- James Purefoy, Solomon Kane, 2008. Shooting dates clashed with his start date for Steve McQueen’s Hunger. The following year, Fassbendermadea Kane clone called Centurion - although owing more to Walter Hill than Robert E Howard.
- Ed Westwick, Wuthering Heights, 2009. When Natalie Portman suddenly quit the Bronte project, the producers lost their Heathcliff as well - and quickly filled the hunk gap with the Gossip Girl revelation opposite Gemma Arterton(nine films since her Bondacious Quantum of Solace, 2008). “We’ve cast it as written,” saidproducer Robert Bernstein. "Heathcliff's a teen, and the story takes him into his early 20s. Cathy is just as young.”
- Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds, 2009. Quentin Tarantino never wavered. The Nazi colonel Landa had to be a real German. (So what had he been talking to Leonardo DiCaprio for?!) At a Berlin audition, QT told the German-speaking Fassbender: “Let’s take a look at Hicox.” “What about Landa?” “Well, I cast my Landa on Tuesday.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah, I’m sure, man, [Pause]. Look, man, any guy that gets cast as Heathcliff is not fucking German enough to play my Landa, all right?” Fassbender played Hicox (and not Heathcliff as planned), and Landa became a real… Austrian. And an Oscar-winner.
- Christian Bale, The Fighter, 2009. Wanting to make a credible boxing film, Mark Wahlberg chose the story of his pal, Boston’s Irish Mickey Ward, being trained to world glory by his ex-boxer/ex-crackhead half-brother - and stuck with it, sparring every morning for five years, as directors passed (Scorsese) or quit (Aronofsky) as the $50m studio project became a $20m indie. Wahlberg refused any salary and never thought of playing the brother. “There was always one role for me to play and that was the champ. I wasn’t giving up the belt. Dicky was a flashier role, but it wasn’t about that... but being believable as a guy who could win the welterweight title and not look like an actor who could maybe box a little.” Matt Damon (twice) and Brad Pitt quit being Dickie Eklund...and the self-emaciated Bale won an Oscar.
- Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern, 2010. In the superhero loop with Jack Black, Henry Cavill, Bradley Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Brian Austin Green, Emile Hirsch, Jared Leto, Eddie Murphy, Chris Pine, Justin Timberlake, Sam Worthington. However, Fassbender prefered joining Josh Brolin in another comic-cut flop, Jonah Hex. This allowed Reynolds to achieve the rare double whammy of playing both Marvel Comics and DC Comics superheroes. No one seems to know why. (Well, finally, he really made good as Marvel’s Deadpool, 2015). .
- Rhys Ifans, The Amazing Spider-Man, 2010.
- Tom Hardy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, 2010. Chosen for Ricki Tarr - not a standout stole Or not in the first cinema version of the John Le Carré’s 1974 classic. Hywel Bennett had much more to play with (five e[isodes!) in the classic 1979 TVersion. Fassbender was delayed on X-Men: First Class.
- Colin Farrell, Total Recall, 2011. Due to the impact of Quentin Tarantino’s Basterds, Fassbender was topping too many other casting sheets... Shame, X-Men: First Class, Haywire, Prometheus, Good Vibrations... allowing Farrell an A-list Hollywood comeback. Pierce Brosnan once tipped Farrell for Bond. We never saw why until his action hero in this stunning (if critically slaughtered) re-tread. Tom Hardy was also up for succeeding Schwarzenegger.
- Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman, 2011. For the first of two revisionist Ms Whites that year, Fassbender had to bow to Thor’s $65m opening and cancel any hunting plans. Ridley Scott snapped him up for Prometheus with Charlize Theron - who managed to make both. She is this version’s Evil Queen.
- Jeremy Renner, The Bourne Legacy, 2011. Three was enough for Matt Damon. The studio did not agree and kept the franchise alive by rebooting Jason Bourne as Aaron Cross - “There Was Never Just One.” But who should play him from 19 hopefuls? The Brit was too busy flashing his family jewels in Shame. Renner, Hollywood’s new (and young) white hope since The Hurt Locker, was already picked to carry on the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Matthew Goode, Stoker, 2012. Prison Break TV star Wentworth Miller wrote the script - naming it for Dracula author Bram Stoker. Plus an added homage... Fassebender, Goode, Joel Edgerton, Colin Firth, James Franco were seen for the most mysterious Uncle Charlie since Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt some 60 years earlier.
- Joel Kinnaman, RoboCop, 2012. The Robo-reboot was a battle between Fassbender,Kinnaman andthe new Belgian find, Matthias Schoenaerts.
- Sam Rockwell, A Single Shot, 2012. As the backwoods hunter John Moon, Rockwell was the single mainstay of an over-the-top thriller. The novelist could not blame the scripter - same guy! And he should remain anonymous.
- Tom Hiddleston, Only Lovers Left Alive, 2012. Had a face meet with Jim Jarmusch about his tale of a vampire in love with the vampiric Tilda Swinton - for centuries.
- Mark Wahlberg Broken City, 2012. When Fassbender passed, Wahlberg – the producer – said: “Hell, I’ll play Bill Taggart, myself.”
- Vincent Cassel, Trance, 2012. Schedules got in the way of Fassbender playing the gangster Franck in the thriller Danny Boyle directed during a gap in the two-year schedule for his stunning opening/closing ceremonies of London’s 2012 Olympics.
- Russell Crowe, Noah, 2013. Schedules interfered but Magneto and Batman (Christian Bale) were on the list of auteur Darren Aronofsky for his life-long fascination with the “dark, complicated character who experiences real survivor's guilt.” And a lot of water.
- Joel Edgerton, Jane Got a Gun, 2013. Natalie Portman’s fifth outing as a producer ran into all kinds of trouble. Fassbender quit (replaced by Edgerton) after clashes with Scots director Lynne Ramsay. Then, she quit. Then, Jude Law quit Edgerton’s original role - Lynne being the only reason Law had agreed to make the Sante Fe Western in the first place. Her exit allowed her to join Steven Spielberg’s 2013 Cannes festival jury.
- Henry Cavill, The Man From UNCLE, 2013. Superman Cavill goes Solo. Napoleon Solo… After securing the 60s’ TV series rights in 1993, producer John Davis went through 20 years, 14 scripts, four directors (letting slip Soderbergh and Tarantino!), plus 19 Napoleon Solos. From George Clooney in 2010 to Tom Cruise three years later. By way of the early-21st century suspects: Fassbender, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Joel Kinnaman, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Alexander Skarsgård (he switched to Tarzan), Channing Tatum. Even Russell Crowe, surely a better bet at 50 for old Waverly, the UNCLE boss. Poor Davis never got it right!20 - Jude Law, Genius, 2014. Change of Thomas Wolfe in stage director Michael Grandage’s take on the chaotic relationship between the US novelist and his publisher Max Perkins - who also discovered Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
- Jude Law, Genius, 2014. Change of Thomas Wolfe in stage director Michael Grandage’s take on the chaotic relationship between the US novelist and his publisher Max Perkins - who also discovered Hemingway and Fitzgerald.