Veteran movie tough guy Robert Duvall was terrified of his latest co-stars - two mean lions.

The actor kept his distance from the beasts while shooting SECONDHAND LIONS with SIR Michael Caine and Haley Joel Osment, and he got a taste of just how intimidating they could be when one broke free on the set in Texas.

He recalls, "I have a legitimate fear of those things anyway. They are dangerous animals. One got loose one day and went after a journalist on the set.

"I think it saw a pig or a dog and it broke free. For a few minutes it was terrifying and this journalist was really scared. I was just glad it wasn't me.

"The little woman who doubled for Haley Joel in the film grew up with that lion, so when the lion jumped on her and grabbed her we were told it was protecting her. It looked like it was fighting with her.

"You just know that these things could turn into killers at any instant. I have a healthy respect for them. They are wild animals."

17/09/2003 21:17