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Sometimes second choices get the choice roles...(Imagine Selleck as Indiana Jones)

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    Snatching fame from the Jaws of obscurity

    Sometimes second choices get the choice roles

    By BRUCE WESTBROOK
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    Steven Spielberg knew what he wanted: a grizzled, nail-hard tough guy to play shark hunter Quint in 1975's Jaws. So naturally he turned to Lee Marvin. The Oscar-winning star of action films such as The Dirty Dozen had just the right chiseled face and angry edge.

    Only one problem: Marvin wasn't interested.

    So Spielberg sought his second choice: Sterling Hayden. He had played deranged Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove and corrupt cop Capt. McCluskey in The Godfather.

    Another problem: Hayden wasn't available.

    Then Jaws producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown stepped in. They pitched Robert Shaw, an actor who had served them well in 1973's best-picture Oscar winner The Sting.

    Shaw was that film's fierce, indomitable gang boss, and he had played a rock-hard Russian spy in From Russia With Love, warring on a train with Sean Connery's 007 in one of the series' best fights.

    Shaw had the chops — and finally he got the Jaws job. He may have been Spielberg's third choice, but he became part of history as Jaws made the then-biggest summer-film splash in Hollywood history.

    Such tidbits arise in The Making of Jaws, a two-hour look at the film's creation on a two-disc 30th-anniversary Jaws DVD, new in stores this week. It also reveals that future Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss wasn't Spielberg's first pick to play marine biologist Matt Hooper in Jaws. A big fan of Texas-made The Last Picture Show, Spielberg had considered that film's Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms, then offered the part to Jon Voight, who turned it down.

    Spielberg also looked elsewhere to cast Police Chief Martin Brody before settling for Roy Scheider, fresh from The French Connection.

    Despite so many runners-up in roles, Jaws' casting chemistry proved crucial. While hunting a great white shark near a New England coastal town, Shaw, Scheider and Dreyfuss bonded magnificently, comparing scars and drunkenly singing songs in the night before battling a monster in the light.

    We'll never know how Jaws might have played without those three, but we do know they're not alone as fall-back choices. Hollywood history is filled with plum parts that could have gone other ways. Here are just a few:

    • Spielberg first wanted Tom Selleck to play Indiana Jones in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Selleck was committed to his Magnum, P.I. TV series. Nick Nolte reportedly turned down the role before it went to Harrison Ford, who stumbled into a franchise, starring in two additional Indiana Jones movies.

    • Before an unknown Dustin Hoffman was cast in 1967's The Graduate, director Mike Nichols considered matinee idol Robert Redford to play dazed scholar Benjamin Braddock. But Redford didn't screen-test well, so Charles Grodin got the part — then backed out.

    • Jeff Goldblum was a snug fit for the obsessive, twitchy scientist in 1986's remake of The Fly. But Michael Keaton got the part first, then turned it down.

    • Peter Jackson began filming his Lord of the Rings trilogy with Irish actor Stuart Townsend in the key role of Aragorn. After several days, Jackson realized Townsend, then 28, was too young for the part, and he quickly cast Viggo Mortensen, then 40. Sean Connery also rejected the role of Gandalf, which went to Ian McKellen.

    [IMG]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-3]Associated Press [/size][/font][font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-3]New Line [/size][/font][font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-2]Sean Connery, left, turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ian McKellen made the trilogy's Gandalf role his own. [/size][/font]

    • Director Billy Wilder first wanted Charlton Heston to star in 1953's Stalag 17, then wound up with William Holden, who won a best actor Oscar for the role.

    • Before Sharon Stone became a sensation in 1991's Basic Instinct, Julia Roberts was offered the femme fatale part but turned it down.

    • Forget Halle Berry's Catwoman fiasco of last year. Also forget Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt, who played Catwoman for the '60s Batman. No one has filled the feline role better than leather-wrapped, whip-cracking Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992's Batman Returns. Yet she was a second choice, after first pick Annette Bening became pregnant.

    • Although known for gangster roles, James Cagney was first cast as the title hero of 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood — but left its studio. Errol Flynn then got the part.

    • Future Beverly Hillbilly Buddy Ebsen played the silvery Tin Man early in production of 1939's The Wizard of Oz. But when Ebsen became ill from aluminum dust in his makeup, Jack Haley got the part.

    • All-time box-office champ Titanic almost set sail with Gwyneth Paltrow and Matthew McConaughey in the romantic roles of Rose and Jack. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio then got the parts.

    [IMG]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-3]20th Century Fox [/size][/font]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-2]Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will always be remembered as the doomed lovers in the megahit Titanic.[/size][/font]

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-2] [/size][/font][IMG]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-3]Associated Press photos [/size][/font]
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=-2]Matthew McConaughey turned down the Titanic role of Jack. Gwyneth Paltrow was originally chosen for the role of Rose in Titanic. [/size][/font]

    • Martin Landau was offered the Spock role on TV's Star Trek but declined, so it went to Leonard Nimoy. William Shatner was the third choice as Captain Kirk, behind Lloyd Bridges and Jeffrey Hunter.

    bruce.westbrook@chron.com

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3228664
  2. TruBlueCowboy

    TruBlueCowboy New Member

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    I think Michael Keaton would have made a better Fly. I could never see the "wholesome" Julia Roberts giving the same performance as Sharon Stone did in Basic Instinct.

