- Mandy Patinkin, Yentl, 1962. Who was going to be Avigdor, therabbinical student lover of Barbra Streisand as the cross-dressing Yeshiav Boy in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s tale?Trouble was,La Barb was also the director, producer, and “co-writer”...Obvious, therefore,who was going tohave all the closer-ups!So Kline, Michael Douglas, Richard Gere and Christopher Walken just fled.
- Richard Dreyfuss, Jaws, 1975. Not quite a universal choice. Universal wanted Kevin. StevenSpielberg did not. The way Kevin remembers it, he said that he knew someone who was an oceanographer and thought he could play one and Spielberg said he didn't want someone who knows someone who is an oceanographer, he wanted someone who was an oceanographer. Then again, Kline hadn’t made a film - or his name - as yet.
- William Hurt, Body Heat, 1981. Nearly his debut. Never mind, Larry Kasdan remembered him for...
- Jeff Goldblum, The Big Chill, 1983. Kline chased the spaced-out journalist, but Larry Kasdan wanted him at the epicentre of the circle of friends
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator, 1983 .In all, 52 actresses were considered, seen, or tested for the robot assassin’s target, Sarah Connor -but a mere eight guys for the killer from the future, itself. Kline, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, Jürgen Prochnow, Randy Quaid, Tom Selleck… It was when Orion boss Mike Medavoy decided on OJ Simpson as the Terminator and Arnie as Reese, that CameronrealisedSchwarzi was the perfect, coolest Terminator in town.
- Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose of Cairo, 1984. Woody Allen mused about the actor already becoming known as... D Kline,when he had to let Michael Keaton go from the double role of screen hero Tom Baxter and the actor who plays him. “Too contemporary,” said Woody. Officially. More like Keaton couldn’t conjure up the sheer innocence of Tom when thrust intothe real world knowing nothing about anything, Particularly, women… such ashis greatest fan, Mia Farrow.
- Peter Coyote, Heartbreakers, 1984. "I saw almost all leading men of stature, 25 of them, in New York and LA with the exception of Gere, Travolta and Bill Hurt," reported auteur Bobby Roth.
- David Bowie, Labyrinth, 1985. After making the 3D Captain EO together for the Disneyland park, Michael Jackson was exec producer George Lucas’ favourite for Jareth the Goblin King. Director Jim Henson (alas, his final film) looked over Kline, Simon MacCorkindale (TV’s Manimal) - and preferred Sting. The five Henson kids voted Bowie. The kids are now running the combine.
- Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
- Clint Eastwood, Black Hunter, White Heart, 1990. Before Clint got his eager actor-director hands on it.
Robin Williams, Hook, 1990.The Soapdish comedy (so called) was in trouble. And so was Kline when an ordered major revamping meant he wasn’t free to be Steven Spielberg’s updated Peter Pan.
James Caan, Misery, 1990. "The idea of playing a victim didn't appeal to a lot of people," said director Rob Reiner explaining such refusniks as Kline, Warren Beatty, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Klein, Ed O’Neill, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, John Ritter, Denzel Washington. How come Caan agreed? "I think he wanted the work."
- Michael J Fox, The Hard Way, 1991. Director John Badham thought of Kline and Hackman. Kevin had the Oscar, but Fox had the box-office clout and had always wanted to be a cop. Better yet, an actor wanting to play a cop.
- Armand Assante, The Mambo Kings, 1991. An odd choice, with Jeremy Irons, for Cuban musical brothers.
- Robin Williams, Hook, 1991. Oh, now he wanted him... Steven Spielberg was never happy with the outcome and losing Kline (stranded in Soapdish re-shoots) is among the reasons.
- Bruce Willis, Death Becomes Her, 1992. Goldie Hawn never hid the fact that she preferred Kevin as her bumbling fiance.. This upset the then Mrs Willis, Demi Moore: “Bruce deserves more respect. “Why?” Hawn was reported snapping. ”Neither of you is in my league!”
- Robert Downey Jr. Chaplin, 1992. Rather than the titular Charlie, Lord Attenborough asked Kevin to recreate Douglas Fairbanks,
- Roberto Benigni, Son of the Pink Panther, 1992. Oh, what a woeful mess as director Blake Edwards tried yet again to keep his Panther annuity alive. Given the choice of Kline, Rowan Atkinson, Tim Curry, and Gérard Depardieu, Edwards chose the Italian Benigni - far less subtle than Peter Sellers - but a good excuse to resurrect Claudia Cardinale from the first film, The Pink Panther, 1962,as his mother, Maria Grambelli, following an affair with Clouseau. Except, of course, CC was an Indian princess in the first film and Maria was Elke Sommer in the second, A Shot in the Dark, 1963. So much funnier than this… shot in the the head.
- Robin Williams, Jumanji, 1995. Two kids find a jungle board game with magic powers unleashing grotesque animalia and some poor sap trapped inside the game since playing it as a tot. Williams lapped it up after Kline, Dan Aykroyd, Sean Connery, Richard Dreyfuss, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger fled. Jumanji, incidentally, is Zulu for “many effects.” And how.
- Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets, 1997. Kline, Ralph Fiennes plus Holly Hunter were set as Mike Newell's Old Friends. Except no one wanted to pay them. Director James Brooks rescued the project - and himself.
- Richard Gere, Chicago, 2002.
- Steve Martin, The Pink Panther, 2005. And he was back in the running for the Inspector Clouseau reboot - which totally buried the franchise. A far better idea than Martin. As proved by Kline stealing the show as the flic’s long suffering patron, Dreyfus.
- Jean Reno, Flushed Away, 2006. The French star beat Johnny Depp, Kline and Stellan Skarsgard to voicing Le Frog.Kline and Reno had co-starred in French Kiss, 1995.
- Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. During 25 years in Development Hell, the titular casting also included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas,Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino. Tim Curry was the sole Brit considered and the most absurd notions were… Warren Beatty. Harrison Ford and Robert Redford!
- John Malkovich, The Great Buck Howard, 2007. The fading illusionist Colin Hanks went to work for was first due to be Kline.The father disapproving of the job was Colin’s father - Tom Hanks.
- Paul Rudd, Dinner For Schmucks, 2009. Among the 2006 choices for the pathetic loser inthe Hollywoodised (ie highly flawed) re-make of the French Diner de cons, 1998. Jacques Villeret was the original Paris con.
- Tim Robbins,Green Lantern, 2010. 007 director Martin Campbell spent five months looking for and two months testing possible seven (!) potential Hal Jordans - the DC Comic hero with the super-powered ring. Finding Senator Hammond was easier: Kline v Robbins.
- Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables, 2011. Oh, Hollywood… Since the musical’s 1985 London opening, suggestions for Jean Valjean went from the logical - Kline,Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, William Hurt - to the preposterous: Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken. Plus close pals, rarely rivals, Beatty and Jack Nicholson. However, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino were far too short for the hefty hero who, in a signature scene, has to carry Cosette’s lover, away from the battle of the barricades. Put it another way, Hollywood’s last Valjean had been Liam Neeson - 6ft. 4in.