Kirstie Alley Recalls Sidney Poitier Intervening With ‘Sadistic Director’: ‘My Hero’

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Days after the news broke that Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier passed away at the age of 94, actress Kirstie Alley is recalling the late actor intervening with a “sadistic director.”

In one of her latest tweets, Alley opens up about how she did a movie with Sidney Poitier and she claims the “sadistic director” kept making her do dangerous stunts that actually hurt her. “During one scene, Sidney stepped in front of me and told the director, ‘This is the end of you endangering Ms. Alley. She won’t be doing any more of her own stunts.’”

Alley described Sidney Poitier as her hero for standing up for her during the ordeal. According to IMDb, the only film that Alley and Poitier worked on together was 1988’s Shoot to Kill. The film follows an FBI agent who teams up with a tracker to pursue a murderer after he vanishes into the mountains and infiltrates a hiking group. The film was directed by Roger Spottiswoode.

Those who starred alongside Alley and Sidney Poitier in Shoot to Kill include Tom Berenger, Clancy Brown, Richard Masur, Andrew Robinson, and Kevin Scannell. 

Sidney Poitier Previously Spoke About Working on the Set of ‘Shoot to Kill’

During a February 1988 interview with The Morning Call, Sidney Poitier spoke about working on the set of Shoot to Kill. “All of the stuff – running around on the top of that mountain – I did all that stuff. And I was in wonderful, good shape before the movie started. I was a wreck by the time the picture was finished.”

While continuing to chat about his experience in the mountains, Sidney Poitier stated, “The truth is what you saw of Tom [Berenger] and I at the very top of the mountain. When he climbs up through the crevice all the way to the top and I try to scramble behind him. That was a location to which we were taken by helicopter. There were, in June, no roads. There were no pathways. The snow is on the ground. At the side of the peak, there was blue ice.”

The scene notably required a three-day shoot. However, Sidney Poitier admitted that he refused to return after the first day. “I thought it [was] a dangerous situation,” he explained. “And I also thought that the altitude was such that running and jumping and doing quite physical things up there – I was much too old for that kind of stuff. We finished the shooting on a sound stage in Vancouver.”

Although he was originally offered the director position for Shoot to Kill, Sidney Poitier took on an acting role. Speaking about working with Poitier, Spottiswoode added, “If you want advice, you can have it. He doesn’t push it on you. He stuck to acting, except when I asked for advice. I certainly did that. He was very happy being just the actor this time.”