    I'm glad both Connery and Townsend didn't get in Lord of the Rings. I can imagine better Aragorns than Viggo Mortensen, but he's still much better than Towsend. McKellen, however, nailed the Gandalf role and as much as I like Connery's movies and acting, I couldn't imagine anyone else..

    James Cagney seems like a wierd Robin Hood, and I'm glad Charleton Heston didn't get the Stalag 17 role because William Holden is one of my favorite actors ever.

    Just because I'm a movie nut, here's some other "could have been" casting stories that I've heard or read:

    * Paramount Pictures originally wanted Francis Ford Coppola to cast a non-Italian as Michael Corleone. They wanted Robert Redford. :eek: The role for Don Corleone was down to either George C. Scott, Marlon Brando or Laurence Olivier because Coppola thought only the best living actor could provide the presence Don Corleone needed, and he thought those three were the best actors during that time. I also think that Robert DeNiro was carefully considered for a role in The Godfather but was either rejected or had a Scorses project. Coppola brought him back for Part II when he realized he would be the perfect young Vito.

    * People such as Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Jenner tried out for the first Superman movie and were considered. If you watch the Superman DVD, they have old tests on tape of some of the actors and actresses who tried out for Superman and Lois Lane.

    * I think Tim Matheson was another guy that Spielberg and Lucas considered for Indiana Jones. I thought that was kind of wierd because when I see him and Karen Allen together, I think of Animal House.

    * Sylvester Stallone was originally going to be the Beverly Hills Cop, but it was given to Eddie Murphy and turned into a comedy.

    * The Wachoski Brothers originally tried to get Johnny Depp to be Neo in The Matrix and had envisioned him as the hero all along, not Keanu Reeves.

    * Bill Murray's role in Ghostbusters was meant for Jon Belushi but he died and Slimer was a tribute to him.

    * Jean Claude Van Damme (spelling?) was the original alien in the Predator movie. Not only was he much shorter than the guy they settled on, but the Predator looked stupid as hell in the costume they designed for Van Damme. He had some kind of ant-eater head. If you buy the Predator Special Edition DVD, you can see early test scenes of the original Predator concept with Van Damme in the outfit. That movie was almost ruined by a terrible design of the alien, but the director showed the studio what he had so far, minus any detailed shots of the alien, and they gave him the extra money he needed to re-do the Predator we now know.

    * Harrison Ford was originally offered the Jack Ryan role in The Hunt for Red October instead of Alec Baldwin but turned it down because he said he was giving up action roles. After a few flops in the drama business, he took them back up on their offer for the second Tom Clancy movie, Patriot Games, because Baldwin had a feud with the movie studio and wouldn't return.

    * When George Lucas shot Star Wars, he never intended for Anythony Daniels to be the voice of C3P0 on-screen, just when they were filming, just like Darth Vader was later voiced over. The production convinced him to keep Anthony Daniels voice acting because they thought it was better than anything else they had heard.
  3. junk

    junk I've got moxie

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    I think Kurt Russell read for Han Solo. Can you imagine Captain Solo and Captain Ron being the same person?
  4. GTaylor

    GTaylor Gif Dude

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    I remember Michael Madsen being considered for the role in Pulp Fiction that went to John Travolta, supposedly Madsen was kicking himself from here to eternity for turning it down, and he did so because he didn't want to play a bad guy anymore.

    I'm to assume he learned his lesson since he played a bad guy in Donnie Brasco and Kill Bill 1&2
  5. TruBlueCowboy

    TruBlueCowboy New Member

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    I think Christopher Walken did too. ;)

    Has everyone here has seen Kevin Spacey's hilarious Star Wars casting call skit on SNL? Christopher Walken trying out for Han Solo. Walter Matthau as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Richard Dreyfuss as C3PO. Holy spaceballs that's a hilarious skit!

    I found a link with the video if anyone is interested:

    http://www.scenebyscene.net/iv/anhscreentest.html
  6. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    For Lonesome Dove, James Garner was offered the part of Augustus McCrae, but either he turned it down or this is when he was still recovering from his heart surgery. They wanted Robert Duvall to play the part of Woodrow Call, but Duvall said he had already played the terse, angry type and wanted to play the comedic role of McCrae. So, they moved Duvall to that part and finally turned to Tommy Lee Jones to play Call.

    At least that's how I heard it.

    Garner later went on to play Call in Streets of Laredo, the sequel to Lonesome Dove.

    Reportedly, when Larry McMurtry wrote the book back in the early 1970s, he envisioned John Wayne and Henry Fonda playing the two main roles.

    Speaking of John Wayne, he turned two major roles. He was the first choice for Dirty Harry Calahan, but he reportedly thought the language was too bad. He also turned down the part of Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke and recommended James Arness.

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