Robert Redford


      1. Richard Beymer, West Side Story, 1961.        Honestly!!!  Hard for veteran US director Robert Wise to believe it, too. But there among his papers at USC is a four-page list of people he’d interviewed for the ten-Oscar winning musical. Including The Santa Monica Kid, aged 23. Beymer was dubbed by Jimmy Byrant. And “wasn’t happy with his performance,” reported co-star Russ Tamblyn. “He thought he was miscast: he was from a farm in Indiana and had no street sense whatsoever. He needed a lot of direction and didn’t get it. They just stuck fake teeth in his mouth!”
      2. Stanley Baker, In the French Style,  1963.  Director Robert Parrish wanted Redford for one of Jean Seberg’s lovers but Columbia insisted  on Baker (tender for once) – in a Hollywood attempt at being New Wave. But Parrish and author-scenarist Irwin Shaw were too old for the world of Truffaut and Chabrol.  Redford remained ambitious. “I’d rather not be remembered for Route 66.  If I failed trying, at least I tried.”
      3. Russ Tamblyn, The Long Ships, 1963.  RR was doing well – Barefoot in the Park on Broadway, Emmy nominated for The Voice of Charlie Pont, even refusing a weekly  $10,000 for a TV series ast Bing Crosby‘s company – when  out of nowhere sensible   –  London producer Irving Allen wanted him as a viking.   Opposite a way too old Richard  Widmark! Probably because RR was also  was blond. 
      4. Marlon Brando, The Chase, 1966.         Brando swopped roles, to become the hunter, not the hunted. 
      5. James Fox, The Chase, 1966. RR’s (third) agent, Meta Rosenberg, was  shocked when he turned down the oil tycoon’s son, Jake, and wanted to be Bubber Reeves – the escaped convict, hunted by Sheriff Marlon Brando. “That’s the small part,” said Meta, “the guy on the run who we hardly see until the end.” ”But the better part,” said RR. “Bubber’s fate determined the moral values of the community.”  The British Fox took over Jake – in mid-affair with Bubber’s wife, Jane Fonda, and was embarrassed to find her totally naked under her gown.  Redford was “invigorated  by the prospect of sharing screen time with Brando because I regarded him as an artist… I  was also open to whatever education he might give me by association.” He found Marlon “drifted on the breeze… He’s a kid.  He’s acting because it’s easy and he can get his jolies and still be a kid!”
      6. Omar Sharif, The Night of the Generals, France-UK, 1966.  “Must be  seen to be disbelieved,” declared  Andrew Sarris in  The Village Voice.  The WWII  II whounnit  fell at the first fence – as ifi Nazis  would bother investigating Warsaw  and Paris sex-crimes by a “general.” (And such an obvious one). Producer Sam Spiegel rounded up a starry cast to bolster such silliness.  Peter O’Toole and  Omar Sharif weren’t keen but felt their owed him for Lawrence of Arabia.  Redford and Oskar Werner were also asked to the investigative Major Grau.

      7. George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966.   
        Redford’s  Broadway Barefoot in the Park director Mike Nichols sent him the script  as a Christmas gift while he was making Situation Hopeless – But Not Serious in Germany. And was staggered to be turned down.  “Don’t you want  to  film with the Burtons?” No, he didn’t. He felt  them – and their films – were bad. And they had the best roles! While his Nick “just died in the text. He started powerfully but the author [Edward Albee, no less] didn’t know what to do with the character and so he trailed off after the first half.” Nichols felt  RR could have invested some real magic in that role. “I stlll think he made a mistake.”  Elaine May thought highly  of Segal and told her comedy partner, Mike Nichols, about him.  “I think what bound him to Elaine was, he thought she was the one person smarter than he was,” said Segal.  Eiizabeth Taylor  went to see him in The Knack,… “and I passed muster I think she went to see Sandy [Dennis] in whatever  she was doing on Broadway… That was very lucky for me. Richard Burton was kind of a mentor for all of us actors. He is probably the best actor I have ever worked with…. Redford thought the part was too unpleasant and I  certainly understand that, from where he was going, so it fell to me….  We rehearsed for six weerks. We could have opened the play. Where, in movies, do you get six weeks of rehearsal? Mike got everything he wanted because he had Elizabeth [Taylor] backing him up.  Even  when he fired top cinematographer Harry Strtadling for making her blowsy Martha look too beautiful.  Going straight for once, Nichols and May did their own stage version  as George and Martha 15 years later at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven;  James Naughton andf Swoozsie Kurtz were Nick and Honey.

