- Richard Beymer, West Side Story, 1961. Honestly!!! Hard for veteran US director Robert Wise to believe it, too. But there among his papers at USC is a four-page list of people he'd interviewed for the ten-Oscar winning musical. Including The Santa Monica Kid, aged 23. Beymer was dubbed by Jimmy Byrant. And “wasn’t happy with his performance,” reported co-star Russ Tamblyn. “He thought he was miscast: he was from a farm in Indiana and had no street sense whatsoever. He needed a lot of direction and didn't get it. They just stuck fake teeth in his mouth!”
- Marlon Brando, The Chase, 1966. Brando swopped roles, to become the hunter, not the hunted. Reaching stardom, Redfordlisted the main dangers: 1. You will be treated like an object. 2. If you are not careful, you will begin to act like an object. 3. The final and death stage - you become that object.
- Oskar Werner, 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 put him, back on track by suggesting Douglas, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift or Sterling Hayden. Producer Sam Spiegel tried muscling in by promising Richard Burton bossing a Redford loving Elizabeth Taylor! Getting desperate, Truffaut made the mistake of his life by giving the fireman to Werner (originally booked for the fire chief). Any of the others asleep would have been better! The Austrian’s head had been turned by Hollywood since his and Truffaut’s Jules et Jim triumph. Werner argued constantly over (his dull) interpretation, refused one “dangerous” scene (as if a fireman would not have to deal with fire) and even cut his hair to ruin continuity. If not for the six years planning, Truffaut would have walked. Instead, he simply truncated Werner’s later scenes - and used a double, John Ketteringham, in most of them!
George Segal, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966. "Don't you wanttofilm with the Burtons?"askedan incredulous director, Mike Nichols, who had directed Redford in Broadway's Barefoot in the Park.No, he didn't. He feltthem - andtheir films - were bad. "I don't like filming a lot and I don't respect the profession, the business of being a star." Enter: Segal. "That was very lucky for me. Richard Burton was kind of a mentor for all of us actors. He is probably the best actor I have ever worked with."
Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate,1967.
"I interviewed hundreds, maybe thousands, of men," recalled stage-screen director Mike Nichols. He liked Redford but said the public would never believe him as a loser with girls. "He didn't understand and I said: 'Well, have you ever struck out with a girl?' And he said: 'What do you mean?'It made my point." Described by The New York Times as “a sort of cross between Ringo Starr and Buster Keaton, Hoffman knew his place. “I’m not supposed to be in movies. An ethnic actor is supposed to be in ethnic New York, in an ethnic, Off Broadway show... I talked to Mike:I’m not right for this part, sir. This is a Gentile. This is a Wasp. This is Robert Redford.” Nichols replied: "You mean he’s not Jewish? [Pause]. Maybe he's Jewish inside. Why don’t you come out and audition for us?’ Katharine Ross recalls their test. "We were nervous, nothing seemed to be working.He kept saying: 'This is terrible.' He didn't use that word. 'This is the worst thing I've ever done.' He didn't use those words, either."
- Richard Crenna, Wait Until Dark, 1967. Early idea from Warner's boss, Jack Warner.
- Terence Stamp, Blue, 1968. Stalked out, leaving the Western to an East Ender!Paramount production chief Robert Evans called it, "one of the disasters of all time." Particularly as it helped Redford quit...
- John Cassavetes, Rosemary's Baby, 1968 .Director Roman Polanski needed "a clean-cut young American, with the looks favoured by TV commercials, plus enough fire and temperament to put him in the big time."Redford, obviously! When they met for lunch, a Paramount lawyer served $25,000 breach of Blue contract papers on Bob. Exit : Redford, "shaking with anger."
- Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1968. No, no and no! For the same reason as he turned down Warren Beatty. Seeing a big star failing as a 42nd Street hustler "would seem ridiculous," said UK director John Schlesinger. He wanted an unknown not a star as Joe Buck. Although, and for some time, there had been talk of… Elvis. "Thankya verra much, ma'am"! I think that Beatty’s Shampoo hairdresser was Joe Buck having made good in LA.
- Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969. Bob.
Michael Caine, The Italian Job, 1969. This is one of Caine's all-time UK classics (alongside Alfie and Get Carter). Paramount wanted Redford - a lousy idea! UK producer Michael Deeleywon the battle forCaine... Impossible to imagine Redford uttering Charlie Crocker’s immortal cry: "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors orff!"(Redford’sSundance Kidhad a similar explosive mess: "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?")
- Michael Sarrazin, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, 1969. At one time, both Beatty and Robert Redford had talks about playing Jane Fonda’s Depression era marathon, dance-until-you-drop partner, Robert Syverton. (The surname of Fonda’s character was… Beatty).
- Richard Harris, A Man Called Horse, 1970. Producer Sandy Howard read the story while ill in Japan, recognised it as a Wagon Train episode, bought the rights for $250, contacted Redford and set up a production deal. "Redford went and did something else," Howard told me in London, "so we looked around. Richard was fifth choice - first who said yes."
- Steve McQueen, Le Mans, 1971. Changing director,changing script (if there was one), escalating the budget - McQueen's dream film was spiralling out of control. Cinema Center (producing with Steve's Solar combine) started secretly talking to Redford to take over the role. Wisely, he refused.
- Al Pacino, The Godfather, 1971.
- Roger Moore, Live And Let Die, 1972.
- Steve McQueen, Junior Bonnor, 1972. What a difference a year makes... Now Redford was getting - and rejecting - script-treatments before they reached McQueen.
- Michael York, Cabaret,1972. Due as a third teaming with Natalie Wood when her fiance Richard Gregson was producing Redford's Downhill Racer in 1969.
- BeauBridges,Hammersmith Is Out,1972. Refused the Burtons a thirdtime -with reason.The role was a "sleazy, repulsive" (Variety) nurse helping to spring lunatic Richard Burton from an asylum. Despite (or because?) Peter Ustinovbeing director and co-star,the Faustian rip-off was out to lunch.
- George Segal, The Hot Rock, 1972. Redford decided to take over the lead from George C Scott, leaving his original role as void as the film.
- Al Pacino, Serpico, 1972. A surprise idea for the anti-corruption NYPD cop of obviously Italian descent.
- Edward Fox, The Day of the Jackal, 1972. Universal wanted A Star - Redford, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Jack Nicholson. Director Fred Zinnemann did not. And got his way about Fox, who had impressed him in the UK film, The Go-Between, 1969.
- James Coburn, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1972.
- James Caan, The Gambler, 1973.
When Paramount cheesily announced a 2012 re-makewithout telling him, scenarist James Toback related the unexpurgated chronology of the original (“from erection to resurrection,” to quote Churchill), revealing how no money could be raised on the names of Warren Beatty, Peter Boyle or Robert De Niro. This did not deter Mike Medavoy, movie agent and future head of not one but three studios. “I’m going to get this picture made. And I have the perfect guy… Robert Redford!” Axel Freed is a New York Jew, said Toback (the real Freed, of course). To which Medavoy replied:
“Redford’s a great actor, he can play anything”! Toback retorted: I already have the guy: Robert De Niro. “Never heard of him. You won’t get the picture made without a star... Then you need a star director. Karel Reisz.” Who? “Jesus Christ! Don’t you know anything about movies? Karel Reisz is the greatest director in England. Every studio wants to make a movie with them. I’m going to get you Karel.” He got him. And then Karel Reisz refused to let De Niro even read... ! “Wrong temperament. He’s too common.” Said Toback in 2014: “Caan became a great Axel Freed, although obviously different from the character De Niro would have created.” And Reisz? “My one-man film school.”
- Ryan O’Neal, Barry Lyndon, 1974. Warner Bros agreed to finance Stanley Kubrick’s risky project as as long as he chose oneof the officialTop 10 Box-Office Stars.#1 was Clint Eastwood...! Others included such obvious UK costume drama types as Marlon Brando, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, John Wayner. Kubrick’s favourite was #5. He refused, so Kubrick turned to #2,Mr Love Story.(Redford was #1 the following year).
