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Robert Redford


  1. 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!”
  2. Stanley Baker, In the French Style,  1963.    Director Robert Parrish wanted Redford for one of Jean Seberg’s lovers but Columbia insisted  on Baker (tender for once) - in a Hollywood attempt at being New Wave. But Parrish and author-scenarist Irwin Shaw were too old for the world of Truffaut and Chabrol.
  3. 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.
  4. Oskar Werner, Fahrenheit 451, 1966.        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!
  5. 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."
  6. 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."
  7. Tony Curtis, The Boston Strangler, 1967.     “Tony Curtis acts better than he has in a decade, ” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert. He was right, as always. Yet the film flopped and all but buried the Curtis career, dwindling ever downward into such garbage as Lobster Man From Mars, Tartzan in Manhattan, The Mummy Lives and Christmas in Connecticut directed by… Arnold Schwarzenegger. So maybe Warren Beatty, Horst Buchhholz, Robert Redford and Stuart Whitman were right to refuse to play Albert DeSalvo.
  8. Richard Crenna, Wait Until Dark, 1967.       Early idea from Warner's boss, Jack Warner.
  9. 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...
  10. 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."

  11. 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.
  12. Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969.   Bob.
  13. 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?")
  14. 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).
  15. 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."
  16. 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.
  17. Al Pacino, The Godfather, 1971.
  18. Roger Moore, Live And Let Die, 1972.
  19. Steve McQueen, Junior Bonnor, 1972.     What a difference a year makes... Now Redford was getting - and rejecting - script-treatments before they reached McQueen.
  20. 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.

  21. Beau Bridges,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.
  22. 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.
  23. Al Pacino, Serpico, 1972.        A surprise idea for the anti-corruption NYPD cop of obviously Italian descent.
  24. 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.
  25. James Coburn, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1972.

  26. 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.”

  27. Ryan O’Neal, Barry Lyndon, 1973.        William Makepeace who…?  What was his last movie..? Warner Bros was amazed that their VIP director wanted to follow A Clockwork Orange with… a Thackery story? Vanity Fairor Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. OK, with  one condition - Lyndon  had to be one of the official top ten box-office stars. In the ’73 Quigley Poll.  But #1 was Clint Eastwood...! Others included such obvious UK costume drama types as Marlon Brando, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, John Wayne. Kubrick preferred Redford who preferred to pass. O’Neal, #2 in the poll due to Love Story, was the lucky substitute. He never made the Top Ten again.  Redford did - twice  at #1.
  28. Al Pacino, Serpico, 1973.      After being Butch and Sundance, Paul  Newman and Redford were always looking for another movie… Billy Wilder always said a guaranteed hit would be a love story  between Redford and Newman… in a Boeing on fire… flown by Barbra Streisand!. But here was the most absurd suggestion of 1971 – to have Redford the WASP as the anti-NYPD corruption cop, Italian-American Frank Serpico. (Remember, Redford  had also been suggested for Michael Corleane!). Newman would be Sergeant David Durk.  Serpico, however, was no double act. And indeed, there was no Durk in the eventual movie.
  29. 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.
  30. Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.

