Payday Loans

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Nick Nolte

  1. Michael Ontkean, Slap Shot, 1975. After the former  stage actor broke through a year later in  TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man, he was buried in three  picture deals. “I’d say: What are the pictures? And they were always crap.” Which is why he tried to join Paul Newman’s ice-hockey mooners.But there was no time for Nolte to take skating lessons.  Don Most, aka Malph in the Happy Daysseries, auditioned for the same role in Paul Newman’s Charlestown Chiefs' squad.  But the Canadian or Vancouverian Ontkean was the real thing. He had been a useful hockey player who turned down a New York Rangers pro contract to take up acting. 
  2. Roy Scheider, Sorcerer, 1976.    ... and director William Friedkin’s unwise, un-good and unsuccessful re-make of HG Clouzot’s Le salaire de la peur/The Wages of Fear, 1953.
  3. Harrison Ford,Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 1976.
  4. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978.
  5. John Heard, Cutter's Way, (ex-Cutter and Boone), 1980.   Once Dustin Hoffman’s schedule clashed, producer Paul Gurian was keen on Nolte or Tommy Lee Jones as Alex Cuitter, while Czech director Ivan Passer preferred Heard. Passer later complained: “UA murdered the film. Or, at least, they tried to murder it.”
  6. Ken Wahl, Fort Apache the Bronx,1980.   New York mayor Ed Koch called it racist. Yeah, right, with a civil rights champion starring!  Floating around for some years - once with Steve McQueen  and Nolte attached - was based on New York detectives, Tom Mulheran and Peter Tessitore (respun as Murphy and Corelli). Their 41st Precinct beat was known as Fort Apache because of the huge crime rate. Must have improved. It was later known as… Little House on the Prairie.
  7. Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.
  8. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner, 1981.  UK wiz Ridley Scott spent a long time sniffing out the perfect Deckard.  From top notchers Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (the first choice was keen… on making it a totally different character, of course), Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino…  to such excellent journeymen as William Devane, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Frederic Forrest, Scott Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken.  Martin Sheen was too exhausted after Apocalypse Now. In sheer desperation, choices lowered to Cliff Gorman, Judd Hirsch. Even the Virginian Morgan Paull stood a chance, having played Deckard in Scott’s tests of potential Rachaels. (He was given Holden for his pains). Plus Arnold Schwarzenegger, not yet seen as Conan, much less Terminator.  And for probably the last time in such an illustrious list,  the fading star of Burt Reynolds.
  9. Kurt Russell, The Thing, 1981.    “The ultimate in alien terror.” Bah! Not even close. Which explains why Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline passed on John Carpenter’s unwanted re-hash of the (so-so) 1950 original produced (some say, directed) by Howard Hawks.  So Carpenter actually thought about Chuck Norris!!! (Could have been worse,  Universal had wanted Tobe Hooper to direct). Fred Ward fought for the lead  but Russell won the third of his five Carpenter movies.  
  10. Sylvester Stallone, First Blood (aka Rambo),1982.

  11. Martin Sheen, That Championship Season, 1982.    Announced with George C Scott by director William Friedkin in the 70s.
  12. Chuck Norris, Code of Silence, 1984.  When Clint Eastwood passed on what was first called Dirty Harry IV: Code of Silence, the next rewrite of George LaFountaine’s 1976 French book, Le Pétard recalcitrant, was offered to Jeff Bridges Charles Bronson, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Nick Nolte, Kurt Russell and Jon Voight. Coming so soon after Burt Reynolds’ Dirty Harryish Sharkey’s Machine, 1981, this one was put down as Dirty Chuckie
  13. Willem Dafoe, Platoon,1985.    Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp (way too young), Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson, Denzel Washington  were on parade for Sergeant Grodin, Elias K. 3365664125 USKC-987654in the only Vietnam war movie made by a Vietnam war veteran.  Auteur Oliver Stone grunted through eight months of ’Nam combat (twice wounded) during 1967-1968  This then, was as  viscerallyclose to the real thing as possible, feasible or desirable - ie, not John Wayne’s spurious propaganda, Green Berets, 1967. Originally,  Stone had wanted to match Nolte and Mickey Rourke as the two sergeants fighting for Charlie Sheen’s soul, as leraders of two factions oif grunts: the heads (into dope) and juicers (booze). Or then again, life death.
  14. Jim Belushi, About Last Night, 1986.    Nolte flew to New York to meet Bill Murray about filming David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. "Not," reported the then director Rob Cohen, "a match made in heaven."
  15. Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987.   There were 16 possible John McClanes… From Nolte, Tom Berenger, Michael Madsen, to top TV heroes Richard Dean Anderson and Don Johnson to A-listers:, Charles Bronson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone. And Frank Sinatra had to be contractually offered the hero. In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in. So it flows.
  16. Kurt Russell, Tequila Sunrise, 1988.     The LA buddies on either side of the law - dealer and cop - went from Jeff Bridges-Nick Notle to Beatty-Scott Glenn to producer Thom Mount’s winning combo. Gibson-Kurt Russell.  Towne and Russell based Nick Frescia on another contender, Pat Riley, coach of the LA Lakers basketball team. “Riley’s look was right… arrogantly confident but not offensive,” said Russell. So he used it again as Furious 7 and 8’s Mr Nobody in 2014 and 2016.  
  17. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.     UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars - Nolte, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta… and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver - all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.
  18. Robert Redford, Havana, 1990.     Once hailed as the TV Redford, Nolte passed on gambler Jack Weil, setting up a poker game in Cuba 1958 - played by the Dominican Republic and Key West, Florida. This was Redford’s seventh and last (and worst) film with director pal Sydney Pollack after the seven-Oscar highs of their Out of Africa, 1985. Which is why Jack Nicholsn nixed it.
  19. Jeff Daniels, Love Hurts, 1991    . Jonathan Demme could not find backing for Nolte, left it to Bud Yorkin and Daniels.
  20. Kevin Costner,JFK, 1991.

