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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.  Redford remained ambitious. “I’d rather not be remembered for Route 66.  If I failed trying, at least I tried.”
      3. Russ Tamblyn, The Long Ships, 1963.  RR was doing well - Barefoot in the Park on Broadway, Emmy nominated for The Voice of Charlie Pont, even refusing a weekly  $10,000 for a TV series ast Bing Crosby‘s company - when  out of nowhere sensible   -  London producer Irving Allen wanted him as a viking.   Opposite a way too old Richard  Widmark! Probably because RR was also  was blond.

      4. Marlon Brando, The Chase, 1966.         Brando swopped roles, to become the hunter, not the hunted. 
      5. James Fox, The Chase, 1966. RR’s (third) agent, Meta Rosenberg, was  shocked when he turned down the oil tycoon’s son, Jake, and wanted to be Bubber Reeves - the escaped convict, hunted by Sheriff Marlon Brando. “That’s the small part,” said Meta, “the guy on the run who we hardly see until the end.” ”But the better part,” said RR. “Bubber’s fate determined the moral values of the community.”  The British Fox took over Jake - in mid-affair with Bubber’s wife, Jane Fonda, and was embarrassed to find her totally naked under her gown.  Redford was “invigorated  by the prospect of sharing screen time with Brando because I regarded him as an artist… I  was also open to whatever education he might give me by association.” He found Marlon “drifted on the breeze… He’s a kid.  He’s acting because it’s easy and he can get his jolies and still be a kid!”
      6. George Segal, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966.        "Don't you want to ilm with the Burtons?" asked an incredulous director, Mike Nichols, who had directed Redford in Broadway's  Barefoot in the Park. No, he didn't. He felt them - andt heir films - were bad.  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."
      7. 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!

      8. 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."

      9. Richard Crenna, Wait Until Dark, 1967.  Early idea from Warner's boss, Jack Warner. "I don't like filming a lot and I don't respect the profession, the business of being a star."  Having become one, Redford listed the main dangers of being a star.  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.
      10. 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.

      11. Terence Stamp, Blue, 1968.      Keen on making a Western - if it was different from those of Johns Ford and Sturges.  But RR got off the train taking him to the Arizona shoot and called his agent, Meta. 1. He didn’t rate the “evasive” director Silvio Narizzano, on a Georgy Girl high  - but this wasn’t a pop film, as if the Canadian hadn’t  helmed The Glass Menagerie, War and Peace etc for UK TV!  2. He hadn’t received the final draft as promised.  3. “This is going to be a very different movie from the one I signed up for.”  4. “So I’m out!”   He replaced Meta with Natalie Wood’s husband-to-be, Richard Gregson, a London agent and future RR production partner at his Wildwood cvombiner. Paramount lost $5m and sued but settled for a new multi-picture deal. Production chief Robert Evans called it, "one of the disasters of all time." Particularly as it led to  Redford quitting...
      12. 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."
      13. 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.
      14. Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969.   Bob.
      15. 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’s Sundance Kid had a similar explosive mess: "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?")
      16. 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). Charlie Chaplin, Joseph Losey and two French auteurs Jean-Pierre Mocky (with Brigitte Bardot!) and François Truffaut had all tried to film Horace McCoy’s book during ts 35 year long journey to the screen.
      17. 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."
      18. Peter O’Toole, Murphy’s War, 1970.    Frank Sinatra had been keen in ‘69, but did a lousy Western instead, Dirty Dingus Magee. Roger Ebert”sd review explainewd why RR passed… “An ambitious attempt at a thoughtful action movie but its thought and action don't connect very well.”   UK director Peter Yates would return to  Redford  for…  well, let’s put it this way. As often as RR could be spot on about a film’s highs or lows, he could be so wrong. For example, instead of The Day of the Jackal in 1972,  he made Yates’ The Hot Rock - caper rubbish, as empty as he said Jackal was! And far from  the power of Yates’ US 1968 breakthrough, Bullitt.
      19. 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.
      20. Al Pacino, The Godfather, 1971.

      21. Roger Moore, Live And Let Die, 1972.
      22. Steve McQueen, Junior Bonnor, 1972.     What a difference a year makes... Now Redford was getting - and rejecting - script-treatments before they reached McQueen.
      23. 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.
      24. 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 Ustinov being the director and co-star, the Faustian rip-off was out to lunch.
      25. Edward Fox, The Day of the Jackal, 1972.    Universal wanted A Star -  Michael Caine, Roger Moore or Jack Nicholson. Director Fred Zinnemann voted Redford.  And got the bum’s rush. ”It was the sort of facile garbage you see on television every week. No depth…. It needed a journey into the character’s psyche and motivation. It wasn’t there. He was just as psychotic killer [exact!y] and the story described his manouvres to try and kill de Gaulle. It had a  ‘So what?” feeling for me.”  Not for the public. As often as he could be spot on about a film’s highs or lows, he could be so wrong. For example, instead of Jackal; he made…  The Hot Rock Gentleman Fred’s final choice of Fox (who’d impressed him in The Go-Between, 1969)  was the elder brother of James,  who inherited RR’s original role in The Chase, 1966.
      26. 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.
      27. James Coburn, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1972.
      28. 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.”

      29. 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.
      30. 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.

      31. 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.
      32. Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
      33. 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."
      34. 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."
      35. Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976.
      36. Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976.
      37. 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.
      38. 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.
      39. 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!).
      40. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978,
      41. 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.
         
      42. 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."
         
      43. 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
      44. 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.
      45. 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.
      46. 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.”
      47. 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!
      48. 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.
      49. 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.
      50. 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.

