1. - Montgomery Clift, Suddenly Last Summer, 1959.
Clift was in a bad way Rolling in agony on the carpet, suffering drugs and alcohol. And trembling - not good for a psycho-surgeon like Dr Cukrowicz. Prtoducer Sam Spiegel wanted to sack him after the first rushes. "Over my dead body," stormed Liz Taylor, banning the producer from his own set. He secretly engineered a replacement but during his test as the surgeon, O'Toole looked directly at the camera and said: "It's all right, Mrs Spiegel, your son will never play the violin again!" Spiegel was furious. "He’ll never work for me again!" Well, not until he really needed him for... Lawrence of Arabia, 1962. (O’Toole’s discoverer, Jules Buck, had been part of the Spiegel-John Huston’s Horizon Pictures, and Huston’s cameraman for his classic WWII documentary, The Battle of San Pietro).
2. - Stanley Baker, Blind Date (US: Chance Meeting), 1959. Inspired by "his prodigious talent" at the Bristol Old Vic, the exiled US director Joseph Losey and scenarist Ben Barzman wrote Inspector Morgan for O'Toole, right down to the cold the actor had when they met. But a British star name was required to off-set the foreign leads: German Hardy Kruger and French Micheline Presle. Losey said, sadly, that O'Toole was later persuaded to change his nose. "A grave error. His nose wasn't ugly or deformed, just had a bulbous end - gave him character."
3. - Kieron Moore, The Day They Robbed The Bank of England, 1960. Rather than the obvious, "rather lunatic, mad Irishman," he took the smaller role of a young Guards officer. "A bit of an idiot -or is he?"This was O’Toole’sway to battle typecasting. "I was then playing in The Long, The Short and The Tall onstage and Jules Buck was one of the few American producers who could see me in any other way than a Cockney savage." By the end of their first meeting, they were friends and forming Keep Films.
4. - Laurence Harvey, The Long, The Short and The Tall, 1960. Director Leslie Norman (father of Barry) wanted the stage star. "They made me have Harvey... He and Richard Harris let the film down. Harris because he resented Harvey, despised him - and they didn’t get on with Richard Todd. "
5. - Albert Finney, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 1960. Future 007 producer Harry Saltzman's idea for Arthur Seaton was not really dangerously macho enough for"don't let the bastards grind ya down!"
6. - Richard Harris, Mutiny onthe Bounty, 1962. One Irishman or another seeemed to be theMGM thinking regarding the role of Seaman John Mills. O’Toole, of course was otherwise engaged with a much finer epic. Lawrence of Arabia.
7. - Richard Burton, Cleopatra, 1963.
8. - Sean Connery, Marnie, 1963. After Marlon Brando and Paul Newman passed, Alfred Hitchcock looked at O’Toole and Rock Hudson for his hero, Mark Rutland. Then, Cubby Broccoli showed Hitch some glimpsws of Dr No … and, although, he didn’t match theAmerican aristocrat hero one jot, the role was Sean’s. He took two more films from O’Toole: The Man Who Would Be King, 1975, and The Name of the Rose, 1986.
9. - Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, 1964. "Someone from Warners approachedme and Isaid they werepotty. The only man in the world who shouldplay Higginswas Rex."O'Toole was iggins Professor Higgins in a stage revival of Pygmalion- the basis of My Fair Lady - in 1984.
10 - Richard Burton, Becket, 1964. The pals swopped roles - at Liz Taylor's canny suggestion. O'Toole became Henry II saying: "Nobody could play Becket like he did - as a sort of sacred coal-miner!"
11 - Omar Sharif, Doctor Zhivago, 1965. Close to the top of impeccable director David Lean's thoughts, despite being too extrovert. "I'd rather suppress his exhibitionism than attempt to coax strength out of a lily."Never happened because (a) Lean's previous producer, Sam Spiegel, refused to release O'Toole from two movies(b) someone slipped him an unimpressive script draft and (c) he had not recovered from the gruelling Lawrence of Arabia shoot with Lean. O'Toole's refusalcauseda rift between the two that never healed.
