Steve McQueen (1930-1980)
- Vic Morrow, Blackboard Jungle, 1954. Director Richard Brooks wanted new, raw actors as Glenn Ford’s high school students - even if so many were in their twenties rather than teens. Morrow was 26 when beating a very newcomer called McQueen, 24. And at 28, Sidney Poitier beat off Louis Gosset Jr who was around the right age at 18.
- Robert Evans, The Fiend Who Walked The West,1958. Fourteen years later, McQueen was the fiend who walked away with the third Mrs Evans, Ali MacGraw.
- Henry Silva, Ocean's Eleven, 1960. Punishing him for some alleged offence, Frank Sinatra replaced Sammy Davis with Steve in Never So Few. Sammy had kissed the ring and was back for this Las Vegas caper and Steve wasoffered the cowboy Louis Jackson. Hedda Hopper warned him off. "Do you want to be a movie star or a Sinatraflunky?"
- George Peppard, Breakfast At Tiffany's, 1961. Still hog-tied to his Wanted Dead or Alive TV series.
- Glenn Ford, Pocketful of Miracles, 1961. Directing legend Frank Capra never knew this would be his finalfilm.All he needed was a star that United Artists considered bankable. "I had my sights on a ballsy young actor whothrew out seismic hints of erupting into a luminary... but McQueen didn't wiggle UA's needle - yet." Nor did Ford after churning thisinto a pocketful of merde.
- George Peppard, The Victors, 1963. Preferred The Great Escape forhis Magnificent Seven mentorJohn Sturges. (Alas, they never made Vivacious Lady as planned).
- Richard Harris, Major Dundee, 1964. Anthony Quinn dallied and title starCharlton Heston considered Steve: "a lesser name, but fresher,in some ways better than Tony." Then, Heston and director Sam Peckinpah saw The SportingLife and jumped at Harris - raising his price to $300,000. He walked out of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's neverending Red Desert to make his Hollywood deadline and promptly collapsed on arrival from battle fatigue. "Stricken is the only wordthat leapsto mind," said Heston.
- George Segal, King Rat, 1965. Steve never liked being second choice.In this case after Paul Newman did not like being first choice. They both refused the Sammy Glick of POWs - prisoners of wars. To Segal’s undisguised delight.
- Stephen Boyd, The Oscar, 1965. Harlan Ellison adapted Richard Sale’s book for McQueen as a movie star jerk called Frank Fane. Nominated for a comeback role, he jumps up too fast on hearing: “And the winner is… Frank… Sinatra.” All based on the 1932 Oscarnight when Will Rogers announced Best Director by saying “Come up and get it, Frank!” Up jumped Capra - and the winner was Frank Lloyd. (Capra won the following year for It Happend One Night, first of his three Oscars).
- Robert Redford, The Chase, 1965. For his first Hollywood production for 14 years since When I Grow Up - and he had by now - Sam Spiegel strangely chose a dreary thriller (shelved for decades) to follow the seven-Oscared Lawrence of Arabia. He knew only star power could resolve its limitations. He wanted Brando and Marilyn as lovers and McQueen for Bubba, the escaped con on the runm. Never happened. And director Arthur Penn said: “I enjoy a kind of amnesia about that one.” Let me remind you, Arthur… Totally overblown. Like Marlon.
- Robert Fuller, Return of the Seven, 1966. Knowing how much the movie needed him, Yul Brynner asked - some say, begged - Steve to reprise Vin.He said the plot was absurd but he’d be in Brynner’s next movie...
- Don Murray, The Plainsman, TV, 1966. Due as Wild Bill Hickock aided by Sophia Loren as Calamity Jane (!!) in stopping an Indian war. However, the re-tread of director CB DeMille's 1936 film with Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, took another 30 years.
Christopher Plummer, Triple Cross, 1966. But he was not... He cabled Brynner in Europe: I’M TRULY SORRY THAT I CAN’T BE WITH YOU. BUT MY HORSE REFUSES TO SWIM THE ATLANTIC.
- James Garner, Grand Prix, 1966.
