Sony Pictures

End of the Affair Felt "Real" for Kerr and Johnson

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The End of the Affair felt like the beginning of something new for Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson. After being under contract for MGM, the two were ready for a change of pace and a chance to play a wider variety of roles.

Kerr said, “Van is like me. He too had seven lean years in Hollywood – bobby-soxing – and now he is free. It’s going to be a very interesting film to make for he plays a ‘real man’ and I play a ‘real woman.’”

1. The author wasn’t a fan of a lead actor.

  Sony Pictures

Graham Green, who wrote the novel on which the movie was based, wasn’t pleased with the casting of Van Johnson. When the film was first announced, Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons were projected to be the leads. Green thought that the recast was a “disaster.” What solidified it even more in his mind was when he visited the set and saw Johnson chewing gum while off-screen in romantic scenes. While the author may not have liked the leading man, it didn’t stop Van from enjoying himself. He said, “What a dream part. It was probably the happiest picture experience of my entire career.”

2. Kerr and Johnson got along great.

  Sony Pictures

In fact, Kerr was Johnson’s daughter’s godmother. Besides their personal compatibility, the pair also had the same professional tendencies, including showing up to set early with tea and chomping at the bit to get in front of the camera. Director Edward Dmytryk said, “Rarely have I seen two people of comparable skill and talent work together so effortlessly and with so little self-indulgence.”

3. Johnson scared Kerr's relative.

  Sony Pictures

Kerr's aunt and her ten year old second cousin visited the set when they happened to be filming the air raid scene where Johnson is injured. The young girl mistook the fake blood for the real thing and became so upset that she had to leave the set. Van was later able to convince her that it was only make-up.

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