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Remembering Eagles Guitarist Glenn Frey’s First Film, ‘Let’s Get Harry’

Remembering Eagles Guitarist Glenn Frey's First Film, 'Let's Get Harry'

First, there was the popular video — a mini-movie, really —
for his hit single, ”Smuggler’s Blues.” Then there was his well-received
guest spot as a seedy pilot on the Miami Vice episode based on the same song.
And now, Glenn Frey, the singer-composer who continues to soar on the charts
long after leaving The Eagles, has a key supporting role in a feature film: “Let’s
Get Harry,” an action-adventure set to open Friday nationwide.

What’s next? The romantic lead in a Hollywood blockbuster?

“If I could stretch that far,” Frey said a few days ago in
his Inn on the Park suite, “I would like that. But with my limited experience
in this field, I’m looking for safe parts right now. I don’t want to overextend
myself, or have a French accent, or do something I might not be able to handle
at this early stage of my acting development.”

In “Let’s Get Harry,” Frey plays Eddie Spencer, one of five
small-town men who embark on a renegade rescue mission when their best friend,
Harry, is kidnapped by drug smugglers while working on a dam project in South
America. Led by a ruthlessly efficient mercenary played by Robert Duvall, the
working-class commandos make their way into the wilds of Colombia.

When they reach the den of the drug smugglers, however,
there’s some doubt as to whether Frey’s character, a cocaine abuser, will
withstand the temptation of being near so much nose candy. With his background
as a musician, Frey joked, “Maybe the producers thought I knew a little bit
more about this subject than other people.

“But that didn’t bother me. The thing that was attractive
about Spence was, he’s just a regular guy with a cocaine problem. And I think
there’s a lot of people like that. You know, you have the classic line, where
Spence says, ‘It’s cool, I can handle it.’ Which is what every junkie says.
Even when they’re doing five grams a day, they’ll say, ‘It’s cool, I’m not
addicted, everything’s fine.’”

Frey, a bearishly-built Detroit native with a lightly
sandpapered voice and an ingratiating bent for self-mockery, looks at “Let’s Get
Harry” as an educational experience. He was especially eager to work with such
respected actors as Duvall and Gary Busey. His enthusiasm waned only slightly
when he found himself unnerved by Duvall’s mercurial mood swings.

According to Frey, Duvall would often shatter the silence on
the set in Mexico by shouting, without warning, “‘What am I doin’ in a movie
with a rock star!?!’” Frey couldn’t tell for certain whether Duvall was joking.
But the animosity, real or affected, brought a certain vigor to the scene where
Duvall punishes Frey for opening a door without first determining who’s on the
other side.

“Yeah,” Frey said with a grin, “we had a real good time
doing that one. That particular day, Duvall wouldn’t talk to me. In between
takes, he wasn’t around — he’d be standing outside in the hall, pacing back and
forth. And then we’d do another take, and I’d open the door — and he’d slam me
up against the wall. I think he wanted to do that anyway. It was always, ‘A
(expletive deleted) rock star! I’d work with a million Gary Buseys before a
rock star!’

“And then, when they filmed my reaction shot, he held this
knife this far away from my throat, and yelled, ‘I could kill you right now,
you . . . punk!’ And then he just let me go. They started rolling the camera —
and I wasn’t acting. I was completely in shock.

“That was kind of interesting. But it wasn’t exactly fun.”

Read the rest of Leydon’s profile of Glenn Frey at his Moving Picture Blog.

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