"I had him for ten brief seconds," wunderkind director John Frankenheimer decided to tell me in Cannes. "If it had happened, the name of this hotel wouldn't be the Majestic, it would be the the fucking Frankenheimer! There was a terrible misunderstanding between Steve and my then partner, Edward Lewis, which caused the whole thing to break up. Through something that was not my fault.It was one of those terrible meetings where I shouldhave beenthere but I was doing some ridiculous thing which seemed very important then but seems trivial today. Because I missed that meeting, I lost Steve McQueen... And the rest is history. We got James Garner, who really couldn't do the job. As a result, we gave the movie to Yves Montand. A terrible mistake because we threw him off the cliff at Monza - we killed our hero! Even so, the movie was a great success. But with Steve McQueen it would have been a humungous hit. I'm pretty sure it would have been the first $100-million grosser." McQueen got on with his own motor-racing epic, Le Mans. It flopped - killing his Solar company and his long friendship with director John Sturges. Likewise, McQueen and Frankenheimer remained distant for some years until a chance meeting in a restaurant. "Steve put his arms around me and said: 'I'll say this once: I shoulda done it!' And he shoulda.” In the 80s, Frankenheimer found another film for McQueen: Tiger Ten about the WWII Flying Tigers. "He would have been brilliant in it. At the last minute he couldn't do it. I didn't know why at the time - but he had cancer."
- Albert Finney, Two For The Road, 1967. Steve's wife, the exquisite Neile Adams, begged him to do it. "He didn't follow the sophisticated chronology," said Neile. And he passed... despite Audrey Hepburn being in his Top Ten ofactresses he wanted to nail.
- Scott Wilson,In Cold Blood, 1967. For the killers made famous by writer Truman Capote - Perry Smith and Dick Hickock - Columbia wanted safe names. Such as the first suggested teaming of McQueen and Paul Newman! Richard Brooks said: "No, no, no and no!" And signed more or less unknowns, Robert Blake and Wilson. And McQueen preferred The Thomas Crown Affairand Bullitt, 1968
- Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, 1967. Director Mike Broadway’s Mike Nichols came to town and saw, tested, auditioned and sometimes called back (Jack Nicholson, certainly) almost every guy of the correct age for the titular Benjamin Braddock. From Norman Bates to Robin - and the kid from Shane (Brandon De Wilde, now 25). Plus McQueen, Keir Dullea, Charles Grodin (who won Nichols’ next, Catch 22 instead, as did Anthony Perkins), George Hamilton, Michael Parks, George Peppard, Burt Ward (too tied up as Robin in TV’s Batman) And the prerequisite Outsider: ex-MGM pactee turning director, Lee Stanley. Then, Nichols changed Hoffman’s life with four words: “Well, you got it.” Hoffman got it right: “There is no piece of casting in the 20th century that I know of that is more courageous than putting me in that part.” McQueen would never have asked “Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me - aren’t you?” He’d have known!”
- Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1968.
- Rock Hudson, Ice Station Zebra, 1968. Too busy at his Solar company to worry about what later became Howard Hughes' favourite movie. He watched it over and over again...
- Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969. Bob.
- Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, 1969. Kid.
- Gene Hackman, Marooned, 1969. The space rescue thriller made one year before... "Huston, we have a problem."
- Patrick O'Neal, The Kremlin Letter, 1970. Directing veteran John Huston was keen on McQueen for some years. But the star had no desire to travel to Europe to talk - or act - just to ride in motor-cycle competitions.
- Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, 1971.
- Robert Duvall, The Godfather, 1971.
- Gene Hackman, The French Connection, 1971. He refused all cops after Bullitt. "I was something like the seventh actor in line,"recalled Hackman. "By the time they came to my name, the producer said: God, have we got down to Hackman?" Yes and he got the Oscar!
- Clint Eastwood, Play Misty For Me, 1971. "The problem," felt Steve, "is that the woman has a stronger role than the man." This never bothered Clint, who had a canny understanding of a script's potential and invariably made gold of other people’s leavings. And, in this case, "probably the best debut of any American director," said McQueen's production partner Robert Relyea about Clint’s firstouting in the director’s chair.
- Zalman King, The Ski Bum, 1971. After their Nevada Smith, 1966, producer Joe Levine offered Steve the script - the moon and the stars, too. McQueen was more committed to The Sand Pebbles. Levine tried Peter O'Toole and then made it with the with the third XI.
