Walter Hill, director of the cult classic the warriors, reflects on the resignation of actor Thomas G. Waites from the film, who said he regretted killing his character early. Though received indifferently upon its release in 1979, the film would go on to become one of the biggest cultural hits of its time, with its plot, quotes, and style influencing films to this day. Hill would direct a number of other action films throughout his career, including: Streets of fire, red heatand 48 hours.and the pilot for HBOs dead wood.
the warriors follows a street gang as they travel 30 miles back to their home territory in New York City after being charged with the murder of a rival gang leader, encountering other gangs and police along the way. One of the main characters, Fox (played by Waites), came to a premature end halfway through the film when he is thrown onto a track during an encounter with the police and is killed by a train. His fellow gang members then escape from the scene and the character is not mentioned too much.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hill admits that Fox’s death was due to Waites being fired due to personal issues. Hill regrets not trying to resolve their differences and says Waites has since apologized for his disruptive behavior on set. Hill also says he rewrote the warriors quick to give Waites’ raw material to Michael Beck’s character, Swan. Read his quote below:
I feel very bad overall. We didn’t get along very well. I’m perfectly prepared to think it was partly my fault. He had problems – he had some problems in his life and it just didn’t work. So I took him out of the movie and did a quick rewrite and gave a lot of his material to the Michael Beck character. I’m not proud of this at all. I think if I had been a better director, I might have gotten through to him better. But he was, we felt, becoming a disruptive force. He has since apologized. He wrote me a few letters.
How The Warriors Would Be Different Without Fox’s Death
Fox is the character charged with murdering the rival gang leader at the beginning of the film, suggesting that he could have played a more central role if Hill and Waites got along better. While it’s impossible to know for sure, Fox could have had the climactic duel with antagonist Luther at the end of the film instead of Swan. Hill’s regret, however, seems to stem more from his relationship with Waites than what Waites could have added to the film.
With a career as long as Hill’s, it’s impossible not to look back and think about what could have been done differently. Nevertheless, with the endless whisper of the warriors remakes, it’s important to remember how impactful the film was and how much effort it took to get there. It’s good that Hill and Waites have finally reconciled, although the question will always be how the warriors could have been without such a tumultuous production, and whether those rough edges made the film what it was.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter