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Sir Ian Holm

  1. David Hemmings, The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1968.     Holm played Nolan opposite Mark Burns as Morris in a rigorous, three-page test in October 1966.“We rode horses, jumped off, shook hands and chatted about the situation.”Burns won what he “desperately” wanted.Holm lost - to the Blow Upflavour of the hour!
  2. Donald Sumpter, The Black Panther,1976.    Holm backed away from playing the UK serial killer Donald Neilson when the family of one of The Yorkshire Ripper’s victims refused any co-operation.
  3. Timothy Spall, The Missionary, 1982.    He was in and outas themanservant Parswell- with some hilarious fertility whatwriter-star Michael Palin first called The Missionary Position.
  4. Martin Shaw, The Last Place On Earth, TV 1985.    Destiny. Turned down the seven-part minis erieson the 1910-1912 race for the South Pole between Scott and Amundsen for Laughterhouse, “a small English film about geese.” And Holm, the “borderline love junkie” (according to his New York therapist) promptly fell for his screen wife ,Penelope Wilton, and made her the third of his four wives.
  5. Terence Stamp, The Sicilian, 1987.   When director Michael Cimino assembled his cast for a reading in New York, Christophe(r)Lambert was still not assured of the leadand Holm (who’d educatedLambert’s Tarzanin Greystoke, 1984), never turned up.
  6. Alun Armstrong, American Friends, 1990.     An early thought from the film’s writer-star Michael Palin for Dr Weeks, one of the snobby Fellows of Oxford University. The tale and Palin’s Oxford don clergyman were based on his own great-grandfather. (Finalluy, Plainand Holm appearedtogether in Brazil, 1984).
  7. Ian Richardson, An Ungentlemanly Act, TV, 1992.    Quit being His Excellency, Governor Rex Hunt just before shooting started at Government House, Port Stanley, as the Falklands War began.
  8. Derek Jacobi, Cadfael, TV, 1994-1997.    Britain’s ITV network wasted so much time dickering about the series - about a crusader turnedmonk turned detective - that Holm had fled the coop. The BBC Radio 4monk, Philip Madoc, was almost signed when Jacobi became available for the 12th Century Shrewsbury... made in Budapest.
  9. Giancarlo Giannini, Mimic, 1996.    Guillermo del Toro first approached Max von Sydow, then Holm or the My Dinner With André star, André Gregory,  for - howzat again? - an old shoeshine guy!  For the Mexican director’s latest  in hisendless series of man versus man-made monsters. (Gregory and Von Sydow had each already sold out to Sylvester Stallone crap fantasies: Demolition Man and Judge Dredd).
  10. Jon Voight, Pope John Paul II, TV, 2005.   First choice to play the life of Karol Wojtyla quit dueto “personal reasons.”He did, though, play JM Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Goebbels, Ben Gurion, Himmler, Sam Mussabini, Pontius Pilate, French President Raymond Poincaire, Kings John and Richard III.Plus Napoleon three times - Stanley Kubrick’s abandoned project would have made it four. Voight had beenfirst choice for the Pope but passed to Albert Finney in the 1984 original tele-film. After John Paul’s death two decades later, Voight played the Pontiffin thisTV re-make.






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