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Marcello Mastroianni (1923-1996)

  1. Oskar Werner, Jules et Jim, France, 1961.      The girl in the Jules-Jim sandwich was easy - réalisateur François Truffaut’s lover, Jeanne Moreau.   Jim was Henri Serre, who resembled the novel’s author, Henri-Pierre Roché. As for Jules, "I needed an accent and Marcello would have meant Italian co-production." However, he decided to remain faithful to the Henri-Pierre Roche book and selected the German stage actor he recalled from Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes. Like everything else in the film. The choice was idyllic. Not so much in 1966 when Werner ruined the lead in Truffaut’s Fahrentiheit 451.
  2. Michel Piccoli, Le Mépris (US: Contempt), France, 1963.    Producer Carlo Ponti wanted, as per usual, Loren-Mastroianni. French auteur Jean-Luc Godard tried hard for another proven team:Kim Novak-Frank Sinatra... but was happier with Bardot-Piccoli. “Without her OK,the film would never have happened,” admitted Godard. Itremainsher most frequently televised movie.
  3. Richard Burton, La Bisbetica Domata(The Taming of the Shrew), Italy, 1966.  Until his agent told him to be more international, Italian stage-screen director Franco Zeffirelli's first thought was the tried and tested team: Sophia Loren-Mastroianni.
  4. Maurice Ronet, Lost Command, 1966.     Director Mark Robsonfelt the Italian was best suited for the French officer eager to please his CO, Anthony Quinn. Mastrioianni did not. He hadn’t played minor roles in years. Robson was noDavid Lean and Lost Command was not Lawrence of Arabia.
  5. Rossano Brazzi, Woman Times Seven, 1967.     Seven faces of Shirley MacLaine and her menfolk: Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, Vittorio Gassman, Peter Sellers, Philippe Noiret, etc .And an uncredited bit from Marlon Brando.
  6. Omar Sharif, Mayerling, 1967.     When Marcello passed on Crown Prince Franz Josef (Austrian, not Italian) the re-hash became a short-lived package for Audrey Hepburn and husband Mel Ferrer, as they played the tragic lovers, Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolf, in a 1957 TVersion. But their marriage was unfolding. Pity, they would have been an improvement on the chemical imbalance of Deneuve-Omar Sharif, dead long before they died on-screen.
  7. Omar Sharif, The Appointment, 1969.    Few kept the appointment when Mastroianni-Kim Novak became Sharif-Anouk Aimée.
  8. Dirk Bogarde, La Cadutta degli dei/The Damned, Italy-Germany, 1969.     Italian maestro Luchino Visconti's Götterdämmerung version of Macbethwas a fortuitous meeting with Bogarde... leading to the blissful (for some) Death in Venice, 1971.
  9. Jerry Orbach,The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, 1971.      MGM had high hopes for Marcello’sEnglish language debut in this Mafia comedy. Al Pacino left it for The Godfather; De Niro quit Coppola to be the young Calabriann cycle champ; Marcello confessed he couldn't speaka da Engleesh well enough to pass for Kid Sally, Jimmy Breslin's version of Crazy Joe Gallo. Replaced by Orbach - the future Lennie Briscoe in Law & Order from 1991 to his 2004 death.
  10. Alain Delon, La prima notte du Quiete, Italy-France, 1972.     Delon was in Rome killing Trotsky, when visited by Valerio Zurlini, a friend of the maestro, Visconti (Count Don Luchino Visconti Di Modrone), and was most surprised when the young director gave him a script. He admitted he had also given it to Marcello. Delon jumped first. Hence, finished film is aka Le Profeseur - a flop and, therefore,Delon's favourite."J’adore ce film!"

  11. Yves Montand, César et Rosalie, France, 1972.       Realisateur Claude Sautet could never get his first choice Rosalie and David (Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Paul Belmondo) together with any César: Marcello or Vittorio Gassman or Lino Ventura. The finale trio - Montand, Romy Schneider, Sami Frey - remains unbeatable.
  12. Donald Sutherland, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova), 1975    .With his secondproducer Andrea Rizzoli Rizzoli (son of La Dolce Vita producer Angelo Rizzoli) in 1974, Fellini shot tests of certain actors as the older Casanova - before settling for one actoras young and old. The testees were Alain Cuny (from La Dolce Vita), Ugo Tognazzi - and Vittorio Gassman, a previous Italian screen Casanova in Il Cavaliere misterioso, 1948. Plus, but of course, Marcello, a fine,older Casanova in La nuit de Varennes, 1981
  13. Francisco Rabal, Sorcerer, 1976.  Marcello and Lino Ventura quit when director William Friedkin lost Steve McQueen, the script’s greatest fan - by not shooting inside the US. “One of the biggest mistakes I ever made... That’s the cast I had if I could’ve gotten Steve. I said: ‘I don’t need stars; I’just make it with four good actors.’ And I did.” Another of his major mistakes. Of course, trying to re-make Le salaire de la peur/The Wages of Fear, 1953, was the biggest error or ’em all. Rabal was the Spaniard that Billy had wanted for Frog One in The French Connection when the casting director mistakenly booked the glorious Fernando Rey, instead.
  14. Jon Finch, Une femme fidele, France, 1976.    Sylvia Kristel was the Tourvel type in Vadim's thinly disguised third version of his 1959 Les liaisons dangereuses. (His second was Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme...1973).