- Robert Mitchum, The Yakuza, 1974. When director Sydney Pollack came aboard, he obviously ran to his pal, Bob.Cheeky - as Pollack only got the job because RobertMitchum had squeezed Robert Aldrich out of it.
- Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
- Donald Sutherland, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova), Italy-USA, 1975. Pre-post-er-ous!!! As per usual, Federico Fellini’s producersplayed with the idea of superstars - Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, even Redford!! -while he preferreda more parochical venturewith, maybe, Alberto Sordi, Gian Maria Volonte or the unknown cabaret performer Tom Deal. Ultimately, it was “Donaldino.” He had shared Paul Mazursky’s 8½, Alex in Wonderland, 1970, with Fellini in Hollywood and they metagain on the set of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 in 1975. And the maestro lovded his"grotesque, baleful look of a skinny sick calf and blue eyes like a newborn baby."
- Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976.
- Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976.
Keith Carradine, Pretty Baby, 1977. The subject was horrendous - a prostitute allowing her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light district of New Orleans, circa 1917. French director Louis Malle saw 28 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for little Violet… 15 actresses for her mother… and 15 guys for for the real life , misshapen, hydrocephallic photographer Ernest J Bellocq, whose Storyville work of the epoch influenced the style of the surprisingly elegant film. Redford was first choice, Jack Nicholson second. Before falling for Carradine, Malle saw Albert Brooks, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Malcolm McDowell (the only Brit short-listed), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve (planning to make us believe a man could fly), John Travolta (more into Grease)… plus such flat out surprises as Joe Pesci, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone (prepping FIST), and even Christopher Walken.
Al Pacino, Bobby Deerfield, 1977. About the only time, Redford ever rejected a Sydney Pollack project. "But I've also said No to him sometimes," admits Pollack. "He asked me to direct Downhill Racer - and Brubaker when Bob Rafelson was sacked." Pollack took his anal Grand Prix driver to Al who was seeking “a normal movie”after Godpops, straight cops and dog days. It won him his first $1m salary (and his co-star Marthe Keller), lost him his manager Martin Bregman (not back until Scarface, 1983) and finally taught him todrive. Basically, it was beneath Pacino. But, he said, as (the also considered Paul Newman always said: If you made only the film you liked, you’d only work once every five years.
- David Carradine, The Serpent’s Egg, 1977. Surely Ingmar Bergman was joking. Wanting the #1 WASP as the Jewish Rosenberg was the most off the wall casting idea of the year. Bergman’s other choices were better, ranging from Peter Falk and Richard Harris (sidelined by flu), to Dustin Hoffman… refusing a second offer from the the Swedish genius.
- Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978,
Burt Reynolds, Starting Over, 1979. Director Alan J Pakula wanted either of his President's Men:He called Redford first, Hoffman second...They both told him” Don’t hold the front page.
Steve McQueen, Tom Horn, 1979.
"Every time I look in the rearview mirror, I see Bob Redford." The day McQueen announced his film on the gunned-down end of the teamster, rodeo champ, silver-miner, deputy marshal, Pinkerton detective, cavalry scout and Teddy Roosevelt Rough Rider - Redford announced Mr Horn.And blinked first. "He was intimidated by McQueen," said Steve's pal Phil Parslow. "McQueen was a lot of things Redford never was or never will be."
- Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome, 1979. "I don't give people what they want, I give them what they need," Redford told Mort Sahl while script-doctoring Ordinary People
- Ygor Kostelevsky, Teheran '43, Russia-France-Switzerland, 1979. Moscow asked him to be a (rather unlikely) Russian colonel uncovering a plot to assassinate Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.
- Arthur Hill, A Little Romance, 1979. With two kids as his leads, director George Roy Hill needed a star name. He called up his Sundance Kid to be Sally Kellerman's third husband, father of Diane Lane... Not required, once Hill landed Laurence Olivier as the old roué.
