Michael Crawford

  1. Tommy Steele,  Half A Sixpence, 1967.    Paramount wanted Crawford or Dick Van Dyke for the musical of  HG Wells’ Kipps, not being too sure about  (for them) the unknown British rocker. Although Chicago critic Roger Ebert said Steele – and his teeth –  were perfect for such schmaltz. Tommy disagreed: “None of my pictures did any good  – I was never any good in them.”
  2. Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1970.     Author Roald Dahl’s original choice to play his eccentric chocolatier was BBC radio Goon Spoke Milligan.  Next? Spike’s co-Goon Peter Sellers was too expensive. LA’s choice, Grey, was “not physically imposing enough.” Ron Moody  would have frightened the horses – and the kids. It was too impossible to choose between Cook and his BBcomedy partner, Dudley Moore.. UK comic Frankie Howerd was into two film farces. Jon Pertwee was wed to Doctor Who. Carry On stars Sidney James and Kenneth Williams were as keen as (a way too old) Fred Astaire. Crawford, soon enough a buge Broadway star wouild have been 100%p perfect. One by one, all six Monty Pythons (John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin) were judged not international enough (and Howerd, Milligan and Pertwee were?!) Cleese, Idle and Palin were offered the 2005 re-hash; Chapman having died and Gilliam and Jons having turned director. Ironically, after shooting was finished in Munich, Germany, the studio and locations were then taken over for Liza’s Cabaret, 1972, co-starring… Joel Grey.
  3. Ronnie Corbett, No Sex Please, We’re British, 1973.    No part, please, I played it in  the theatre…
  4. Jeff Bridges, The Last Unicorn, 1981.  Crawford, Richard Harris and Kurt Russell were the mixed bag (and ages) to voice Prince Lir in the toon based on the book (and script) by Peter S Beagle.
  5. Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.    
  6. Hugh Grant, Love Actually, 2003.     In one of the (too) many Richard Curtis love stories, the bachelor UK Prime Minister falls for 10 Downing Street’s tea-lady. Who should be elected as PM? Crawford was tied to Broadway. Michael Gambon was Harry Pottering. Anthony Hopkins was shooting The Human Stain in Quebec. Result: Grant stole the movie in a landslide victory.
  7. Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera, 2003. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original Phantom was due to head the movie in July, then November 1990 – opposite the composer’s wife, Sarah Brightman. Except, they divorced. “Everything got tied up in settlements,” director Joel Schumacher reflected. Next? Antonio Banderas, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Meat Loaf, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Space, John Travolta…and Butler.  



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  7