12 - James Mason, Lord Jim, 1965. Feeling too old (at 33!) for another action hero, O’Toole said he’d prefer to be Gentleman Brown. Auteur Richard Brooks said No. “You have to be the hero!”
13 - Sean Connery, Thunderball, 1965.
14 - Rod Taylor, Young Cassidy, 1965. While director John Ford debatedHarris v O’Toole, to play Sean O’Casey, the dying playwright recommended Donal Donnelly or Norman Rodway to play his earlydays. Fortunately, poorO’Casey was deadby 1964 and never saw the mess - finished by director Jack Cardiff.
15 - James Fox, The Chase, 1966.
Livid that his contract with producer Sam Spiegel prevented him being Doctor Zhivago, O'Toole decided to refuse this "ghastly" Spiegel movie. "I have a block. I can't play Americans - anybody, any accent, but American. It's like Americans speaking English. Never works, misses by aninch,out of synch, out of juxt. Only Sellers can do it perfectly." Sam made money out of his other Lawrence of Arabia find, Omar Sharif, playing Zhivago, so why let OToole do it? Sam then inisisted the Irishman and Egyptian, play Nazis in The Night of the Generals. This was the first of Sam’s seven consecutive flops 1965-1983. Minus David Lean, Sam was a zero.
16 - Robert Shaw, A Man For All Seasons, 1966. One dream line-up featured Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness, with O'Toole promoted from Becket’s King Henry II to King Henry VIII.
17 - Guy Stockwell, Beau Geste, 1966. Universal had fleeting thoughts about a British superstar version - with Richard Burton, Albert Finney, O'Toole -until counting the cost and relegating it tocontract slaves on the back lot desert.
18 - Richard Burton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966. Elizabeth Taylor had $1.1m, 30 extra lbs and approval of almost everything. Certainly about who should be George. She accepted Canadian Hill, Broadway’s Tony-winning George, until realising she had one at home. Burton had encouraged her to accept the challenge of being Martha. Now she did likewise for him. (Some critics complained about his English accent- better than his Welsh!) All of which means it was Liz who rejected: Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, James Mason and the Burtons’ pal, O’Toole.
19 - Cyril Cusack, Fahrenheit 451, 1966. When French realisateur François Truffaut and US backer Lewis Allen decided in 1963 on Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda as the two women, O'Toole was to be the fire chief -going to another Irishman three years later.
20 - Maurice Roëves, Ulysses, 1966. Wolf Mankowitz adapted the James Joyce classic for his then pal - and business partner - Peter Sellers as Leopold Bloom, Diane Cilento as his wife, Molly, andO’Toole as Stephen Dedalus in Dublin on June 16, 1904.
21 - Rex Harrison, Dr Dolittle, 1966. "I did say I wouldn't mind playing Dolittle, but they didn't like that at all."
22 - Cyril Cusack, Fahrenheit 451, 1966. As if he didn’t have enough pressures - first film in colour, first in English, a lingo he was far from confident with - French nouvelle vague icon François Truffaut also suffered four years of casting hurdles…. starting with Paul Newman as the fireman hero, Montag. When feeling Ray Bradbury’s story was too important to be shot in English(!), the réalisateur tried his past and future stars, Charles Aznavour, Jean-Paul Belmondo - and Oskar Werner as Montag’s boss. Producer Lewis Allen wanted Sterling Hayden in either role; or O’Toole, Richard Burton, Albert Finney or Max Von Sydow as the captain. Producer Sam Spiegel even tried muscling in by promising Richard Burton… bossing a Robert Redford and loving Elizabeth Taylor!
23 - David Niven, Casino Royale, 1966.
24 - Terence Stamp, Histoires extraordinaires (UK/US: Spirits of the Dead), France-Italy, 1967.