- Wallace Shawn, My Dinner With André, 1980. There was a moment- or ten - when Paris auteur Louis Malle wondered what he had got himself into - and, for him, so rapidly.He’d met Wallace Shawn photocopying the 500-page script and now Malle was about to make a movie of it - of two men doing nothing but talking for 111 minutes. And neither one an actor. “Perhaps,” he told playwrights Shawn and André Gregory, “we should give your roles to Hoffman and Redford.” He was not joking. Nor when he added: “I don’t know how to do this but we will do it.”
- John Belushi, Continental Divide, 1981. Steven Spielberg adored the Tracy/Hepburn unlikely romcoms. Now he’dfound his own. Except he chickened out whenhe couldn’t unearth a new Spence/Kate. He remained producer and thought the the no-nonsense journo hero (based on Chicago Sun Times columnist Mike Royko) was perfectfor… Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss (aka Spielberg’s Tracy!), Peter Falk, Dustin Hoffman. Plus George Segal, who showed it to his co-star, Elliott Gould, who showed it to his wife and La Streisand immediately wanted to switch roles and be the journo opposite Redford’s bald eagle researcher! Which is about when Belushi, the ruination of Spielberg’s 1941, decided he could go straight and Spielberg believed him.Huge error!
- Brad Dourif, Ragtime, 1981. The reason that revered director Robert Altman quit the project was that producer Dino De Laurentiis insisted (again) on starring Redford.
- Jürgen Prochnow, Das boot/The Boat, West Germany, 1981. Butch Cassidy was first choice, then The Kid... until author Lothar-Gunther Buccheim said: Nein! "It's a true story," explained director Wolfgang Petersen, "and he didn't want a typical American picture. No big stars, just men in a submarine. How it really was."
- Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982. Producers Richard Zanuck, David Brown and their original director, James Bridges, were discussing it with Bob in New York, when he left to freshen up for dinner. An hour later, Bridges found Redford had flown back to LA. Ah, Newman and Redford... Billy Wilder always said a guaranteed hit would be a love story between Newman and Redford… in a Boeing on fire… flown by Barbra Streisand.
- William Hurt, Gorky Park, 1983. Too all-American for a Moscow cop, felt producer Howard Koch.
Mac Davis, The Sting II, 1983. Bob wisely let it be. So did Paul Newman.
David Bowie, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, 1984.
Knowing him from their environmental pursuits. author Laurence Van De Post suggested Bob. The superstar
respected Japanese director Nagisa Oshima’s work but told him: "The general American audience won't understand it.
If an American doesn't understand a picture in the first 15 minutes, he gives up."
(Maybe, but he's already paid for his ticket by then)."
- Anthony Hopkins, The Bounty, 1985. Epic director David Lean strived so hard to re-make Mutiny on the Bounty (as two films) that he even joined forces anew with his River Kwai/Lawrence producer Sam Spiegel - who immediately wanted Big Names, like Redford as Bligh! Lean was attached to Out of Africa before Sydney Pollack made it with Bob.
- Mickey Rourke, Angel Heart, 1987. Redford beat Dustin Hoffman to the rights of Falling Angel and had novelist Wiliam Hjortsberg script it for him. "Curious," thought Alan Parker, the UK director who finally made the film. "Redford is a classic American hero and Harry Angel is the complete opposite."
- Dennis Quaid, Everybody's All American (UK: When I Fall In Love), 1988. American football? Baseball was was more his style.
- Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988. Now that's a tough one to imagine… Chevy Chase was too nervy, Redford and Harrison Ford too pricey, Eddie Murphy regretted passing… Also seen for the human shamus saving a cartoon star’s career in Hollywood 1947 were Charles Grodin, Ed Harris, Don Lane, Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pantoliano, Peter Renaday, Wallace Shawn, Sylvester Stallone. London’s Hoskins nailed Eddie Valiant in what critic Roger Ebert called “a joyous, giddy, goofy celebration of the kind of fun you can have with a movie camera.”
- Stephen Lang, Last Exit To Brooklyn, Germany, 1989. Copy-cat director Brian De Palma's idea when he held the rights. "But I don't know if he'd do what we want him to do." He soon found out.
