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Harvey Keitel

  1. Robert  De  Niro,  Mean  Streets, 1973.      Booked  as  the continually erupting Johnny Boy, Keitel told De Niro  he would be better  in  that  role  - and  took over the lead and lost the contest. Bob walked away with the first Scorsese classic.
  2. Burt Young, Rocky, 1976..
  3. Albert  Brooks, Taxi Driver, 1976.      Given the part of a campaign worker, he requested the pimp - black and with only about five lines in Paul Schrader's scenario.
  4. Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976.
  5. Ray Sharkey, Love and Money, 1981.      “I wanted Harvey for the lead,” recalled director James Toback, about the 1977 star of his Fingers.“But I was told:No way. They would finance if I could get Ray Sharkey or Jeff Goldblum for the lead - but not Harvey Keitel So I did it with Ray. And Ray was not up to to the part.”
  6. Jack Palance, City Slickers, 1991.      Both men were nominated for Support Oscars. Keitel for Busgy and Palance in the role Keitel had auditioned for. Being the older Hollywood name Palance finally got recognised.. and celebrated with one-arm push-ups at age 72. As Hamlet would put it: The best is Palance.
  7. Dan Heyada, Clueless, 1994.  Keitel (too pricey) and Jerry Orbach  were considered for the wealthy lawyer father of Alicia Silverstone’s  teen queenin director Amy Heckerling’s Beverly Hills flip-side of her Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  “A smart and funny movie,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, ”and the characters are in on the joke.”One line was surely penned with Keitel in mind, as he tells some kid dating his daughter:“If anything happens to my daughter, I got a .45 and a shovel. I doubt anybody would miss you.” 
  8. Bernard Giraudeau, Les caprices d’un fleuve, France, 1995.    Only the French could make a drama called Unpredictable Nature of the River.For a wee while,actor Giraudeau’s sixth outing as auteur was to be shot in English. Feelers were sent out to bothKeitel and William Hurt until, as he’d always planned since dicovering the story, Giraudeau directed himself as the governor of a French territory in Africa during slavery, circa 1785.
  9. Tony Curtis, Brittle Glory, 1996.      According to writer-director Stewart Schill, various stars had been keen on his script despite it then being called: The Continued Adventures of Reptile Man and His Faithful Sidekick Tadpole. Title was switched months after the result was unveiled in the 1996 Cannes festival market.
  10. Gérard Lanvin, Anna Oz, France, 1996.       The American was too expensive for Eric Rochant's small film. Lanvin and his Anna, Charlotte Gainsbourg,  partnered anew for  Passionément, 1999.

  11. Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights, 1996.     Keitel, Albert Brooks, Bill Murray and director Sydney Pollack were offered the porno film-maker Jack Horner in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit. Plus Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, who had been supporters of hardcore star Harry Reems during his 1977 legal hassles. Pollack regretted refusing the role and Reynolds regretted accepting it. He rowed with PTA, won the best reviews of his career, a Golden Globe and his one and only Oscar nomination.  Yet he still still fled PTA’s Magnolia, 1999.  Judging by his next  roles, no one really wanted him back.
  12. Sydney Pollack, Eyes Wide Shutl;lack, 1998.   And this time Pollack  took the role - when Harvey was dropped after a few scenes. Before calling up Pollack, Kubrick had considered Woody Allen for the 14-minute scene with Cruise- that took three weeks to shoot. The filming took 400 days!
  13. John Ford Noonan, God Has A Rap Sheet, 2002.   Nine  guys are held overnight in a police holding cell - including a homeless man  who says he’s God.  The kind of God who pontificates: “The meaning of life is to keep it meaningful.”  He used to have better  writers.  Keitel seemed to agree… 
  14. Ray Liotta, Revolver, 2005.      The fact that Keitelfound little to interest him in a crime boss called Dorothy was, perhaps, the reason Liotta overplayed it out of the park. Guy Ritchie’s most wretched movie.
  15. Joe Mantegna, Criminal Minds, TV, 2009-2018.      Mandy Patinkin quit as head honcho of the FBI profilers over “creative differences.” So Keitel was somewhat foolish to insist on various perks including… creative control.  Also considered: Geena Davis and Michael Keaton. 

 

 

 





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