Getting back into action after the collapse of The Voyage de G Mastorna (the best film he never made), Federico Fellini joined the Edgar Allen Poe sketch project. (The other directors, Claude Chabrol, Joe Losey, Luchino Visconti, Orson Welles shrunk to just Louis Malle and Roger Vadim). Fellini fell for Poe’s Never Bet The Devil Your Head, with a celeb-stressed actor, the titular Toby Dammit, running amok at Cinecittà. A cordial meet in London later turned nasty, with O’Toole screaming “Fascist!” and Fellini replying FU! He then called up Burton, James Fox and ultimately, Terry put his Stamp on it. “I do think about my career as before and after Fellini,” Stamp told Alex Simon, “because that was such a landmark for me. I knew he’d written Toby for O’Toole and I knew Peter wouldn’t do it. I knew I was the second choice. But he loved me and the price was that I love him back, which wasn’t hard. So those four weeks were a real rush for me and it was only because of what had happened to me during the Fellini shoot that I was able to give the kind of performance in Teorema that I was able to. Fellini got the best acting out of me I’d ever done at that point.”
25 - Dirk Bogarde, Sebastian, 1967. Failing to get any of the New Wave Brits (Michael Caine, Patrick McGoohan, O'Toole), director Michael Powell settled for The Old Guard who had Ill Met By Moonlight for him in1957. "I was lost, the picture was lost and I lost control of the picture."
26 - Franco Nero, Camelot, 1967. The Burtons as Arthur and Guenevere with O'Toole as Lancelot Du Lac. Way too expensive!
27 - David Hemmings, The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1968. In the saddle when producer Joseph E Levine tried to buy out LaurenceHarvey's interest.
28 - Ron Moody, Oliver! 1968. Composer Lionel Bart sued O'Toole who, allegedly,had said he wouldplay Fagin - for free.And didn't. Moody never dreamt he’d be offered the film “because of the backstage hostilities during the original stage show. Carol Reed had never directed a musical before, and took me to lunch to ask me how he should go about it. Once I was officially given the role, I was allowed the freedom to direct myself.”
29 - Franco Nero, A Professional Gun, Italy-Spain, 1968. He topped the tortillaWestern cast whenproducer Alberto Grimaldi first announced Il mercenariofor O’Toole, Burt Lancaster and Antonella Lualdi for director Gillo Pontecorvo in1967. WhenSergio Corbucci startedhelming a year later, his stars were Nero, Tony Musanteand Giovanna Ralli.
30 - Richard Burton, Anne of the Thousand Days, 1968. Producer Hal Wallis was musing upon O'Toole for Henry VIII and Geraldine Chaplin, Julie Christie, Faye Dunaway, Olivia Hussey or Charlotte Rampling as his second, luckless wife, Anne Boleyn - mother of Elisabeth I. Oh and Elizabeth Taylor when Richard Burton finally became the king. O’Toole was too thin and Burton too short…
31 - David Hemmings, Alfred The Great, 1969. Announced in 1964. Two years before Hemmings exploded in Blow Up.
32 - David Hemmings, Fragment of Fear, 1969. Billed as... A phantasmagoria of fright!.
33 - Robert Stephens, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1969. Iconic director Billy Wilder wanted Britain's two Peter The Greats - O'Toole and Sellers -in a musical planned with My Fair Lady 's Lerner & Loewe team.Wilder then went straight with no music. And no star baggage. When O’Toole dithered about the unfinished script and Wilder never wanted to see Sellers again after the 1963 Kiss Me, Stupid debacle. (About as big as the Sherlock debacle!)
34 - Tom Baker, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1970. Despite the failure of The Night of the Generals (largely due to the way O’Toole played his Nazi murderer), producer Sam Spiegel wanted his Lawrence as Rasputin. Rasputin! OK, he had the right flair… but a far better movie, The Ruling Class. It was Laurence Olivier, cast as Count Witte, who recommended one of his National Theatre discoveries to Spiegel.
35 - Christopher Jones, Ryan's Daughter, 1970. Once MarlonBrando changed his mind about being the war hero lover, scenarist Robert Bolt suggested three names to his director David Lean: Richard Burton, Richard Harris and O'Toole. Lean then chose a zero.
