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!
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.