- Hal Holbrook, Suddenly Single, TV, 1971. This bittersweet look at a newly divorced man in the singles' world was set to follow Bullit, in 1968. Then, Steve preferred The Reivers and the singles went to ABC TV.
- Burt Reynolds, Deliverance, 1971. McQueen was the #1 target for Warner Bros. He didn’t bite and passed Lewis to… well, almost everyone. Brando, Fonda, even ole Jimmy Stewart. “We’re too old,” Lee Marvin told his pal, John Boorman. The UK direcor took the hint. Enter: Reynolds, launching his career, and Jon Voight, saving his.
- Elliott Gould, The Long Goodbye, 1973. More money? Possible. Script approval? Impossible. Other Ms were considered for Raymond Chandler’s private dick Philip Marlowe: Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum. Veteran director Howard Hawks (who had made Humphrey Bogart the definitive Marlowe in The Big Sleep classic in 1946) quit because "Marlowe, as Chandler saw him, was unthinkable in the 70s."Peter Bogdanovich took over, then Brian Hutton who chose Gould- and Robert Altman kept him. And McQueen (Altman's Trancas neighbour) visited the set.
- Elliott Gould, California Split, 1973. “That was supposed to star Steve McQueen,” said Elliott Gould,“even though the story was drawn from my own life. The guy I lived with back then, Joseph Walsh, he wrote the picture, produced it with Bob Altman, and played the bookmaker. In real life, I was Bill, the character George Segal played, and Joseph was Charlie -the character I played. I used to gamble, and that story was basically our story. Anyway, McQueen was insisting on rewrites that didn’t exist, so The Old Mancalled me and I was happy to do it. I would’ve done anything he asked...God, I loved the Old Man. And we became such good friends. He was like a father to me.”
- Charles Bronson, Death Wish, 1973. New York architect turned vigilante Paul Kersey was originally intended for Bronson’s fellow Great Escapee. After finishing The Stone Killer, 1973, UK director Michael Winner told Bronson about it. “A man whose wife and daughter are mugged goes out and shoots muggers.” “I’d like to do that,” said Bronson. “The film?”“No... shoot muggers!”
- Charles Bronson, Mr Majestyk, 1973. First Clint Eastwood, then McQueen passed on the Elmore Leonard script that he later novelised. Weakly made by veteran director Richard Fleischer, it was buried at the 1974 box-office by Bronson’s next gig. Death Wish.
- Martin Sheen, The Execution of Private Slovik, TV, 1974. Straight after Never So Few, in 1959, Frank Sinatra planned to direct McQueen in this true account of the only US soldier executed for desertion since the Civil War. A storm followed Frank's signing of ex-blacklisted scenarist Albert Maltz. Not being able to use the writer of his choice, Sinatra backed down for the only time to Hollywood, "my family, my friends and the American public," and shelved the project - which ended up as a dramatic tele-movie scripted by producers Richard Levinson, William Link, winning Emmies for Sheen and director Lamont Johnson (the CBSradio Tarzan, 1951-53).
- Robert Redford, The Great Gatsby, 1974. Daisy was Ali MacGraw’s Scarlett and she felt Steve was the perfect Rhett -or Jay Gatsby.Whenhe cameto discuss The Getaway with Ali and producer-husband Robert Evans, "all I could think of was how to persuade him to do the Gatsby script." She got the man, left her husband - and lost the movie, her wedding present from Evans. Gatsby was the only role Evans ever longed to play. "Funnily enough the only actor I could imagine playing him was McQueen." Despite the vast box-office potential of McQueen-MacGraw, Evans told the Paramount studio owner: "It's them or me."
- Paul Newman, The Towering Inferno, 1974. "Somehow," said scenarist Stirling Silliphant, "McQueen couldn't say architect words. He wanted to be the fire chief - with great perception. That's the only hero in the whole thing. That's the white hat. Everyone else is guilty. He said: "Look, if I play that part you're gonna have to get someone who can really be strong opposite me." His suggestions: Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and with considerable foresight, Jack Nicholson.
- George Kennedy, Earthquake, 1974. The Big One hits LA. And Kennedy is a cop hero… Because McQueen (and another Earthquake target, Paul Newman) were at Warner Bros and Fox saving The Towering Inferno. Both roles offered to McQueen were action men, an LAPD sergeant and a towering fire chief… while Newman’s were desk jockeys, an LA building exec and a towering architect.
