Mel Ferrer


  1. Thomas E Breen, The River/Le fleuve, France-India-USA, 1951.     After musing his way through Brando, Mason, Redgrave and Sam Wannamaker, among others, legendary French realisateur Jean Renoir chose Ferrer – who then, suddenly, walked out before  filming  began in India.  And, alas, Breen was out of his depth. Totally!
  2. Yul Brynner, The Ten Commandments, 1954.  
  3. Stewart Granger, The Little Hut,  1956.   After an aborted UK version with Zsa Zsa Gabor and the third of her nine husbands, George Sanders, the first US idea was another married couple: Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn.  Plus David Niven, who stayed aboard… with Stewart Granger and Ava Gardner. All three are marooned on a desert island. Pause for sniggers. 
  4. Gérard Philipe, Montparnasse 19, France/Italy, 1958.     After his death,  director Max Ophuls’ plans for Ferrer were re-set for Yves Montand until he refused to cancel an Iron Curtain concert tour. Philipe flopped in what was also known  (bien sur as Les Amants de Montparnasse.
  5. Gregory Peck, Beloved Infidel, 1958.     For Sheila Graham’s book detailing her love affair with novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, producer Jerry Wald first planned Ferrer and his wife, Audrey Hepburn, for the Hollywood couple. Director Henry King chose Peck and Deborah Kerr (who tried to rewrote her part).
  6. Gregory Peck, Beloved Infidel, 1959.   One idea was a real-life couple – Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn – as F Scott Fitzgerald and his Hollywood columnist lover, Sheila Graham.   All   talk of Cary Grant playing Fitzgerald came to naught. As he was prone  to exclaim: “Plenty of room up front!”
  7. Massimo Girotti, La fabuleuse aventure de Marco Polo (US: Marco the Magnificent), France-Italy-Yugoslavia-Afghanistan-Egypt, 1963.  
    Shooting began in Belgrade’s Avala Studio on January 2, 1962. The French premiere would be in August 1965… after one helluva lot of angst, changes of hero, director, cast and much underwear – for what Paris producer Raoul Levy had (b)rashly promised as a spectacle across Asia to match Ben-Huror Spartacus, with Delon leading a French cast – apart from Dorothy Dandridge anf Mel Ferrer. Control was lost – so was money. “I never knew,” said Levy, “that elephants need 250 kilos of hay per day. For our 200 elephants that meant 50 tons!!!” He cut his losses stopped the shoot, made new deals and started all over with a German Marco and a rather more international cast: Elsa Martinelli (replacing Dandridge), Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif and (inevitably) Orson Welles.   No better… In neither version did Raoul Levy have a script. Reported Welles: “We made it up as we went along.

  8. Pierre Zimmer, Le deuxième Souffle, France, 1966.     Auteur Jean-Pierre Melville  first wanted Ferrer for Orloff – unforgettably played by the the  unknown  and impavide Zimmer.
  9. Omar Sharif,  Mayerling,  1967.    Set up for Ferrer and the missus, Audrey Hepburn, after they played the tragic lovers,  Crown Prince Rudolf, son and heir of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, and Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera,  in a 1957 NBC version.  But now, they divo4ced soon after 007 directyor Terence Young  started shooting  his  re-make of Anatole Litvak’s 1936 version with Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux.  Young  first wanted Marcello Mastroianni  or Oskar Werner as Rudolf.

 Birth year: 1917Death year: 2008Other name: Casting Calls:  9