36 - Dean Martin, “something big,” 1970. That’s the correct title because that’s what Dino, Brian Keith and Ben Johnson keep saying in the odd Western penned by James Lee Barrett for O’Toole of Arabia. It reminded critic Roger Ebert of Sinatra’s final films, where “the personality and off-screen persona of the star is actually thought to be more important than what’s going on.” Sinatra’s British friend, Carol White (or as he called her: Carolwhite), was the Dino-chasing Dover McBride.
37 - Christopher Plummer, Waterloo, 1971.
Director John Huston dreamt of... Burton and O'Toole as Napoleon and Wellington! "It got postponed, rather unhappily because that was going to be a real jump-in," said O'Toole. "A character part in probably the most mliterate script I've read since Becket - and The Big Fella directing!" In fact, O’Toole was so keen that he and his business partner, Jules Buck, serioulsy thought of buying the project from Italian producer Dino de Laurentiis and Russia’s Mosfilm. When that didn’t work, nor did O’Toole. Russia's Sergei Bondarchuk selected Rod Steiger and Plummer.
38 - Zalman King, The Ski Bum, 1971. A preposterous 1967 notion, explaining why King quit acting. He later scripted 9 1/2 Weeks and directed a succession of copy-cats.
39 - Robert Foxworth, Hogan's Goat, TV, 1971. A notion more grandiose than the script - the Burtons, O'Toole and Spencer Tracy! William Alfred's blank-verseBroadway play was just not importantenough.It wound up as a PBS special.
40 - Franco Nero, Le Moine/The Monk,France, 1972. His interest vanished once the packageno longer included Spanish director Luis Buñuel and O'Toole's Great Catherine in 1968:Jeanne Moreau.
41 - Michael Caine, X Y and Zee, 1972. "Under-rated," said O’Toole, "because the early 70s went right out of fashion,even more than the 60s." Caine had been O’Toole’s understudy in the London stage production of The Long and the Short and the Tall in those same 60s.
42 - Dean Martin, Something Big, 1972. Written as a farce for O'Toole, the Western became Dino's second for oater director Andrew McLaglen and writer James Lee Barrett. TheBritish touch became Honor Blackman!
43 - John Hurt, The Naked Civil Servant, TV, 1975. O'Toole as the titular Quentin Crisp - what a delicious idea! Although, no one could have bettered Hurt.
44 - David Bowie, The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1975.
Director Nicolas Roeg was very keen on "his Garbo quality."Or what Ian Holm called"an enigma wrapped in charisma and sprinkled with booze." Cinematographer Tony Richmond could never think of anyone else who could have played Newton, the alien. “ Bowie was so strange, so ethereal, so androgynous. Great to work with – a bit weird, but great. I never saw him using any drugs on set. He had a minder looking after him, as well as a chauffeur, Tony Mascia, who played the same role in the film." Bowie always said he built Newton upon his memories of Tony Newley’s cult TV series, The Strange World of Gurney Slade - a prophetic kind of pre-Monty Python, too bizarre for the great unwashed, circa 1960, that ATV quickly switched it from primetimeto late night. Bowie was not alone among UK rock stars influenced by Newley and Gurney… and Newley as Gurney.
* The lanky Irishman was first choice. And for the same reason that David Bowie succeeded him. Director Nicholas Roeg wanted “a definite, pointedly stark face.” Or indeed... extra-terrestrial. [Illustration by Graham Marsh, 1976]
45 - Ian McShane, Jesus of Nazareth, TV, 1977. Ill health forced himto quit being JudasIscariot in the The Bible according to Lew Grade’s apostles,FrancoZefferelli and Anthony Burgess.
46 - Sean Connery, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
47 - Timothy Dalton, Sexette, 1978. Happily passed on Mae West's (lamentable) finale. Ian Holm again: "There was something unconsciously gladiatorial and threatening about him... strangely ridiculous, often riveting and unpredictably raw."