- Brad Johnson, Always, 1989. Steven Spielberg loved Spencer Tracy (the father he never had) and longed to re-make his 1943 weepie, A Guy Named Joe. (Why - if he loved it?)Spielberg finallywon the rights from MGM in 1979, while already going a step too far with 1941… and made much the same dog’s breakfast of his cherished project. He triedre-unite Redford and Newman.Paul was better stand-in for Spencer Tracy than RichardDreyfuss.Johnsonwas reminiscent of a cardboard box.
- Armand Assante, Animal Behaviour, 1989. Producer (and later co-director) Kjehl Rasmussen thought his romantic comedy had been picked up at the Sundance lab by The Man for his Wildwood combine. Instead, Redford did his usual disappearing act. He said he was too old and went off to Out of Africa. “When we had problems,” said Rasmussen, “he was not there to help.”
- James Caan, Misery, 1990. "The idea of playing a victim didn't appeal to a lot of people," said director Rob Reiner explaining such refusniks as Redford, Warren Beatty, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Denzel Washington. How come Caan agreed? "I think he wanted the work."
Patrick Bergin, Mountains of the Moon, 1990. Director Bob Rafelson kept hearing the same comment about his seven-year obsession about the Nile explorers, John Speke and Richard Burton: Why make a film aboutthe actor? "It was said so many times, I was more crying than laughing."
Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent, 1990.
As if the public would presume Redford guilty of murder... “He will always be 30, blond, perfection," said director Sidney Pollack - after seven films together, they broke up. Paul Newman explained why: “Sidney wanted to be Bob and Bob wanted to be Sydney.”
- Nick Nolte, Cape Fear, 1991. It would, said Scorsese, have been interesting to have De Niro play against the wholesomeness that Redford represented. “Ultimately, we didn’t need that kind of symbolism.” Oh no? It was still a surprisingly pallid re-make of the 1962 Gregory Peck-Robert Mitchum thriller. Come 2013, Redford and Nolte were, as Ain’t It Cool News put it, the two old dudes taking A Walk in the Woods.
- Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides, 1991. “For a while, Robert Redford had the piece,” Nolte discovered. “It was a different kind of script than Barbara had. [Director and co-star Barbra Streisand]. She took the heart of the story and focused it on the women and the men. She was a wonderful director, wonderful with the actors and so steeped in the material.”
- Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
- Clint Eastwood, In The Line Of Fire, 1992. Jeff Maguire’s impeccable script hung around Hollywood for a decade as they all – Beatty, Connery, Hoffman, Redford -backed away from theageingSecretServiceman. Some suits even tried to go younger, ditching the pivotalJFK assassination back-story, with Tom Cruise or Val Kilmer.At 62, Eastwood evenfelt he was too old for the fiftysomething hero, He relented and made it one of his finest movies. (Like another he swiped fromRedford: The Bridges of Madison County).
- Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption, 1993. Also up for Stephen King’s veteran convict Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford and Paul Newman. But Eastwood, Newman and Redford had already done jail time in Escape From Alcatraz, 1978, Cool Hand Luke, 1967, and Brubaker, 1979, respectively. Clint and Newman won. Redford lost.
- Dana Carvey, Clean Slate, 1993. Scratch Redford for Garth from Wayne's World..! Well, it's about a cop with a comic problem. Amnesia. First developed for Redford in 1990 before re-packaged to put the minor tele-talent into the Cary Grant/James Stewart/Tom Hanks league. No, really!
- Clint Eastwood, Bridges of Madison County, 1995. Redford had played this before, not Eastwood.
Michael Douglas, An American President, 1995. It was Redford and Streep in the Fred Schepisi version, The President Elopes, in 1992. Director Rob Reiner's Castle Rock took it over in May 1994. Redford still saw it as a romantic comedy, Reiner wanted more political edge. President Clinton liked the idea of Redford: "a good soul."
