually I think I know a character better than anyone, but what I told Jimmy Dean was damn wrong. His idea was too damn smart, and he didn’t explain it to me, so I didn’t get it then. But he really knew that character, and that’s the best tribute I can pay to his talent as an actor.