Talking Pictures #20: Allan Warnick, Supporting Actor in CHINATOWN

This is the second part of our CHINATOWN series where we discuss the making of Roman Polanski’s 1974 masterpiece, and today’s guest is character actor Allan Warnick. CHINATOWN is Allan’s best-known role, and if you’ve seen the film, you remember Allan from the perfect and very funny scene in the Hall of Records where he plays the stuck-up clerk who tells Jack Nicholson that “This is not a lending library”.

Allan worked on several other films during the era, starting with Dennis Hopper’s EASY RIDER follow-up THE LAST MOVIE and then appearing in films like MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED by Peter Yates alongside actors like Harvey Keitel and Raquel Welch, POSSE by and with Kirk Douglas, ROCKY II by and with Sylvester Stallone – and also in the CHINATOWN sequel THE TWO JAKES, directed by Jack Nicholson, where he appears as another snooty clerk. In our conversation, Allan shares his memories of the CHINATOWN shoot and his other appearances as an actor, and he provides a captivating glimpse of the era itself – including a run-in with Charles Manson!

Allan Warnick.

Make sure to also listen to my interview with CHINATOWN assistant director Hawk Koch in Talking Pictures #19. The third CHINATOWN interview, a conversation with editing expert Bobbie O’Steen, the wife of late CHINATOWN editor Sam O’Steen, will be online shortly. The CHINATOWN interviews were conducted in connection with our German-language podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, please check out episode #56, which features an in-depth discussion of Polanski’s film.

So without any further ado, here’s Allan Warnick recalling how he became an actor.

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

Photos courtesy of Allan Warnick.
Thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.

Christian Genzel works as a filmmaker and journalist. He has written and directed the psychological thriller DIE MUSE/The Muse plus several music videos and short films. His mystery short CINEMA DELL' OSCURITÀ was nominated for the 13th Street Shocking Short Award in 2017. He is currently working on a documentary on cult filmmaker Howard Ziehm called FINDING PLANET PORNO. As a journalist, Genzel has been published in/at Film & TV Kamera, Celluloid, 35 Millimeter, GameStar, Neon Zombie, and the All-Music Guide. He has conducted in-depth interviews with numerous filmmakers, musicians, game designers, and others.