Anthony Quinn (1915-2001)
- George Raft, Souls At Sea, 1936. Quinn's famous row during The Plainsman (when director Cecil B DeMille didn't even know this "Indian" could speak English), impressed Carole Lombard. "I heard you told CB to go fuck himself." She got him into her next film and had director Henry Hathaway test him to replace the ill Lloyd Nolan, who was already replacing Raft. Agent Charles Feldman then shocked the young Quinn by asking for Raft's fee - $2,000 a week. Paramount boss Adolph Zukor said $750. Feldman counter-offered - nothing! "But if you pick up his option, you pay $2,000 a week." Zukor agreed, then reneged: $1,000 a week. Feldman made him stick to the original deal, Quinn was costumed, turned up for work - and found Raft on the set! Feldman would not answer his phone. Lombard took over as his agent and called DeMille about his nextfilm...
- Frederic March, The Buccaneer, 1938. He lost that, too. DeMille liked his tests and gave him a smaller role. Quinn wed DeMille's adopted daughter. Katherine, before the film opened. And directed a weak, studio-bound re-make 20 years later.
- Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata, 1952. Fox chief Darryl Zanuck planned a real Hollywood style biopic: Tyrone Power as Zapata. Or, maybe, The Mighty Quinn. Director Elia Kazan always wanted Brando with Quinn (his stage successor in A Streetcar Named Desire) as his brother. And Quinn got an Oscar in his 5lst film.
- John Garfield, Tortilla Flat, 1941. When he could not obtain Quinn for the John Steinebck tale, producer Sam Zimbalist managed to loan Garfield from Warner Bros.
- James Dean, Giant, 1955.
- Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones, 1957. About the two escaped chained convicts, Billy Wilder said: Brando wanted to play the black convict, Mitchum would refuse to be in any film “with a nigger” and Kirk Douglas wanted both roles… Disappointed with The Wild One, Brando never worked for Stanley Kramer again. Quinn, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Frank Sinatra all refused to co-star with Sidney Poitier. So much for liberal Hollywood…
- Yul Brynner, The Magnificent Seven, 1960. Lou Morheim - from TV’s Big Valley and Outer Limits - was the first producer to suggest transferring Japanese master-director Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai classic to the West. He obtained the rights, talked to Quinn, who took them over. Brynner pounced. Quinn rushed to court, suing Brynner and United Artists for $630,000 damages. He lost... every which way.
- Yul Brynner, Tarus Bulba, 1962. Robert Aldrich went through five scripts, United Artists pulled the plug, leaving the producer-director close to bankruptcy. In fact, the tax man was putting For Sale on his house when a deal was finally signed.
- Burt Lancaster, Il Gattopardo/The Leopard, Italy-France, 1962. For Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, the Italian maestro Luchino Visconti wanted Brando, Olivier or Russia’s Ivan TheTerrible: Nikolai Cherkasov. Hollywood wanted a Hollywoodian: Anthony Quinn or Spencer Tracy. “They wanted a Russian, but he was too old,” Lancaster told critic Roger Ebert. “They wanted Olivier, but he was too busy. When I was suggested, Visconti said, ‘Oh, no! A cowboy!’ But I had just finished Judgment at Nuremberg, which he saw, and he needed $3 million, which 20th Century-Fox would give them if they used an American star, and so the inevitable occurred. And it turned out to be a wonderful marriage.” Visconti chose Burt again for Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece), 1974. “Each time I was playing Visconti,” said the cowboy.
- Richard Harris, Major Dundee, l963. There was enough Irish in his bloodfrom his father, Frank Quinn,to play Tyreen.
- Gregory Peck, Behold A Pale Horse, 1963. Tony suggested he was perfect for the anti-Franco hero, deceptively gentle, yet capable of ice-cold ferocity. That, said director Fred Zinnemann, was type-casting. He gave it to Peck (!) and paradoxically, made Quinn the frightening Guardia Civil bully. That, Fred, was typecasting!
- Gilbert Roland, Cheyenne Autumn, 1964. Richard Boone and Quinn were pushed on to Western ikon John Ford as Little Wolf and Dull Knife because of their Natve American ancestry. Ford preferred Mexicans Roland and Ricardo Montalban.|
- Chuck Connors, Ride Beyond Vengeance, 1966. Or Night of the Tiger when Tony was offered the Western in 1964. The A project fast became a B with Frank Gorshin, Gloria Grahame, Michael Rennie - and Connors as the hunter, Tiger Trapp. (Not true that he had a kid brother called Mouse),
- José Ferrer, Cervantes (US: Young Rebel), France, Italy-Spain, 1967. Quinn was announced in 1964 for this early, very Hollywoodian life of the Don Quixote author.
- Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, 1971. Zorba the Jew.
- Marlon Brando, The Godfather, 1971.
- 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 Charles Bronson, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, George C Scott and several of Duke’s co-stars: Quinn, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck. This was director Stuart Miller’s second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
- Topol, Galileo, 1975. "When you have somebody who you are sure will give a brilliant performance, I will say Yes," said Helene Brecht, when exiled US director Joseph Losey had finally figured a way to film the play by her late husband Bertolt Brecht. (Joe had directed it on Broadway in 1947 with Charles Laughton). Quinn was keen and had a spare $1m, if Losey could match it. Brecht’s daughter, Barbara, thought Quinn was wrong. "I don't know any ideal person," said Losey. Not Laughton - and certainly not Topol!
- Carl Weathers, Force 10 From Navarone, 1978. The original team was fine for a sequel back in 1967. However, eleven years later, the old script by Carl Foreman (another blacklist exile in London) was beyond them.
- Alan Arkin, The Magician of Lublin, 1979. Israeli director Menahem Golan's second choice for the Isaac Bashevis Singer novel, after an earlier plan was cancelled by Laurence Harvey's 1973 death.
- John Stanton, Tai-Pan, 1986. UK director John Guillermin's 1981 plan.
- Francisco Rabal, L'autre, France, 1989. While still in acting school, French movie star Bernard Giraudeau told Andrée Chedid that he would film his novel some day. And he did as soon as Quinn loosened his grip the rights. CUT to a few years later: Quinn calls Giradueau to buy the rights back. "Trop tard, monsieur. I've made the film."
- Sam Shepard, Homo Faber/Voyager, Germany, 1991. Brechtian director Joseph Losey read Max Frisch's classic existentialist novel in the 50s and was beaten to the rights by Quinn - "a very bad choice for the role of Walter Faber." Volker Schlondorff found the definitive Faber... 40 years on.
- Kirk Douglas, Greedy, 1993. Quinn and Jack Lemmon were suggested for Uncle Joeafter Paul Newman refused the millionaire - far removed from the other Douglas’ Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is good.”
- Christopher Plummer, The Last Station, 2009. Zorba wanted to play Tolstoy, he told novelist Joy Parini in 1990 when her novel about the writer’s death was published. “I want to write the script with you.” And they did over the next decade with them improvising scenes (often painfully) until his death.” One of the movies inspiring the career of the film’s eventual director Michael Hoffman was Plummer’s The Sound of Music.