  31. 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 , Alex in Wonderland, 1970, with Fellini in Hollywood and they metagain on the set of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 in 1975. And the maestro loved his "grotesque, baleful look of a skinny sick calf and blue eyes like a newborn baby."
  32. David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1975.  Director Nic  Roeg wanted  his Performance star Mick Jagger, Peter O’Toole or the exceedingly tall author Michael Crichton as the visiting alien, Thomas Jerome Newton, until totally mesmerised by the Cracked Actor documentary about Bowie. At times, it played  like a veritable test for Newton.  Roeg’s backers, however,  were insisting on… Redford.  (Nine years later, Redford was also first choice for Bowie’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, 1984). "I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was,” Bowie told Moveline in 1982.   “Totally insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end."
  33. Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976.
  34. Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. David Carradine, The Serpent’s Egg, 1977.    For his first Hollywood-backed, and totally English-speaking film (there had been some Swedish in The Touch, 1970,with Elliott Gould), the Swedish genius Ingmar Bergman had some strange notions for circus performer Abel Rosenberg. David Bowie, Richard Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford (!) and  two top TV names: Carradine and Peter Falk  Far from the finest Bergman (too far from his roots), but Harris and Hoffman later regretted their passing… (An inexplicable second consecutive rejection of Bergman by Hoffman!).
  38. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978,
  39. 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.
  40. 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."
  41. 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
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.”
  45. 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!) (For a wee while), 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!
  46. 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.
  47. Dudley Moore, Arthur, 1981.      The suits wanted a US star. Brand new auteur Steve Gordon wanted Dud. Gordon won, made a big hit, but never a second film - he died at 44 in 1982. John Belushi had passed, scared of being typed as a drunk (surely the least of his troubles!). Orion Pictures’ other choices for the titular rich man-child were: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Robin Williams… and quite ridiculously, Redford, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino (that would have been tough going!), Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta. Enough for an Arthur XI soccer squad - and one reserve.
  48. Jeremy Irons, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, 1981.      It took a dozen years (and directors, from Lindsay Anderson to Fred Zinnemann) to adapt John Fowles’ unfilmable novel. Helmer Karel Reisz and playwright Harold Pinter spent all of 1979 solving it, dropping versions by Dennis Potter, etc, and turning the lovers into dual roles - matching the affair of two actors filming the affair of the titular, Victorian heroine. So Sarah/Anna was Meryl Streep and Mike/Charles was aimed at Richard Chamberlain or Redford - her 1984 co-star in Out of Africa.
  49. 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."
  50. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982.   First choice for the Boston personal-injury laywer was Frank Sinatra.  Next : Redford, who got two directors fired (Arthur Hiller, James Bridges) to get pal Sydney Pollack aboard. When a fourth, Sidney Lumet, took over, he called the ambulance-chaser a kicking-the-dog character (difficult for the public to like), but Redford, said Lumet, wanted to be  petting-the-dog. No, Lumet stuck to David Mamet’s script, so Redford walked. Enter: Newman “face down in a urinal,” he said (Not exactly true). “The guy’s an open wound.  And that was refreshing, to let the blemishes, the indecision - the wreckage - show through.” Watching it in 2019  for the 100th time, George Clooney said:  "That is a proper big-time, world-class movie star saying to the world: ‘I’m a character actor now.’ He busted his ass. And you couldn’t make that as a film now. Not like that." The public didn’t want to see Newman kicking any dogs. Anyway, he far too handsome to be a loser -  except on Oscar-night when Ben Kingsley won for Gandhi. Redford retired at 79. after completing The Old Man & the Gun.   “Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive? And then just focus on directing.”[PS: Among the Verdict extras: Bruce Willis… who guested, sanscredit, in Newman’s in Twilight, 1998].
  51. William Hurt, Gorky  Park, 1983.     Too all-American for a Moscow cop, felt producer Howard Koch.
  52. Mac Davis, The Sting II, 1983.     Bob wisely let it be. So did Paul Newman.
  53. 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)."
  54. 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.
  55. Mel Gibson Lethal Weapon, 1986.    Redford and Paul Newman wanted a third buddy movie.  This was the best their super-agent Michael Ovitz could find.  “But Bob hated the script.” So did director Richard Donner, who had every new draft by Shane Black lightened up by an uncredited Jeffrey Boam. Ihus a franchise was born. Obviously not, if Butch and Sundance had made it.
  56. Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.      Surprisingly, the murder mystery where the chief suspect is a cartoon character was based on the never made Cloverleaf, Robert Towne’s third Jake Gittes script (for Chinatown, read Toontown). So who should be Gittes, er, shamus Eddie Valiant? Well, why not Gittes, himself - Jack Nicholson? No, producer Steven Spielberg could not see beyond Harrison Ford. Too expensive! OK, Ed Harris, Robert Redford (once nearly Philip Marlowe), Sylvester Stallone? Director Robert Zemeckis also considered Charles Grodin, Aussie comic Don Lane, Eddie Murphy (soon a toon in the Shrek movies), Joe Pantoliano and voice artist Peter Renaday.   And they could never contact the hideaway Bill Murray… When he read that in a paper, Murray screamed out loud - he would have loved being Valiant. Not that much fun, reported Hoskins. “I had to hallucinate to do it,” he told Danish TV. After working with green screens for six months, 16 hours a day, he lost control.  “I had weasels and rabbits popping out of the wall at me.”
  57. 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."
  58. Dennis Quaid, Everybody's All  American (UK: When I Fall In Love), 1988.        American football?  Baseball was was more his style..
  59. 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.
  60. Dwight Schultz, Fat Man and Little Boy, 1989.  Terrible title… Paul Newman was Major General Leslie Groves, head of the construcion of then first (titular) Atom bombs at Los Alamos. UK director Roland Joffe wanted Schultz as the project’s scientific chief, Robert Oppenheimer - while the suits craved another big shot -  Redford or Harrison Ford.  “Joffe went to the wall for me,“ said Shultz. “The studio wanted anyone but me.“