48 - Donald Pleasence, Halloween, 1978. Hitchcock-fan and auteur John Carpenter searched high and low for his shrink, Dr Sam Loomis: O’Toole and the Hammer horrors, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee versus Charles Napier, Lawrence Tierney, Abe Vigoda. The $300,00 shoestring budget couldn’t afford any of them! Same for the kinda obvious Lloyd Bridges, David Carradine, Kirk Douglas, Steven Hill, Walter Matthau… and such off-the-wall surprises as John Belushi, Mel Brooks, Yul Brynner, Edward Bunker, Sterling Hayden, Dennis Hopper, Kris Kristofferson… and Dick’s brother, Jerry Van Dyke. Loomis, incidentally was named after John Gavin’s character in Psycho; his screen lover was Janet Leigh, mother of Carpenter’s heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis. So it flows.
4q9 - Christopher Plummer, Murder By Decree, 1979. Second offer to play Sherlock Holmes.Not even the extra carrot of Olivier as Watson tempted O'Toole. They just couldn't get on. Mason could (and should) have played both roles! O'Toole finally became Holmes (or his voice) in the early 80s foran elegant collection of four 50-minutes Sherlock cartoons made for TV.
50 - David Warner, TRON, 1981. When invited to play the villain, Dillinger, and his digital world version, Sark, O’Toole studied the scenario and…
51 - Bruce Boxleitner, TRON, 1981. … said he’d be far more interested in playing Alan Bradley and his digital counterpart, Tron. Disney, however, was aiming younger. If it could be said that the nonsense was aimed in any other direction than dullsville.
52 - George Segal, Killing ’Em Softly, Canada, 1982. From same book that led to French realisateur Louis Malle's Atlantic City, 1980.Max Fischer intended shooting around O'Toole, while busy in Hollywood.Then, due to tax deadlines, he had to quit. Enter: Segal. Exit:the film!
53 - Jonathan Pryce, Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1983. Something awful that way went.
54 - James Fox, A Passage To India, 1984.
His Lawrence director David Lean thought of O'Toole only -for what proved his finale. Lean said that Fielding, based by EM Forster on himself, could be played by any good character actor. "But it's got to shine. Peter has that star quality. He can be very sensitive to distress. He also has another asset: a strange, sexual ambiguity which I played up in Lawrence but wouldplaydown with Fielding."
55 - Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, France-Italy-West Germany, 1986. The French realisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud also consideredMichael Caine, Albert Finney, Richard Harris, Ian McKellen to incarnateUmberto Ecco's monk detective, William of Baskerville.
56 - John Neville, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1987. Director Terry Gilliamtalked to him in China during The Last Emperor - and the filmlackedhis flair for going way, but wayover the top.
57 - Jack Nicholson, Batman, 1988.
58 - Lance Henricksen, The Pit and the Pendulum, 1990. Quit due to production delays. Anthony Perkins, his first replacement as Torquemada, also had to leave.
59 - Tommy Lee Jones, JFK, 1991.
60 - Jeremy Kemp, Angels and Insects, 1995. A coolly erotic version of AS Byatt’s novel by Mr and Mrs Philip Haas.
61 - Sam Waterston, Nixon, 1995. He was on writer-director Oliver Stone's must list as CIA chief Richard Helms.
62 - Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
63 - Freddie Jones, Married 2 Malcolm, 1998. The titular Mark Addy has two wives... and a tedious scenario as O’Toole quickly noted. The next Jasper choice, Ronald Fraser, also fell out - by falling down and dying.
64 - Michael Gambon, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2003. Did not take to the idea -suggested by Richard Harris’ family- to take over his late pal’s Albus Dumbledore (outed as gay by author JK Rowling in 2007).
65 - Billy Connolly, Quartet, 2012. A new director - fella named Dustin Hoffman first asked another old-timer to head his helping debut. . “But when the time came,” said Connolly, “Albert Finney was a bit sick. He couldn’t do it. So [Hoffman] went to Peter O’Toole but Peter O’Toole doesn’t want to work any more, so [Hoffman] came to me.” The sole problem was that the Scots comic was 70, not 75. “I don’t look it because I’m not wrinkly. Dustin was worried … that I looked too young.” Either way, he still stole the entire movie…and from such renowned film stealers as Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Tom Courtney and, for the second time in a film called Quartet, Dame Maggie Smith.