Steve McQueen wasn't interested in playing the good guy

McQueen wanted his character to be "rank."

As the "King of Cool" and a scrapbook of captivating film and television roles, Steve McQueen was a man who knew what he wanted and wasn't afraid of going after it. Of course, a key part of knowing what you want is knowing what you don't want and speaking your mind about it.

According to an interview with The Daily Register, McQueen, well known for playing morally ambiguous or downright bad-to-the-bone characters, did clarify that there was a specific type of role he certainly wasn't in the market for.

He said, "I wouldn't take a part as a sheriff." His reasoning for the decision was concise and, to be honest, a bit humorous. McQueen said, "I don't want to play a goody-gumdrop."

One of McQueen's best-known roles is that of Josh Randall in Wanted Dead or Alive, who McQueen specifically wanted to be, in his own words, "rank." The article stated, "He wanted him to be a friend of no one, a man who did what he had to do, saying 'nuts' to everybody else."

Apparently, the higher-ups were worried that such a depiction of Randall wouldn't be very promising for the popularity of the series so, in an effort to make the character more popular with the audience, they convinced McQueen that Randall couldn't be a full-fledged bad boy.

But after McQueen had earned a certain level of stardom and the series had achieved unequivocal success, McQueen wanted to bring some of that darker energy back into the series. Specifically, McQueen said, "I'm not compromising anymore. From now on, he's going to be real rank."

McQueen might have a point. While it's all well and good to watch a hero save the day, the good guys of Westerns can sometimes feel a little too perfect; Too brave to make a mistake, too good to seem human and realistic. 

In an interview with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, McQueen maintained, "People are people. And that's the way I play my parts. Heroes get scared! I try to use as much authenticity as I can. If four big guys in a bar tell me to go, I go." He added, "I work very hard at my craft." This is a statement that is evident both in the success of Wanted Dead or Alive and in McQueen's career as a whole.

Watch Wanted Dead or Alive on MeTV!

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8 Comments

Runeshaper 2 months ago
Steve McQueen was the King of Cool and I'm glad he played parts the way he wanted.
Marc1943 2 months ago
Steve McQueen's best; Bullitt!!!!!!
BrittReid 2 months ago
'You work your side of the street and I'll work mine'.
Andybandit 2 months ago
WHOA is my favorite Western. I wish it had more seasons.
Zip 2 months ago
I think Josh Randall had just the right balance of "rank" and "goody-gumdrop."
GOOSEYGOOSE9 2 months ago
Steve McQueen is the anti-hero in the movies never so few the magnificent seven as well as the honeymoon machine and tv wanted dead or alive who is the announcer of the four star fanfare at end of four star shows please air fully restored and digitally remastered episodes of the series wanted dead or alive
LoveMETV22 GOOSEYGOOSE9 2 months ago
What they air not only on MeTV but their other networks as well is what is available to them in digital form from wherever they source their broadcast rights. That includes the
"Svengoolie Series" they show on Saturday nights.

If you mean:
"please air fully restored and digitally remastered episodes of the series"

A DVD or Blu-ray version of the series, ( not just Wanted Dead or Alive, but any other series they broadcast as well), thats not likely.

You can always use the:

link located at the top of the page. You would most likely get the same answer, but worth a try if you're interested.
LoveMETV22 GOOSEYGOOSE9 2 months ago
They have a few administrators/moderators that monitor the Svengoolie blogs (which is the same commenting system used here on Stories and Quizzes). Those individuals have said on occasion(s) that everything aired is in digital format, not a dvd or blu-ray copy of any shows or movie.
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