1. - Dean Stockwell, Sons and Lovers, 1960. Terry had been acting “for ten minutes” in a UK tour of The Long, The Short and The Tall with new pal Michael Caine, when his agent sent him to director Jack Cardiff. “He was courteous but didn’t snap me up instantly. I was sure I’d get recalled. Didn't happen.”
2. - Jeremy Spenser, The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, 1961. Although few critics agreed, the film of his only novel was Tennessee Williams’ favourite movie of his work. An old Vivien Leigh and the brand new Warren Beatty starred - with Stamp, Spenser were seen for… Young Man.
3. - Alfred Lynch, West 11, 1963. Exiled US director Joseph Losey chose Stamp-Claudia Cardinale in 1961. Next helmer, Michael Winner, voted Sean Connery-Julie Christie in ’62. Veteoed in both cases by London producer Danny Angel. He hated the kitchen sink scenario and decided that Winner’s choices were B-movie players! The couple he foisted upon Winner - which made the director produce all his future films - were barely heard of again.
4. - Todd Armstrong, Jason and the Argonauts, 1963. “Discovering” him for Billy Budd, actor-writer-director Peter Ustinov cautioned Terry about degrading his talent. “Maybe I took his advice a bit too far - I became a bit specious. I’ve done the rubbish but mainly because I’ve been short of bread. And I’m always short of that.” Armstrong was way too Missouri for the role, so he was dubbed by Tim Turner. the voice of Dr Peter Brady, aka TV’s Invisible Man, 1958-1960. And I headlined my story about this: Not On His Todd.
5. - Sean Connery, You Only Live Twice, 1963.
* Terry muffed it. He played the Cockney Casanova on Broadway. But Broadway didn't like it or him... or both. So, his Michael Caine, became Alfie Jenks, 1965. Not, as you might suppose because Stamp suggested his London flat-mate - but because director Lewis Gilbert's son did. Wheels within wheels... .
6. - Michael Caine, Alfie, 1966. “I love that subject so much I’ll do it for nothing!” Music to Paramount’s ear. Yet director Lewis Gilbert felt Stamp too young. “If you do the play in New York - and it’s successful - you can do the film.” Broadway proved a disaster - the play opened and closed within hours in December 1964. Gilbert's son knew Stamp’s flatmate. That’s how Caine won the film after being rejected for the West End play.
7. - David Hemmings, Camelot, 1966. "I’m not sure how other actors are, but certain things that I passed on or lost or gave up for the wrong reason, come back to me. Camelot comes back to me more than all the others. It’s the one decision that I truly regret, not playing King Arthur. [Director] Josh Logan went down on his knees in a restaurant called the Trattoria Terrazza, begging me. And I was just so frightened, I believed I could never sing it. I was young and I thought if I do this and I’m revoiced, my career’s over - probably not true, but still. And then the film came out and I thought: Well, I could have done that - it wasn’t like Mario Lanza.” CUT to 46 years later, and finally Stamp joined (indeed, wed) Vanessa Redgrave, his intended Queen Guinevere in ’66, in Song For Marion (US: Unfinished Song), 2011 - where he had to sing, albeit in a choir. “Destiny was giving me a second go. Am I going to turn this down and regret it for the next ten years? So I just jumped into the void.”
8. - Oskar Werner, Fahrenheit 451, 1966.
The French nouvelle vague icon François Truffaut greatly admired Stamp and wanted him for two films, although “he’s very particular about his career - it’s possible he may want to do Fahrenheit and not Bonnie and Clyde.” Exactly. Plus veteran Hollywood director William Wyler got in the way with The Collector - resulting in Best Actor at Cannes, 1965. No matter, Stamp accepted the Montag role in the Spring of ’64, got on well with the réalisateur (speaking better French than Truffaut’s Engleesh). For the Parisian, Stamp was an English Werner and, indeed soon enough, like Werner, Stamp had no wish to be upstaged by Julie Christie playing both 451 female leads. (He didn’t do that well against just one Julie in her next movie, Far From The Madding Crowd). Truffaut tried to mollify him. “My dear Terry, you possess extraordinary talent. You’re the sort of poetical actor who is so needed in today’s cinema, now that Hollywood is incapable of recruiting anything but playboys or G-men.” (Huh?) Having already contacted Charles Aznavour, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Kirk Douglas and Paul Newman, Truffaut made the mistake of his life by giving the fireman to Werner, originally booked as Montag’s boss. 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. But for the six years of planning, Truffaut would have walked. Instead, he simply truncated Werner’s later scenes - and used a double, John Ketteringham, in most of them!
9. - Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
10 - David Hemmings, Blow Up, 1966. Being fired after nine months’ preparation “was a cold shock and hard to take.” At first, the highly intellectual Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni told Hemmings: “You look too old. No, you look too young,”“He changed my life,” David told me in London. “He taught me to look at life,at acting, at everything, in a different way.”
11 - Charles Bronson, C'era una volta il west/Once Upon A Time in the West, Italy-US, 1968. Now this is a(nother) turn up for the books… Quelle surprise! First, we’ve learned that Jean-Paul Belmondo was on Sergio Leone’s list for Harmonica - now it appears that Terry Stamp was there, as well. (With Warren Beatty, ,James Coburn, and, well obviously, Clint Eastwood). Apparently, Leone had not seen Terry’s one and only Western - when he replaced Robert Redford as Blue, 1967.