- John Wayne, Rooster Cogburn, 1974. The idea was fair - a sequel to True Grit. But if Wayne proved too ill, what would be the point of someone else in his titular Oscar-winning rôle? Marlon Brando topped producer Hal Wallis’ eye-patch list of McQueen, Charles Bronson, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, George C Scott and several Duke co-stars: Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn. This was director Stuart Miller’s second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
- Clint Eastwood, The Eiger Sanction, 1975. Second Steve/Solar project to be made - but produced and directed by Clint at his Malpaso combine. "It's lucky I never got around to that one. Probably would've broken my neck. It was about mountain climbing - and I'd have been doing all of the stuntwork, myself."
- Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975.
- Gene Hackman, Lucky Lady, 1975. First star approached when George Segal (wisely) jumped ship.As Hackman foundout, not everything McQueen rejected proved as hot as The FrenchConnection.
- Jack Nicholson, The Missouri Breaks, 1975, Even with director Bob Rafelson suggesting Marlon Brando as his quarry, Steve nixed yet another Western script after passing on Applegate's Gold, American Flag, Heaven's Gate. Ali was invited, too, but the marriage was already headed to a 1977 divorce. Ironically, Nicholson's favourite director handed the project to Arthur Penn... who clearly had no idea what to do with it. Nor did Marlon Brando and Nicholson.
James Brolin, Gable and Lombard, 1976. A mad but genuine offer to the 1965 McQueens. "We both thought it a howl. Neile's no Lombard and I'm no Gable. That was one less turkey in my life." Next, it was offered to the 1975 McQueens, Steve and Ali. (He was also asked to continue Gable’s Rhett Butler in Tara: The Continuation of Gone With The Wind , TV, 1975).
- Robert Redford, A Bridge Too Far, 1976. Before further research revealed all (McQueen was not into cameos like that of Major Julian Cook), I phoned darling Dickie Attenborough to check which WWII role had been aimed at McQueen, “Not for me to say, Tony, ” said the actor-director. “But if you want to know the films I’ve turned down - call me when you’re next in London.” But I never was. And then, sadly, neither was he
- Roy Scheider, Sorcerer, 1976.
“Walon Green wrote it for Steve and if he’d made it, it would have been a masterpiece,” said director William Friedkin (echoing Frankenheimer on Grand Prix). McQueen loved the re-tread of realisateur Henri-Georges Clouzot's French classic, La salaire de la peur, 1953, until realising shooting would bein Mexico or the Dominican Republic or… “He was just starting his relationship with Ali MacGraw, didn’t want to be away from her.. ‘Why don’t you write something for her.’ I said: ‘You just told me it was one of the best scripts you ever read, now you want me to put a whole new character in there for her?’ ‘Well, make her co-producer or something.’ I said: ‘Ah Steve, fuck off! I don’t believe in that shit. And I certainly don’t want to schmuck bait your wife and call her a producer because she’s not going to be a producer on the film.’ And he then said ‘OK, I understand that, then let’s make it all in America.’ I said, ‘Steve I’ve found the locations and I’m committed to them. I don’t want to do it in America.’ Because of those three reasons, he decided to pass. If that came up today, I would have done anything he wanted. I was so arrogant at that time. I thought I was the star of that film. So I didn’t think that a close-up of Steve McQueen was worth a shot of the most beautiful landscape. A close-up of McQueen was worth more. When McQueen dropped out, I lost Marcello Mastroianni and Lino Ventura… Only my arrogance cost me that cast. I said: ‘I don’t need stars; I’ll just make it with four good actors. And I did.” Another of his biggest mistakes. Film flopped. Then again, it opened one week after... Star Wars.
- Richard Dreyfuss, Victory At Entebbe, 1976. Hardly Israeli enough to be the colonel leading the rescue mission...
- Stephen Macht, Raid On Entebbe, TV, 1977. ...and nor for the best of the three microwaved movies made about the Israeli Army's rescue of the victims of a Palestinian hijacking on July 4, 1976 - premiered on NBC TV, 14 months after the events.
- Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976..
