Anne Heywood

  1. Sylvia Syms,  Ferry To Hong Kong,  1959.      As UK’s Rank Organisation tried going international (with Curt Jurgens, Orson Welles) the longtime Rank pactee felt the role was hers. Sylvia, however, was flavour of the month. And not the ex-Miss Great Brtitain 1949. And indeed, the ex-Violet Pretty, the real name of the Bisset/Hurley/Zeta-Jones of her day.
  2. Sylvia Syms, The World of Suzie Wong, 1960.       Long lasting flavour…William Holden spurned the project’s first choice. He would never have fallen for Suzie with Anne around –  “too alive, too much sex-appeal.” Ray Stark won, though, about changing his Suzie from France Nuyen to Nancy Kwan in mid-shoot.
  3. Claire  Bloom,  Charly, 1968.        Argued about the script, which Cliff Robertsion was not about  to change… After  losing the films of other TV  plays he had starred in  (The Days of Wine and Roses, etc), he snapped up the Charly rights to ensure retaining the lead. Oscarnight (and a very expensive ad campaign)  proved him right…  and increased his 25% of the take.
  4. Genevieve Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days, 1969.      Producer Hal Wallis went through a myriad of possibilities.  After her masturbation scandal  in  The Fox, Anne backed  off from  expected nudity. “It’s my  bet that  unlike most films about this  period,  Anne – who died under the axe –  will have to bare  a lot more  than her pretty head.”  Wrong.

  5. Carroll Baker, Baba Yaga (US: Devil Witch and Kiss Me Kill Me), Italy-France, 1973. 
    For the titular witch, director Corrado Farina knew what he wanted: “Somone more androgynous and skinnier than Carroll Baker. And that someone was  the Italian singer Ornella Vanoni. She had a masculine face structure. She was the Baba Yaga of Guido Crepax.She made 13 other films, instead. Farina then chose Heywood, a UK actress enjoying a momentary Italian career.  And few years before she had made The Fox which also included a lesbian relationship. She was good, had the right face and we signed her.  I spent an afternoon in a Rome hotel discussing the script with Anne and  her husband [UK producer  of The Fox, Raymond Stross]. There was one line: ‘I will never agree to  make love to an old lesbian like you.’  Stross said: No one calls my wife an old lesbian witch!  Lose that line!’ Apart from this nonsense, she signed the contract.” Stross, however, did not forget the line. He pulled his wife  out of tfhe movie, , sent her to Africa for Trader Hornwith Rod Taylor and paid the penalty-fee for contract-breaking. We had three days to find a substitute! I couldn’t do it as I had already begun the shooting in Milan.Of the few choices available, he chose Baker, for her work – the Actors Studio, Baby Doll, etc – not her looks.  Carroll had the very round and healthy looking American face of a girl raised on a farm and popcorn. Totally opposite to the skeletal image we needed…   But she was good. We shot her from certain angles, using special make-up and she  became a believable underground witch. Wonderful! Never behaved like a star on-set, very committed. Take her famous nude scene (ultimately cut by the censor, not my idea),…  She came to me one day and took off her robe and asked if she should do that in the film.  I must say I was shocked.  I said: Pity you’re doing this for professional reasons and not on a more…  personal basis! Of course, I let her do it.” Thus Baby Doll became Baba.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  5