- Jon Voight, Mission: Impossible, 1995. Paramount asked the old IMF chief to to play Jim Phelps once more. Peter Graves fled after reading the script and finding Phelps was treated negatively and knocked off at the end. (Immediately, two other old IMF agents, Martin Landau and Greg Morris, backed out of cameos). Redford, Michael Douglas and Al Pacino and apparently agreed with Graves and refused the father figure leader.
- Willem Dafoe, Victory, 1996. Among Louis Malle’s 1978 choices for Axel inhis 20-year-old dream project - the Joseph Conrad classic. (The others wereSean Connery, Paul Newman, Jon Voight). But Paramount was not as keen as it had been for its 1940 version. Gradually, shooting was planned, a France-Australia-Germany-Canada co-production in Indonesia and the Philippines, for July-September1979. Malle and his new lover (and co-scripter) Susan Sarandon went to Atlantic City, instead.
- James Caan, Poodle Springs, TV, 1998.
After Paul Newman passed, director Sydney Pollack called Redford about playing an ageing private dick Philip Marlowe - from an unfinished novel by Raymond Chandler, a mere synopsis and four chapters cut short by Chandler’s 1959 death and finished 30 years on by Robert B Parker, creator of a later ’tec, Spenser. "It had an interesting Palm Springs side story, like the water in Chinatown. I saw this as a piece I might do as an actor down the road… if it could be developed - but I couldn't commit to that script." “It sucked!” said the previous Philip Marlowe, Elliott Gould. “Even with that wonderful British writer, Tom Stoppard, it was absolutely fucking horrible!”
- William Hurt, The Big Brass Ring, 1998. In the mid-80s, Orson Welles asked Redford (and John Cassavetes, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson) to run for top political office when news - and a picture - of a gay relationship with his mentor (Welles) comes out of the closet. George Hickenlooper’s version, 13 years after Orson’s death is not worth another word...
- John Travolta, A Civil Action, 1998. Scenarist Steve Zaillian turns director with a toxic waste environmental thriller.
- Matt Damon, The Legend of Bagger Vance, 2000. Redford, once due to direct himself until going younger with the characters, told Damon: “You’re the guy playing the part. Don’t worry that I once considered playing it, because if I wanted to play it, I would have played it.”
- Richard Gere, Unfaithful, 2002. No so long ago, Gere would obviously have been Diane Lane’s lover, not the husband she was cheating on. Redford had headlined Adrian Lynne’s 1993 film, Indecent Proposal.
- Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. Redford as the demon barber - one of Hollywood’s most bizarre ideas. During 25 years in Development Hell, the titular casting also included Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino. Tim Curry was the sole Brit considered and the two other most lunatic notions were... Warren Beatty and Harrison Ford!
- Mark Wahlberg, Shooter, 2006. According to William Goldman, the film’s script doctor, Redford, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, refused the betrayed hero tricked into being another Lee Harvey Oswald. So director Antoine Fuqua went younger, changing Bob Lee Swagger’s betrayal from 70s’ Vietnam to 90s’ Ethiopia. Keanu Reeves was first choice. Keaen Reeves for a Redford role?!!
- Grant Bowler, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.
- Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables, 2011. Oh, Hollywood… Since the musical’s 1985 London opening, suggestions for Jean Valjean went from the logical - Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline - to the preposterous: Redford, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken. Plus close pals, rarely rivals, Beatty and Jack Nicholson. However, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino were too short for the hefty hero who, in a signature scene, has to carry Cosette’s lover, away from the battle of the barricades. Put it another way, Hollywood’s last Valjean had been Liam Neeson - 6ft. 4in.
- Alan Alda, Tower Heist, 2010. Passed on the villain getting his just deserts - obviously based on New York’s Ponzi scheme crook Bernard Madoff, responsible for the largest financial fraud ($65bn) in US history.
- Harrison Ford, 42, 2012. Their Ray (Charles) biopic was hard enough to get off the shelf, now the Baldwins - producers Howard and Karen - said it was still well nigh impossible to mount a black biopic. Unless they snared people like Ford and Christopher Meloni for key roles (Branch Riley and Leo Durocher) in the story of baseball icon Jackie Robinson