People 1/17/94

BALANCING ACT

Robert Duvall feels a strong kinship with the gentlemanly Cuban retiree he plays in Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. He even wears his character's two-tone shoes. "I love Latin culture," says Duvall, 63, who speaks Spanish and studies the tango, Argentina's national dance. For this movie, Duvall saturated himself in Miami's Cuban culture. "I went to social clubs, bingo halls and dances, soaking in the aura, the Spanish gentleman thing," he says. "I'd grab something and use it on the set the next day." But the inspiration for his Latin-style dance, which opens and closes the film, comes from New York City, where Duvall makes his home. "I know a Cuban guy who one New Year's Eve danced with a glass of water on his head. That kind of control is what I emulated in the movie."

Thanks to Jamaica for sending this article.