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Morgan Freeman

  1. Wally Taylor, Rocky III,   1981. Allegedly, 1,200 guys auditioned for world champion wannabe Clubber Lang. Just two for his manager: Freeman, at age 44 (impossible!) and Illinois’ Taylor
  2. Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs, 1990.
  3. Forest Whitaker, Diary of a Hitman, 1991.    Too busy in Sherwood Forest with Kevin Costner.
  4. Will Smith, The Legend of Bagger Vance, 2000.     Robert Redford turned his role   into Matt Damon when deciding to cast younger...
  5. Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1999.
  6. Richard Dreyfuss, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, Holland-France-Spain-Australia, 2001.     Dutch director Rolf de Heer always thought  of Freeman. But he was one of the busiest of Hollywood names. Not Dreyfuss.  Not anymore.  
  7. Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby, 2004.
  8. Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, 2013.      Some wise guy once asked Harvey Weinstein if he “picked up Mandela because Mandela was dying?”  Hah! The exec producer had been involved with the project since 1999. First with Denzel Washington, then Freeman.  Neither actor was suitable,  even though  Freeman played him in his pal Clint Eastwood’s  Invictus, 2009.  Elba was far better, particularly in shape, and above all, voice. 
  9. Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange, 2015.         Freeman, Bill Nighy and Ken Wantanbe were in the Marvel mix for the Ancient One - the usual old guy cliche in the comics. But the name was a  title rather than a person, argued director Scott Derrickson - deciding on  a (great) female to help Stephen Strange become Sorcerer Supreme.  (Nighy opposite Benedict Cumberbatch would have been… magic!).
  10. Vincent D'Onofrio, The Magnificent Seven, 2016.      Toting diversity as well a six-guns, director Antoine Fuqua’s  guys guys were no match for the celebrated originals they were desecrating.  No wonder  Christian Bale, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Wagner Moura, Brad Pitt also rode away from the re-hash. Two more flew to Marvel: Benedict Cumberbatch for Doctor Strange, Jason Momoa as Aquaman.Antoine Fuqua directing meant Denzel Washington would lead the liberators. But minus Freeman as his tracker, Jack Horne. Body count was so absurdly high that it should have been named after the guy playing Josiah.  Billy Slaughter.

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