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Tom Berenger


  1. William Hurt, Body Heat, 1981.        Scenarist and debuting director Lawrence Kasdan called him back for his next  film, The Big Chill.
  2. John Heard, Cutter's Way (ex-Cutter and Boone), 1980.   Once Dustin Hoffman’s schedule clashed, Berenger tried hard to win Alex Cutter. He was turned down by producer Paul Gurian - more keen on Tommy Lee Jones or Nick Nolte - and Czech director Ivan Passer, who prefered Heard. Passer later complained: “UA murdered the film. Or, at least, they tried to murder it.”
  3. Ken Marshall, La Pelle/The Skin, Italy, 1981.      "Liliana Cavani saw me as being very innocent. She's quite enamoured by the American quality of  being ingenuous.  She'd asked [Czech director] Milos Forman for suggestions.  He pulled out a cassette of my tele-film, Flesh and Blood, and she recognised me from Looking  For Mr Goodbar.  But I was tied up.  Determined lady, though. She waited and waited until I could make her next Mastroianni film, Beyond The Door, 1982.  I still can't get over Forman keeping a tape of me for three or four years.  European directors care more about actors than they do in Hollywood."
  4. Scott Tiler, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   After his epic about the West, Sergio Leone planned another on the East - based on The Hoods, "an autobiographical account" of New York Jewish gangster Harry Goldberg. He wrote it in Sing Sing prison as Harry Grey. Leone thought he resembled Edward G Robinson.  Harry probably agreed.  The maestro said he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in the three hours-49 minutes unfurled at the ’84 Cannes festival… instead of Leone’s aim: two three-hour movies. 
  5. Eric Roberts, The Runaway Train, 1984.       When Berenger  split for Platoon, Roberts became the second escaped convict on the fast moving train… without a driver.  First due in 1970 as Akira Kurosawa’s first US film, the project was cancelled due to heavy snowstorms (and budget hassles) in upstate New York. Cannon’s much ridiculed Go-Go Boys, Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, wisely invited Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky aboard - and really shook up the 1986 Cannes festival.
  6. Peter Weller, Firstborn, 1985.        "Car smash," he told me in London. "Dislocated hip. Broken knee.  I went into the hospital.  Peter went into the film."
  7. Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1986.        Tom had talks about playing the RoboHero with the Dutch director Paul Verhoeven.
  8. Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987.      There were 16 possible John McClanes… From top TV heroes Richard Dean Anderson and Don Johnson to A-listers: Berenger, Charles Bronson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone. And Frank Sinatra had to be contractually offered the hero. In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in. So it flows.
  9. Richard Gere, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  10. Kevin Costner, Dances With Wolves, 1989.        An early idea for the titular Lieutenant John J Dunbar before Costner took over everything - the lead rôle and direction.   Result: seven Oscars - including Best Director and Best Film - on March 25, 1991.
  11. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.      UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars - Berenger, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Willem Dafoe, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta - and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver - all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.

  12. Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991
  13. Kevin Costner, JFK1991.
  14. Nick Nolte, Prince of Tides, 1991.        Everyone, including her ex-lover Jon Peters, moved Barbara Streisand away from early ideas. "As long as we've got a good-looking blond actor and we've got Barbra," said Peters, "we're doing fine."
  15. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.   
  16. Jared Leto, The Thin Red Line, 1998.        After various 1995 readings and workshops of auteur Terrence Malik’s first script for 17 years (with Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Martin Sheen Will Patton, etc) at producer Mike Medavoy’s house, the two film-makers saw other youngsters.Including Berg - who later became a director, himself: 19 films and TV shows during 1997-2013.
  17. Bruce Boxleitner, Gods and Generals, 2002.      Difficult to play someone younger than when you played him ten years earlier: Lieutenant-General James Longhurst fromGettysburg, 1993.
  18. Terry O’Quinn, Gang Related, TV, 2013.        After the table read was over, so was Berenger… swiftly replaced by the Lost star as head of the San Francisco PD’s Gang Task Force.





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