The Role Of Leland Was Played Orson Welles ' Life Long Friend

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The role of Jedediah Leland was played Orson Welles’ life-long friend, Joseph Cotten, well-known as a stage, radio, television, and film actor. Beginning acting in the 1920s, Cotten later teamed up with Orson Welles at the Mercury Theater in the 1930s, where the collaboration would bring him stardom. Cotten’s acting style was intense, soft-spoken, and chivalrous with a trace of a Southern drawl mixed in. His height, combined with his wavy-haired looks, unconventional features made him perfect to play offbeat characters in films.

Cotten became Welles’ life-long friend since working together at the Mercury Theatre in the late 1930s to the day Welles died in 1985. Some of Cotten’s best films are Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons
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Welles had been living overseas in Europe for ten years, earning some success there, and later had decided to return to America to work on films.

In 1958, he was instantly offered a role in Touch of Evil, but the leading actor (Charlton Heston) thought he should direct the film, as John Grant elaborates in his book, A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide. “Welles got the job of directing Touch of Evil because of Heston, who, hearing Welles was to be his costar, urged Universal to make him director as well. Universal agreed, but only if the budget for the movie was kept artificially low and Welles himself worked for free. The actors thus had to work for a fraction of their normal rates; even so, Welles had no trouble finding his cast” (Gant 658).

Notwithstanding, many people in show business at that time just wanted to work with Welles on anything creative, he was still that popular, even though he was underappreciated by the studios. This production was going to be run independently by Welles, who despised studio producers taking control of a director’s artistic work. He made it work, was a very meticulous as a director and writer, and did everything under budget and on time. However, Universal Studios felt the film was a disaster, unwatchable, and didn’t make sense of the plot.

Despite the fantastic collaboration of Welles and his cinematographer Russell Metty, an expert on light and shadow, low angles, and skillfully

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