- Richard Dreyfuss, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977. More Columbia's idea than Spielberg's - he was wary of working with stars, unless they were his stars. Steven recalled Steve refused because "I wouldn't be able to shed a tear on cue." OK, said Spielberg, I'll rewrite the scene (of entering the mothership). "No," said McQueen, "leave it intact and get another actor." And so it was Dreyfuss - as it always had been since Spielberg told himthe story while making Jaws.
- Robert Redford, A Bridge Too Far, 1977. Rather than pay McQueen's $3m - $1m a week - and a cut - the producer paid Redford $2m. "But he isn't doing it just for the money." No, just to work for producer Joseph E ("like in Euripides") Levine!
- George C Scott, Islands in the Stream, 1977. Although keen on playing a father image, Steve told director Franklin J Schaffner: "You need a better actor"... for the reclusive Hemingwayesque painter in the Bahamas. Schaffner felt McQueen would have been "marvellously interesting."
- Clint Eastwood, The Gauntlet, 1977. Marlon Brando-Barbra Steisand nearly became Eastwood-Streisand (after she refused McQueen!) and again Eastwood directed himself in a McQueen cast-off.
- Al Pacino, Bobby Deerfield, 1977. Director Sydney Pollack first thought of using a real supertar driver like… McQueen or Paul Newman (who had originally bought the rights).
- Tommy Lee Jones, The Betsy, 1977. He was really off cars. And movies! Absent for four years between The Towering Inferno (making$14m) and An Enemy of the People (zilch). In 1971, the McQueens were asked to join, of all people, Laurence Olivier, as a thinly disguised Henry Ford, in Harold Robbins’ Godfather riff on the Detroit auto industry. McQueen, of course, had played Robbins’ Nevada Smith. The trouble here was Olivier’s character was called Number One - not when McQueen was in the same flick!
- Stephen Macht, Raid On Entebbe, TV, 1977. Not the best of the three microwaved movies made about the Israeli Army's rescue of the victims of a Palestinian hijacking on July 4, 1976 - premiered on NBC TV, 14 months after the event.
- James Caan, Un autre homme , une autre chance (US: Another Man, Another Chance; UK: Another Man, Another Woman), France-US, 1977. Pretentious French director Claude Lelouch decided to make a Western. He didn’t, of course. He made a Lelouchern . Complete with the hero riding to Beethoven's Fifth! Caan talked his way into the mess, while the realisateur was chasing Beatty, McQueen, Newman, or Pacino. None of whom, Lelouch said proudly, said No. Nor yes.
- George C Scott, Islands in the Stream, 1977. After their Papillon, director Franklin J Schaffner wanted McQueen as Ernest Hemingway - er, Thomas Hudson, a sculptor not a writer, living in the Bahamas, and very much the way Hemingway wanted to be, himself - in his 1970 posthumous novel. McQueen didn’t seem to share the vision. Schaffner called up his Patton star. Last time they got an Oscar each. This time, they hardly got an audience.
- Ryan O’Neal, The Driver, 1977. Wanted: Another driver… "He didn't want to do anything that had to do with cars at that time," director Walter Hill told me. "He felt he had already done that and it was pretty hard to argue with that." Hill had been assistant director on Bullit,The Thomas Crown Affairand was The Getaway scenarist.
- Christopher Reeve,Superman, 1978.
- Kris Kristofferson, Convoy, 1978. First submitted to McQueen and then, to Ali MacGraw - her first film in five years. "Honey," said her agent Sue Mengers, "your marriage is in trouble, you have no money and you better take this job before it's too late."McQueen's reaction? Divorce!Her son wrote a song about it: "My mother did a film called Convoy/Wotta piece ofshit/ Shelookedterrible, it was horrible/Wotta piece of shit..."
- Tommy Lee Jones, The Betsy,1978. He was really off cars! The McQueens had the first offer - and first choice of roles. And passed, easily, in1971, on Harold Robbins’ auto-industry riff of The Godfather!
- Michael Caine, Ashanti, 1978. Swiss producer Georges-Alain Vuille offered a $6m cheque for McQueen to play a WHO doctor. Er, an English WHO doctor! Caine called it “the worst, most wretched film I ever made.”
- George C Scott, Hardcore, 1979. Flatly refused.