12 - Peter McEnery, Meglio vedova/Better A Widow, Italy, 1968. Stamp turned down $350,000 because of a conflicting film. “When I was about 3 1/2 my mother took me to see a movie called Beau Geste with Gary Cooper, and I just wanted to be him. My whole life I just wanted to be like Coop. And he was a dresser; he was magnificent... Later I found a shoemaker who had made Rudolph Valentino’s boots in Blood and Sand, and he was Coop’s shoemaker, and I said : You shod Coop? Measure me up!”13 - Martin Potter, Fellini Satyricon, Italy, 1969. Maestro Federico Fellini’s opening ideas included such names as Pierre Clementi, Gert Frobe, Van Heflin, Boris Karloff - and StampforEncolpio. They had already made the Toby Dammit sketch in Histoires Extraordinaires, 1968.
13 - Hywel Bennett, Loot, 1971. Ex-TV director Silvio Narizzano’s plan after Blue, the Hollywood Western that shot itself (and Stamp) in the foot in ’68.
14 - Rod Taylor, The Deadly Trackers, 1973. When veteran US director Samuel Fuller planned it as Riata. Terry had done his Western, crassly taking over from a fleeing Robert Redford in Blue, 1968.
15 - Joe Dellessandro, Black Moon, France, 1975. As if he’d never been bedding all sexes in Teorema,Stamp was “afraid or worried” about being the incestuous brother of Alexandra Stewart (Truffaut wanted her as Bonnie oppoisite Stamp's Clyde) in cineaste Louis Malle’s surrealistic Alice In Wonderland.Hence, the Andy Warhol superstar. “One of the most surprising casting decisions of my life,” said Malle.
16 - Simon Duttton, Memed, My Hawk, 1983. Producer Darryl Zanuck asked Peter Ustinov to direct Turkish actor Yashar Kemal’s award-winning novel in 1963 - more of an Anatolian Robin Hood, circa 1929, than Billy Budd revisited.
17 - Peter Firth, Lifeforce, 1984. After also losing Michael Gothard, and Anthony Hopkins for SAS Colonel Colin Chase, director Tobe Hooper signed Firth. Maybe because Peter had been naked in the Equus stage play, just as Mathilda May was to be naked throughout what an IMDb contributor famously called: “the greatest naked space vampire zombies from Halley's Comet running amok in London end-of-the-world movie ever made.”
18 - Peter Firth, Lifeforce, 1984. Hard to believe. But director Tobe Hooper’s tacky science fiction bomb needed some class… In turn, Hopkins, Michael Caine (well, the character was Colonel Caine) (oh, ho, ho !) and Terence Stamp rejected Cannon’s chutzpah. Unfortunately, Firth didn’t run away from what could have been called Carry On Astronuts. Also listed: Hwyel Bennett, Lewis Collins, Michael Gothard, Michael Kitchen, Oliver Tobias, Simon Ward. And all the time, Hooper knew it didn’t matter a damn who played what guy as all eyes would be on Mathilda May - resplendently naked for almost the entire 116 minutes. (A rare accomplishment, swiftly copied the following year by another Parisienne, Patricia Barzyk - Miss France 1980 - in Jean-Pierre Mocky’s La machine à découdre).
19 - Steven Berkoff, Under The Cherry Moon, 1986. Probably his career’s lowest ebb - being rejected by Prince. “He had these booties with high heels on. I loved it.”
20 - Ray Davies, Absolute Beginners, 1986. He could not have saved it.
21 - Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, France-Italy-West Germany, 1986. Réalisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud was not keen on 007 as Umberto Eco’s medieval monk turned detective. Columia Pictures even refused financing if Connery was involved as his post-Bond star was imploding. Naturally, Brando topped Annaud’s further 14 ideas. Six Americans: Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Frederic Forrest, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Roy Scheider; four Brits: Stamp, Michael Caine, Albert Finney, Ian McKellen; plus Canadian Donald Sutherland, French Yves Montand, Irish Richard Harris, Italian Vittorio Gassman and Swedish Max von Sydow. Connery’s reading was the best and his career exploded anew. Two years later, he won his support Oscar for The Untouchables.
22 - Rutger Hauer, The Hitcher, 1986. Sam Elliott and Terry were offered the murderous John Ryder. C Thomas Howell admitted that he was actually afraid of Hauer’s intensity on and off the set.
23 - Tim Roth, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, 1990. UK director John Boorman’s lovely idea of ex-flatmates Michael Caine and Terry Stamp as the titular duo moved to the next generation 20 years later: GaryOldman and Roth.
24 - Jonathan Cecil, RPM, 1997. Tarantino compadre Roger Avary wrote the script - for Stamp,Daniel Auteuil, Yun-Fat Chow, Matt Dillon, Tcheky Karyo, Nastassja Kinski, Dolph Lundgren, Vanessa Paradis, Tom Savini - and Avary’s Killing Zoe stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade andEric Stoltz.Hethen decided against directing. The producer hired Ian Sharp“and the two guys who did Grumpier Old Men [!?!] to rewrite my script.”Actually, Donald Cammell (using the pseudonym Franklin Brauner), helped out in the year before he died.Avary removed his name from the ensuing mess.
25 - Ian McKellan, X-Men trilogy, 1999-2005.
26 - Patrick Stewart, X-Men trilogy, 1999-2005.
27 - Keith David, Mr & Mrs Smith, 2005. Terry and Jacqueline Bisset were the big villainsfor the climax - what else are true Brits for in LA? The ending was dropped - and a secondone shot with Angela Bassett and Keith David. That, too, was sliced.