      51. 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."
      52. 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. And wanted six re-writes...!  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].
      53. William Hurt, Gorky  Park, 1983.     Too all-American for a Moscow cop, felt producer Howard Koch.
      54. Mac Davis, The Sting II, 1983.     Bob wisely let it be. So did Paul Newman.
         
      55. 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)."
         
      56. 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.
      57. Robert Redford, Legal Eagles, 1985.  One giant flop for Hollywood super-agent and film packager  Michael Ovitz.   He and Mr Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman,  wanted Dustin  and his Tootsie  flat-mate, Bill Murray, as the lawyers.  Ovitz turned them into Redford  (paid $8m) and... Debra  Winger. “Bob disliked Ivan becaue Ivan was too commercial,” reported Ovitz. “Ivan disliked Debra because she was a prima donna… and she disliked Ivan right back. Bob and Debra had zero chemistry, and the script was all concept and no highs.”  
      58. 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.
      59. 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.”
      60. 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."

      61. Dennis Quaid, Everybody's All  American (UK: When I Fall In Love), 1988.        American football?  Baseball was was more his style..
      62. 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.
      63. 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.“
      64. 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!
      65. 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 RR, 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."
      66. Richard Dreyfuss, Always, 1989.    New agent (#7?)  Mike Ovitz wanted to get him back on the RRails. He aimed  for Redford Meets Spielberg… The director  longed to re-make Spendcer Tracy's 1943 weepie, A Guy Named Joe.  And folk had (erroneously) compared Redford to Tracy more than once. At Spielberg’s home, Ovitz’s magic duo watched the Victor Fleming movie.  RR was not impressed. “No reason to re-make a movie that was pretty average  to begin with.” (It was a favourite for all the wrong reasons;  Spielberg loved Tracy, the father he  never had). So how  about Paul?  His opinions were invariably close to Redford’s.   Dreyfuss signed on but couldn’t prevent it being a dog’s breakfast.
      67. Brad Johnson, Always 1989.      Spielberg later tried  to re-unite Redford and Newman. Paul was better stand-in for Spencer Tracy than Richard Dreyfuss. Johnson was perfectly cast.  As a cardboard box. 
      68. 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.”
      69. 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 about the actor? "It was said so many times,  I was more crying than laughing."
      70. 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." 

      71. 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.
      72. 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.” Come 2013, Redford and Nolte were, as Ain’t It Cool News put it, the two old dudes taking A Walk in the Woods.
      73. Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
      74. Clint Eastwood, In The Line Of Fire, 1992. Having brought down Nixon, the All The President’s Menreporters, 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.
      75. Morgan Freeman, The  Shawshank Redemption, 1993. Up for Stephen King’s veteran convict Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Harrison Ford, Sidney Poitier… and  Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman and Redford who had already done jail time in Escape From Alcatraz, 1978, Cool Hand Luke, 1967, and Brubaker, 1979, respectively.  Clint and Newman won. Redford lost. Eastwood and Freeman  co-starred in both of Eastwood's Best Picture Oscar-winners, Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.
      76. 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!
      77. Clint Eastwood, Bridges of Madison County, 1995. Redford had played this before, not Eastwood.
      78. 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."
      79. 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.
      80. Liam Neeson,  Michael Collins, 1995.    RR was interested enough about the biopic of the Irish revolutionary  to spend time doing his own research in Dubin. But…  He was an Oscar-winning director now,  shooting his second, The Milagro Beanfield War, and when the actually  Irish Neeson took the role, makingQuiz Show, the fourth of his ten helming credits.   Kevin Costner, also turning Oscar-winning director, had also danced a awhile with thed script.
      81. Willem Dafoe, Victory, 1996.     Among Louis Malle’s 1978 choices for Axel in  his 20-year-old dream project - the Joseph Conrad classic. (The others were Sean 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-September  1979. Malle and his new lover (and co-scripter) Susan Sarandon went to Atlantic City, instead.

      82. 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!”

      83. 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...
      84. John Travolta,  A Civil Action, 1998.    Scenarist Steve Zaillian turns director with a toxic waste environmental thriller.
      85. 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.”
      86. 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.
      87. Gerard Butler, Phantom of the Opera. 2003.    WTF? Another new  agent,  Bryan Lourd  (#8) was confused when RR expressed a desire to play the Phantom. He had privately  defended his roles to Newsweek  critic  Javck Kroll: “No disgrace in playing to your strengths,” But his were hardly musical. Beyond his shower. (But remembver RR’s #1 tale here  was for West Side Story - and Les Miserables  was on his radar!) The show’s composer  Andrew Lloyd Webber was intrigued enough for a  chat. ”You need to meet him, to sing for him,”  said Lourd.  “Sure, no problem at all.” But he cried off every time.  But this (death) wish explained why he was also keen on…
      88. Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006.  Redford as the demon barber  in the bloodiest ever musical - one of Hollywood’s most bizarre ideas.  During 25 years in Development Hell, the titular casting also included Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, 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!
      89. 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?!!
      90. Grant Bowler, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,  2010.
      91. 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.
      92. 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.
      93. Harrison Ford, 42, 2012.   For years, Redford tried to tackle the story  of the 1947 ending of baseball’s  colour bar. So did  director Spike Lee. They came at it from differing angles. Spike wanted Denzel Washington (like who else!) to play Jackie Robinson, first black player in the Major League and the Hall of Famer, stoically refusing any reaction to the taunts and threats of racist fans and fellow ballplayers. Redford was more interested in Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers exec, risking his career and reputation by putting Robinson in the #42 shirt.





















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