- Robert Carradine, The Big Red One, 1979. All the new movie brats wanted to back maverick auteur- and ex-Corporal 39532377 -Samuel Fuller’s saga of his 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, in North Africa and Europe in WW11. The new company of Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin nearly produced it in 1974, whenPeter wanted to play Zab, aka Fuller,but was prepared to withdraw to pass it to McQueen. “TOO OLD to be me back then,” growled Sam in his usual CAPITALS.
- Darren McGavin, The Martian Chronicles, TV, 1980. During a 1964 London stop-over, McQueen told me he would follow The Cincinatti Kid and The Sand Pebbleswith the Ray Bradbury movie: “They’re writing a role for me.” Or beefing up Sam Parkhill for him... Either way, itnever happened. And Bradbury said the mini-series version was: “Booorrrinnnggg!”
- Kris Kristofferson, Heaven’s Gate, 1980.
The ideal leads were seen as McQueen and MacGraw. Of McCourse! However, like Clint Eastwood, McQueen passed on Michael Winner’s offer for the version called The Johnson County War. in 1974. It next became infamously known one of Hollywood’s Top Ten Financial Disasters. In the space of six years (and five Oscars for his Deer Hunter, 1978), Cimino’s career was totally flushed.
- Richard Jordan, Raise The Titanic, 1980. And k Lord Lew Grade...! The UK producer saw author Clive Cussler’s hero, Dirk Pitt, as a 007-style franchise. Steve McQueen rejected $3m because the script (by some 17 scenarists!) was too flat. Elliot Gould was cheaper, except he passed, as well. Jordan was a B in an A. Hence, “Low” Grade’s biggest flop. "It would've been cheaper to lower the Atlantic." Cussler cussed a lot and refused to sell movie rights to his Dirk Pitt books. Until Sahara, 2005m when again, Pitt was the pits.
- Burt Reynolds, The Cannonball Run, 1980. Before Burt good ole boyed it (to death), the script had been an an all-out action thriller for McQueen as JJ McClure. Steve died on November 7, 1980. Reynolds said he made the mapcap comedy wannabe for all the wrong reasons. First, to help his buddy, stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham. Well, that’s what friends are for. Another reason? Sure. " I also felt it was immoral to turn down that kind of money. [$5m for three weeks work]. I suppose I sold out so I couldn't really object to what people wrote about me.”
- Paul Newman, Fort Apache, The Bronx,1981. Another cop hits the dust and McQueen was dead before Newman picked it up. "It was strange," commented James Coburn, "Newman was fearful of Steve in some way."
- Burt Reynolds, The Cannonball Run, 198. Originally planned as a McQueen actioner. After his death, it became just another farcical good ole boy Burt car chase.
- Sylvester Stallone, First Blood (aka Rambo), 1982.
- Nick Nolte, The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley, 1984. Katharine Hepburn tried to interest Steve in the hit-man helping her kill off nursing home pals. Nervous, he was late for their 1976 meet at Trancas, leaving Ali MacGraw to welcome her. "Quite annoyed he wasn't there... announced she was hungry… She was all charm with him - and he with her - and she complained that I made bad soup."
- Bryan Brown, Tai-Pen, 1985. Nearly 20 years in the making... MGM cancelled its 1967-68 plans - too expensive.Steve McQueenquit a $10m deal in the 70s when his second $1m payment never turnedup. Roger Moore’s new beard for thehero, Dirk Struan, in 1980, turned up only in The Sea Wolves.
- Tom Selleck, Quigley Down Under, 1990. Close to a go situation with director Buzz Kulik in 1979 until switching to The Hunter, 1980. Quigley was to be next but Steve’s illness buried that. And him.
- Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard, 1992.
There is a framed list in the hallway of auteur Lawrence Kasdan’s office. Of the 67 people, big and smaller, who rejected this script. It took his agent two years to sell it. “It was influenced by Kurosawa and written with McQueen in mind. John Calley wasn’t able to get McQueen. Then, director John Boorman got involved, a hero of mine. When I started directing, I had re-written it a lot for various people, plus I wanted to do The Big Chill, so I let it go. Costner read it while we were doing Silverado, before he was a star, and said: ‘I really want to make this.’ Six years later, we both produced it.” Long before Kasdan was in the movie business, he adored Steve. “And Kevin, to some extent, had carried on the McQueen tradition. The rest of the movie is not too satisfying to me." But then he was also disappointed with his Raiders of the Lost Ark.