Published October 26, 2006
MOUNT VERNON — What started out as an itch to quench a nagging curiosity has turned into a full-time occupation for Brewton-Parker College instructor Mark Stokes.
Stokes, a drama and film studies instructor, is in the middle of filming a ground-breaking documentary about Walter Clarence “Dub” Taylor, a Western film actor from Augusta. Taylor is credited with acting in more than 500 films and television shows, and was most well-known for his portrayal as Michael J. Pollard’s double-crossing father in Bonnie & Clyde.
However, most who’ve seen Taylor on film never remember his name after the credits roll. The well-respected character actor, with an active, six-decade career, never played a lead role in a major motion picture.
“He pops up in everything,” Stokes said.
Taylor’s last role was a cameo in the 1994 blockbuster, Maverick, starring Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson.
Taylor’s recurrence in popular films without gaining notoriety among the average American moviegoer is what fascinated Stokes in the first place. The Ludowici native first heard Taylor’s name last spring from former Ga. State Rep. Roger Byrd, who’s now BPC’s director of Alumni Relations and an executive producer on the film.
“[Byrd] is the biggest film buff in the world,” Stokes said. “Like most people, I had no idea who he was talking about, and then he showed me a picture of him, and I was like, ‘Oh, that guy.’ In fact, that’s what everyone says about him when they see him: ‘Oh, that guy.’”
That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor will premiere in Taylor’s hometown of Augusta April 14, 2007 at the Morris Museum of Art. Stokes’ “rough cut” is due later this month to Christa Maerker, a documentary filmmaker in Germany who also serves as his advisor for the project. Stokes is currently completing his thesis screenplay for an MFA in Screenwriting at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. The film is part of his coursework.
In producing the film on a $20,000 budget, Stokes and his assistant director/co-executive producer, James Kicklighter, have interviewed several of Taylor’s friends and co-workers, including Don Collier, Dixie Carter, the Grammy-winning Riders in the Sky, and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett (daughter of Roy Rogers). The project has already received affirmation from several in the film industry, including Peter Fonda and Bill Cosby. Negotiations are in the works for it to air on PBS and the Western Channel.
The documentary is the first in-depth look at a man who was content to stay out of the limelight.
“[Taylor] didn’t want awards; that wasn’t his goal. He just wanted to make enough money to support his family and his hobbies – hunting and fishing,” Stokes said. “His family has been very supportive [of the film] and his son, Buck, a western artist, is interviewed in it. Both grandsons, who are highly-respected stunt men in the industry, want to interview with us in L.A.”
To help fund the project, and future projects of its kind at BPC and the surrounding area, Toombs-Montgomery County Board of Tourism received a $10,000 state Department of Community Affairs’ community assistance grant thanks to “a lot of help” from Byrd, Stokes said.
The grant has been used to purchase filming and editing equipment for the school, and Stokes is the first to take advantage of it.
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