  15. Jean-Louis Trintignant, La Donna Della Domenica, Italy, 1976.    
    “When we started, I was the police inspector, Mastroianni the homosexual. After the first scene, [director] Luigi Comencini made a sign.  ‘Come here, you two.  Would it bother you to swop roles?’  Mastroianni asked me: ‘Would that bore you?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘and you?’ After lunch, he became the cop and me the homo” - the well-named Massimo Campi. JLT said Comencini was a bit of an authoritarian,  “He has a whistle. He uses a whistle!!!” He preferred Marcello…. “Mastroianni is one of the men I love the most… A  magnificent man, the most interesting of The Four Colonels (Gassman, Tognazzi, Sordi). He is   intelligent and modest… tolerant, generous. I really love him! We discussed everything - life, women, because  we are… pistachiers [flirts]. I’ve  seen him seduce women… I saw him, seduce une bombe, une bomb sexuelle, an actress  -  I won’t tell you her name - but the way he did that! Incredible, incredible!”Mastroanni more or less played JLT in Nadine Trintignant’s Ca n’a arrive qu’aux autres.

  16. Rod Steiger, Jesus of Nazareth, 1977.    "He hummed and hawed over money,"said Italian director Franco Zeffirelli.  "Mercifully, as it turnedout.We finally got Steiger - a magnificent Pontius Pilate."
  17. Giancarlo Giannini, Viaggio con Anita, Italy-France, 1978. Anita’s trip grew from a stanza axed from the La dolce vita  script- with Marcello Mastroianni and his lover, taking a (longer) Cadillac trip to his father’s deathbed.  Fellini wanted Sophia - representing Nature opposite Marcellino (or Gregory Peck) as Culture. Producer Carlo Ponti (aka Mr Loren, after a sudden, 1957 Mexican proxy wedding), didn’t want his old partner/enemy, producer Dino De Laurentiis, messing with his lady, and and priced her out of contention.  End of project, as Fellini refused any other Anita (even his beloved Miss Ekberg) and the excellent script, or the bare bones of it, finished up also being known  by the Woody Allenish title,  Lovers and Liars.  And flopped. Naturalmente.
  18. Alain Delon, Nouvelle vaugue, Switzerland-France, 1989.     When searching in 1964for a project to help save his marriage to Anna Karina, bilious realisateur Jean-Luc Godard suggested a story of an actress caught between two men - played by the same man (Jean-Paul Belmondo). Nothing came of it. In 1987, producer Marin Karmitz suggested it with Mastroianni - who passed on what eventually became Nouvelle vague. Delon, thoroughly bemused on and off-screen, struggling with having Godard’s last minute dialogue on cue-cards.
  19. Luca De Filippo, Sabato, domenica et lunedi/Saturday, Sunday and Monday,Italy, TV, 1990.     "A pity- who better than Sophia andI to play husband and wife." Producer Carlo Ponti (and Italy’stele-tycoon Silvio Berlusconi) agreed and planned another teaming with Loren (in total, they made 13 films). However, Marcello, who loved Eduardo De Filippo's play ("moving and ironic"), did not approve the adaptation by director Lina Wertmuller, among others. The role went to the third generation ofthe De Filippoacting family.
  20. Peter O'Toole,Isabelle Eberhart, 1991.      A 1976 plan by the London producer Don Boyd.

  21. Kirk Douglas, Oscar, 1991.     When Victor Mature asked too much money to be Sylvester Stallone's gangster father, John Landis considered Marcello."But the guy is just too busy, doing his usual three, four leads a year."His career total: 159 screen roles in 58 years.
  22. Donel Donnelly, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
  23. Alain Delon, Leretourde Casanova, France, 1992.    Realisateur Edouard Niermans' film was first announced by Paris producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier in 1987 - after producing Mastroianni's magnificently aged Casanova in La route de Varennes, France, 1982. "So he was one of the few people who could have done it," said  Niermans. "My only other choice was [Jean-Louis] Trintignant.  But bringing the story to the screen proved a very long, complicated  story. The  producer told me: It's got to be with Delon. I wasn't sure, but then I felt it might be a good idea.It wasn't. The experience with that actor was so frightening!"
  24. Max von Sydow, Time Is Money, France, 1993.     "As the main character is an old Hollywood director turned novelist," explained writer-director Paolo Barzman, "we thought we should have an actor closely identified with a certain director: Mastroianni-Fellini, Von Sydow-Bergman..."
  25. Philippe Noiret, La vie silencieuse, France., 1996.    Too ill.
  26. Carlo Cecchi, Hamam/The Turkish Bath, Italy, 1997.    Planning his directing debut after 15 years of assisting, Ferzan Ozpetek chased Mastroianni. "He liked the script but due to health reasons, he thought he'd be unable to do it. Think about that: An actor as great as Mastroianni responded immediately while others never bothered to reply at all. After a couple of successes, certain actors develop star attitudes."Filmwas unveiled at the 50th Cannes festival, at the same time as the late Marcello’s autobio-docu, Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo, sì, io mi ricordo/Marcello Masttoianni: I Remember, Yes I Remember.



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