  21. Robert Downey Jr, Chaplin,1981.  Peter Sellers’ dream role for decades…  The studio wanted to play safe: Billy Crystal or Robin Williams.  UK director Richard Attenborough had even more  bizzare ideas for his biopic: Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Kevin Kline (he became Douglas Fairbanks Jr). Plus Nick Nolte as the older Charlie. And one Brit only, the West End stage star Anthony Sher. Oh, and inexplicably, Nicolas Cage!!??? The first time she saw Downey dressed up on-set, Geraldine Chaplin (playing her paternal grandmother Hannah Chaplin) was so choked up she could scarcely breathe. 

  22. Bruce Willis, Death Becomes Her, 1992.    After Kevin Kline and Jeff Bridges passed, Nick agreed with them and Robert Zemeckis went to a fourth choice of co-star... as if Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn weren’t big enough names for the whacky comedy wannabe.

  23. Don Johnson, Born Yesterday, 1992.    Disney's cost-conscious Hollywood Pictures cut the re-make's budget from three stars to one - Melanie Griffith. Not saying much for John Goodman and her eventually added husband.
  24. Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, 1993. Last time Dr Richared Kimble went on the lam, it took him 120 hours during 1963-1967 to prove he didn’t kill his wife. Ford managed it in 130 minutes. After surpassing Nolte, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia.
  25. Richard Gere, Intersection, 1994.    Nolte had already re-made Michel Simon and Gérard Depardieu classics and producer Frederic Golchan also saw him for Michel Piccoli’s classic role in the (bad - what else?) re-tread of Les choses de la vie.
  26. Bruce Willis, 12 Monkeys, 1995. Director Terry Gilliam nearly fled when The Money Men closed ranks against Nolte and Jeff Bridges.
  27. Tom Hanks, Forest Gump, 1995.    A bright notion as Frank Oz, Joe Dante, Penny Marshall, Robert Zemeckis all rejected the script. Zemeckis changed his mind and won an Oscar - presented, by chance (?), by his mentor, Steven Spielberg.
  28. Liam Neeson, Before And After, 1996. Columbia wanted Nolte or (again!) Jeff Bridges to be Meryl Streep's husband. Barbert Schroeder kept the faith with the big Irishman.
  29. Jon Voight, The Rainmaker, 1997.    For an insurance company man as Francis Coppola lowered his sights - and tackled John Grisham
  30. Peter Fonda,Ulee's Gold, 1997.    Winning his first Oscar nomination, Fonda yelled: "Thank God for Nick Nolte...!"

  31. George Clooney, Three Kings, 11998.  Or two, anyway. Director David O Russell and his star, Clooney.  Well, not his star, actually. He’d wanted  Jeff Bridges, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson or Nolte  (the only one to admit he was too old for Major Gates). Or even Nicolas Cage, but he was Bringing Out The Dead. So as far as Russell was concered, he was stuck with Clooney - working three days a week on ERin LA, and four for Russell. Their  main fight had been over Russell’s treatment of an extra, throwing him to the ground. He then foolishly taunted Clooney: “Hit me!”  So, he did.

  32. James Woods, Northfolk, 2003.    Nolte loved the Polish brothers' script but preferred the parish priest Father Harlan and "Jimmy was already circling the Walter role, " noted Michael Polish who directed. His co-writer-producer twin, Mark, played Jimmy's son.
  33. Jon Voight, Pride and Glory, 2006.    Benched by an old knee injury… 9/ll postponed the movie when original co-stars Hugh Jackman and Mark Wahlberg agreed that after the Twin Tower heroics was not the time for an NYPD corruption exposé. Once made, the movie was shelved for two years… as Wahlberg took over Jackman’s role in The Lovely Bones, 2008.
  34. Aaron Eckhart, The Rum Diary, 2009.     Booked for Sanderson opposite Johnny Depp’s Kemp (aka the young gonzo journo Hunter S Thompson) in a 2000 version that rocked but never rolled. Never giving up, Depp made it happen nine years on.
  35. Paul Schrader,Dog Eat Dog, 2016.    The crooks are so dumb, this is Carry On Tarantino. But the director, Paul Schrader, said: “The film is as much about crime films as it is about criminals. There’s kind of a meta quality to it.” Just not enough to interest Nolte, Michael Douglas, Rupert Everett, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken, Michael Wincott in playing a mobster called The Greek. Schrader also asked fellow directors - but Italian Americans! - Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Then, Nic Cage persuaded his director to go Greek, himself.  



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