  61. Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy, 1989.   Sonny Bono with the missus, Cher, as Tess, were set for a  70s’ musical version that never flew.  Next came Ryan O’Neal in the earlty 80s. Then, Redford, Bruce Campbell, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson and even such total opposites as George C Scott and Tom Selleck were seen in ’89.  James  Caan settled for a cameo as Splandoni.  Beatty agreed to direct if he could play Tracy, his boyhood idol. Disney suits spoiled the whole caper by making him slash his 135 minute cut by a half-hour!

  62. 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 finally won 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 tried  to re-unite Redford and Newman. Paul was better stand-in for Spencer Tracy than Richard Dreyfuss. Johnson was reminiscent of a cardboard box. 

  63. 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.”
  64. 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."
  65. 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."
  66. 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.”
  67. 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.
  68. 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.”
  69. Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
  70. Clint Eastwood, In The Line of Fire, 1992.   Having brought down Nixon, the All The President’s Men reporters, Dustin Hoffman and Redford, were due (in that order) to be the POTUS bodyguard Frank Horrigan - who had lost JFK at Dallas. Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Tommy Lee Jones backed away from the ageing hero and Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer from making him younger and ruining Jeff Maguire’s impeccable script. It remains one of Clint’s finest movies. Like another he swiped from Redford: The Bridges of Madison County.

  71. 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.
  72. 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!
  73. Clint Eastwood, Bridges of Madison County, 1995.      Redford had played this before, not Eastwood.
  74. 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."
  75. 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.
  76. 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.

  77. 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!”

  78. 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...
  79. John Travolta, A Civil Action, 1998.      Scenarist Steve Zaillian turns director with a toxic waste environmental thriller.
  80. 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.”
  81. Richard Gere, Unfaithful, 2002.        Apparently one film (Indecent Proposal, 1992) for UK director Adrian Lyne was enough for Redford… For Lyne’s passionate US update of Madame Bovary, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Bruce Willis were also up for Diane Lane’s husband - unaware she’s playing away. Chicago critic Roger Ebert reported her French lover Olivier Martinez could suspend a woman indefinitely in any position during sex. French guys adored this commercial for Ze French lurverrrrs!
  82. 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!
  83. 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?!!
  84. Grant Bowler, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,  2010.
  85. Alan Alda, Tower Heist, 2010.       Passed on the villain getting his just desserts  - obviously based on New York’s  Ponzi scheme crook Bernard Madoff, responsible for the largest financial fraud ($65bn)  in US history.
  86. 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.    
  87. 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



















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