Denholm Elliott

  1. EG Marshall, Interiors, 1978.     This one beats all other Woody Allen casting stories.. .Instead of one of his famous five seconds meetings in New York, Denholm could only be reached by phoned at a set hour at a certain bar on Ibiza- and he tried to prove his American accent by reciting a kiddy’s poem. “I’m on the phone to a bar in Ibiza,” recalled Woody, “and he’s saying ‘Hickory, Dickory Dock’..  .and it’s totally English.”  Allen said he would  think about it. And finally called him back… ten years later for September.
  2. George Cole, Minder, TV, 1979-1994.      The titular Dennis Waterman wanted Elliott as his shady boss, Arthur Daley. (Gabriel Byrne would have warned him: “Never act with children, dogs, or Denholm Elliott”). Then  exec producer Verity Lambert  asked Cole to update of his Flash Harry character in  the 50s’ St. Trinian’s comedies – never realising the Mockney Cole would become the true  soul of the series
  3. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  4. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.   
  5. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  6. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.   
  7. John Stratton, Doctor Who #140: The Two Doctors, TV, 1985.       The two Time Lords were Doc2 Patrick Troughton and Doc 6, the short lived Colin Baker. Shockeyes were more plentiful. The 22 prospects wannabe were: Elliott, Stratton, Joss Ackland, George Baker, Ian Bannen, Brian Blessed, James Ellis, Frank Finlay, Ronald Fraser, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Donald Houston, Freddie Jones, Jeremy Kemp, Roy Kinnear, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Aubrey Morris, Donald Pleasence, Peter Sallis, George Sewell, Peter Vaughan.

  8. Jack Warden, September, 1986. 
    In his 2020 memoir,  Apropos of Nothing, Woody Allen  called the film “a drama that asks the question: Can a group of tortured souls come to terms with their sad lives when directed by a guy who should still be writing mother-in-law jokes for Broadway columnists?”   The Bergmanesque chamber piece was more of a chamber pot. Woody shot it, hated it, shot it again – losing most of his stars to other movies. Except Mia Farrow (pregnant by the end of shooting). And Denholm – by now in in Charles Durning’s old role of Mia’s neighbour, while Warden took over Denhom’s previous character. Nobody seemed to tell Elliott that the film was being totally re-made. “I was absolutely bemused by it,” he told Woody’s next   Brit import, Ian Holm. “I’d done all my lines and was in my hotel room packing… Then, Woody phones and says I haven’t finished… I did an extra three weeks playing – it seemed to me – a character totally unrelated to the one I had been doing for the previous month or so. I had no idea who I was, what my new role was or how it connected with what I’d already done. Anyway, I was so put out by it, I never bothered to see the film. Did you see it? And if you did – who was I?” Result: Woody’s biggest flop – grossing a mere $486,484. That would have killed other directors’ careers, not Woody’s. He just carried making new films –   good, bad and otherwise – and in Europe when LA wouldn’t fund him – every… September.

  9. Ian Holm, Blue Ice, 1992.       One urbane Brit for another as Holm inherited Elliott’s role as Michael Caine’s ex-spymaster boss in the first (and last) movie made by Caine’s M&M Productions. He played Harry Anders… and not, alas, Harry Palmer.

                                                                                    >>>>> Tribute

“Never act with children, dogs or Denholm Elliott” – Gabriel Byrne.  


 Birth year: 1922Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  9