Bill Duke Asks How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: [George Orwell’s] 1984, you said it was a book that would be one of the five books you would take with you if you couldn’t read anything else, I’m curious why?

Bill Duke, Actor, Director, Producer, Author I’m going to get in trouble for this but 1984 is something we’re living today…George Orwell…it was one of my favorite books at the time but when I’m looking at the film and reading the book since this last election and it has a section about the thought police. Have you guys ever read 1984?

Bill Duke: My 40-Year Career on Screen and behind the Camera by Bill Duke

Film Courage: I know parts of it but have not read it entirely. But I’ve heard the whole concept about the thought police.

Bill: The thought police in 1984, you are not allowed to do anything without the permission of the thought police and they determine your reality. They create this war that is not really a war that is happening at all. But they have these soldiers marching and all this stuff…blah, blah, blah, blah. You’re not allowed to have a relationship without their permission. You can’t just fall in love. You have to have their permission go through them.

So Richard Burton is the head of the thought police [“O’Brien”] and John…[John Hurt] he is a citizen and he and this woman fall in love. They keep meeting secretly at her place and his place and are running away.

One day they are caught by the thought police and the helicopters come and the soldiers come and take them to the police headquarters and John [John Hurt as Winston Smith] is lying on the table of the thought police headquarters and there’s a spotlight on the table and he’s lying there naked with his hands tied and his feet tied and this electrical force comes through the table with a switch where if you turn the switch on it electrocutes you and there is water coming down.

Image from Nineteen Eighty-Four, also known as 1984 via MGM (release date 1985)

And so there’s a guy near the button and Richard Burton is sitting there and John is saying “I’m so sorry. I was wrong. I did it. I should have never, ever seen her.” And then an image of Burton says “Well, you know, she said that you started it.” “I don’t know, I’ll never do it again. Please forgive me.” And Richard Burton says “Shhh, it’s okay. I just want to trust but verify.”

So he says to John “How many fingers am I holding up?” And John says “Four.” Richard Burton nods to the guy with the button “Ahhh!!” [Bill imitates John crying out in pain]. Richard Burton says “Stop.”

“What did I do wrong? What I do wrong?”

“How many fingers am I holding up.”


[Bill imitates Richard Burton and nods to begin shocking John].


“What did I do wrong?”

“Shhh…how many fingers am I holding up?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know?”

[Repeats process of shocking him]

John cries out.


“Three? Three?”

“I’m holding up as many fingers as I tell your a$$ I’m holding up. Because it’s got nothing to do with your eyes, nothing to do with your intellect or your mind. When I say it’s three fingers, how many are there?”

“Three! Three!”

“Good boy.”

Alternative facts…isn’t three an alternative fact? [Holds up four fingers].

You will believe what we tell you to believe, nothing to do with your perspective at all. Okay…not me…what can I say?

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Bill Duke directing Lou Diamond Phillips in CREATED EQUAL



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Watch it on Amazon here!

If you’re not quite ready to let go of the Halloween spirit, new indie feature film Mandao of the Dead is now available on Amazon VOD.

Mandao (Man-Day-Oh) of the Dead is about Jay Mandao and his nephew-in-law Jackson who use astral projection to reverse a ghost’s death on Halloween.

This astral comedy is the second feature film Written and Directed by Scott Dunn and produced by Gina Gomez Dunn. It was filmed in 10 days with a production budget of just $13k. The duo’s first feature film, Schlep won Best Comedy/Dramedy at the Hollywood Boulevard Festival and was nominated in 5 different categories at the FirstGlance Film Festival. Schlep is also available on AmazonMandao of the Dead will be released on iTunes and DVD/Blu-ray in January 2019.