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Bob Hoskins (1942-2014)

  1. Robert De Niro, The Untouchables, l987. 
    “Easiest $200,000 I never earned!” laughed Hoskins.“Brian De Palma was really quite straight with me:'’ really want DeNiro.But if he doesn’t do work in Chicago...’ The money was good, so I said: Yes. I had no contract or anything.” While waiting forDe Niro to make his mind up, all Capone scenes were switched to the end of the schedule. De Niro hadalways wanted to play Capone. “I’ve never seen it done the way it should be done. Capone wasn’t just pure evil. He had to be a politician, an administrator, he had to have something other than fear.He must have hada certain crazy charm.” (Funny he didn’t play it that way). What surprised Hoskins was De Palma insisting on paying him.“I called him up to ask if he had any other movies he didn’t want me in. If all acting was like that I might have started earlier! " Rod Steiger was not alone in noticing how De Niro “did such a carbon copy” of his 1958 Capone. “I suppose it’s all some sort of compliment. But Marlon Brando and I created our characters from scratch, from the ground up... not to go to other actors for our ideas. We attempted originality.”

  2. Martin Kemp, The Krays, 1990.     He’d played Ronnie Kray on stage and was offered Reggie opposite Robert Duvall in1989.  Finally, the Krays were played bythe Kemps, brothers Gary and Martin, heads of theSpandau Ballet band.
  3. 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 great-grandfather.
  4. Joe Pesci, Home Alone, 1990.    It was so patently obvious that the kid of the hour - Macauley Culkin - was going to steal everything but the cinema seats that most of The Names avoided the burglar clown called Harry Lime, more of a fourth Stooge than Orson Welles. Those refusing to be second banana to a moppet included Hoskins, Rowan Atkinson, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Christopher Lloyd, Jon Lovitz and two musical Brits: Phil Collins and Dudley Moore.
  5. Vincent Guastaferro, Homicide, 1991.      Named in David Mamet's first announcement for the film that opened the 1991 Cannes festival with one helluva... wimper.
  6. George Dzundza, The Butcher's Wife, 1991.     When planned with Dennis Quaid-Meg Ryan before morphing into Demi Moore-Jeff Daniels.
  7. Danny Aiello,Ruby,1991.    Third time unlucky. After The Long GoodFriday and The Honorary Consul, Bob was on a Hook when his mate John Mackenize called. “Although he’s six inches too tall, Danny was right in every other way. His background gave him all the qualities heneededto play Jack Ruby - he knew the guy, he knew the street from where he sprang."
  8. Bob Peck, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  9. Christopher Walken, Touch, 1997.     Paul Schrader v Elmore Leonard. And Leonard lost. The Hoskins-Tim Robbins team was axed because, said Schrader, “you can’t put them together, they’re working off the same source.”You mean, like, Elmore Leonard?
  10. Charles Fleischer, Balto: Wolf Quest, 2001.       Hoskins voiced Boris Goosnivov opposite Kevin Bacon’s Balto in the first (1994) of three Universal toon features abut Alaska’s 1920s famous half-wolf - and whole hero. Fleischer stayed on for Balto III : Winds of Change, 2004. Hoskins and Fleischer had co-starred in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.
  11. Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, 2003.     First moves to switch Spidey from comicbooks and TV to the movieswas made by the execrable Cannon Films for director Albert Pyun and a $6m budget - with Hoskins as Dr Octopus opposite Scott Leval’s superhero. Then, Cannon deep-sixed! Doc Ockwas played in 2003 by another Brit. And in the 2011 re-boot, Spidey, himself, was British: Andrew Garfield.
  12. Alan Alda, The Aviator, 2004.    Considered for Senator Ralph Owen Brewster...after hisportraits of Beria, Sir Pitt Crawley, J Edgar Hoover, Iago, Khrushchev
, Eddie Mannix, Micawber, Mussolini, Noriega, Pope John XXIII, Sancho Panza and Soho’s Windmill Theatrelegend, Vivian Vam Damme.
  13. Jim Broadbent, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2008.    He was on the list for Professsor Horace Slughorn, but Jim fixed it and made this sixth (and the next two) of eight movies based on the JK Rowling books.  On his death, his Mona Lisa producer Stephen Woolley  said: “Bob re-set the dial for all the other actors to follow, from Tim Roth to Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels to Gary Oldman. Bob's performances breathed real life and vitality, pathos and humour, and always came from a place of reality.”


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