Rutanya Alda — best known as Carol Ann in Mommie Dearest — just told me a remarkable story.
Rutanya was Mia Farrow‘s stand-in for the 1968 suspense classic Rosemary’s Baby.
When Mia was late to shoot a bit where she and a girlfriend go to see the Off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks, director Roman Polanski decided to start shooting with Rutanya standing in.
Part of the scene had screen icons Joan Crawford and Van Johnson (as themselves) being spotted by Rosemary in the lobby for some reason.
But that paled compared with the off-screen shenanigans.
“Joan came over to me and said, ‘Hello! I’m Joan Crawford!’
“She thought I was Mia Farrow!”
Or maybe she just knew she’d just spotted the future Carol Ann.
Another wacky mishap happened when Van Johnson first spotted Polanski, particularly his striking schnoz.
“Who’s that, Pinocchio?” quipped Johnson, completely clueless.
This sent the excitable Polanski into a tizzy of horror.
“Get off my set, everybody!” he shrieked, clearing all the stars and non-stars away.
Joan obliged, but not before grandly intoning, “You should learn to have the manners of a William Castle.”
(Castle was the movie’s producer and had already directed Joan in enjoyable B flicks like Strait-Jacket and I Saw What You Did.)
When Mia finally showed up, Polanski decided the whole scene was not worth doing.
I guess by cutting Crawford, he made Satan’s presence in the film even more mysterious.