      8. Oskar Werner, Fahrenheit 451, 1966.        if he didn’t have enough pressures – first film in colour, first in English, a lingo he was far from confident with – French nouvelle vague icon François Truffaut also suffered four years of casting hurdles…. starting with Paul Newman as the fireman hero, Montag. When feeling Ray Bradbury’s story was too important to be shot in English(!), the réalisateur tried his past and future stars, Charles Aznavour, Jean-Paul Belmondo – and Oskar Werner as Montag’s boss. Producer Lewis Allen put him, back on track by suggesting Douglas, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift or Sterling Hayden. Producer Sam Spiegel tried muscling in by promising Richard Burton bossing a Redford loving Elizabeth Taylor! Getting desperate, Truffaut made the mistake of his life by giving the fireman to Werner (originally booked for the fire chief). 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. If not for the six years planning, Truffaut would have walked. Instead, he simply truncated Werner’s later scenes – and used a double, John Ketteringham, in most of them!
      9. Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate1967. 
      10. Richard Crenna, Wait Until Dark, 1967.  Early idea from Warner’s boss, Jack Warner. “I don’t like filming a lot and I don’t respect the profession, the business of being a star.”  Having become one, Redford listed the main dangers of being a star.  1. You will be treated like an object. 2. If you are not careful, you will begin to act like an object. 3. The final and death stage – you become that object.

      11. Tony Curtis, The Boston Strangler, 1967.     “Tony Curtis acts better than he has in a decade, ” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert. He was right, as always. Yet the film flopped and all but buried the Curtis career, dwindling ever downward into such garbage as Lobster Man From Mars, Tartzan in Manhattan, The Mummy Lives and Christmas in Connecticut directed by… Arnold Schwarzenegger. So maybe Warren Beatty, Horst Buchhholz, Robert Redford and Stuart Whitman were right to refuse to play Albert DeSalvo.
      12. Terence Stamp, Blue, 1968.      Keen on making a Western – if it was different from those of Johns Ford and Sturges.  But RR got off the train taking him to the Arizona shoot and called his agent, Meta. 1. He didn’t rate the “evasive” director Silvio Narizzano, on a Georgy Girl high  – but this wasn’t a pop film, as if the Canadian hadn’t  helmed The Glass Menagerie, War and Peace etc for UK TV!  2. He hadn’t received the final draft as promised.  3. “This is going to be a very different movie from the one I signed up for.”  4. “So I’m out!”   He replaced Meta with Natalie Wood’s husband-to-be, Richard Gregson, a London agent and future RR production partner at his Wildwood cvombiner. Paramount lost $5m and sued but settled for a new multi-picture deal. Production chief Robert Evans called it, “one of the disasters of all time.” Particularly as it led to  Redford quitting…
      13. John Cassavetes, Rosemary’s Baby, 1968.        Director Roman Polanski needed “a clean-cut young American, with the looks favoured by TV commercials, plus enough fire and temperament to put him in the big time.”  Redford, obviously! When they met for lunch, a Paramount lawyer served $25,000 breach of Blue contract papers on Bob. Exit : Redford, “shaking with anger.”
      14. Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, 1968.        No, no and no! For the same reason as he turned down Warren Beatty. Seeing a big star failing as a 42nd Street hustler “would seem ridiculous,” said UK director John Schlesinger. He wanted an unknown not a star as Joe Buck. Although, and for some time, there had been talk of… Elvis.  “Thankya verra much, ma’am”!  I think that Beatty’s Shampoo hairdresser was Joe Buck having made good in LA.
      15. Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969.   Bob.
      16. Richard Harris, A Man Called Horse, 1968.   Robert Redford – and even French superstar Alain Delon – were in the mix when Sam Peckinpah was going film Dorohty M Johnson’s story of an  English aristocrat converting to the Sioux way of life.  After the extremely painful to watch ceremony when Harris was hung on high by his nipples. Or, indeed, a prosthetic chest from make-up wiz John Chambers.  Doubtless, Peckinpah would, no doubt, have refused any such sissy  prosthetics! Just as Redford would have rejected the two sequels, Return of…  and Triumphs of a Man Called Horse.
      17. Michael Caine, The Italian Job, 1969.       This is one of Caine’s all-time UK classics (alongside Alfie and Get Carter). Paramount wanted  Redford – a lousy idea! UK producer Michael Deeleywon the battle forCaine… Impossible to imagine Redford uttering Charlie Crocker’s immortal cry: “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors orff!” (Redford’s Sundance Kid had a similar explosive mess: “Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”)
      18. Michael Sarrazin, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, 1969.      At one time, both Beatty and Robert Redford had talks about playing Jane Fonda’s Depression era marathon, dance-until-you-drop partner, Robert Syverton. (The surname of Fonda’s character was… Beatty). Charlie Chaplin, Joseph Losey and two French auteurs Jean-Pierre Mocky (with Brigitte Bardot!) and François Truffaut had all tried to film Horace McCoy’s book during ts 35 year long journey to the screen.
      19. Richard Harris, A Man Called Horse, 1970.       Producer Sandy Howard read the story while ill in Japan, recognised it as a Wagon Train episode, bought the rights for $250, contacted Redford and set up a production deal.  “Redford went and did something else,” Howard told me in London, “so we looked around.  Richard was fifth choice – first who said yes.”
      20. Peter O’Toole, Murphy’s War, 1970.    Frank Sinatra had been keen in ‘69, but did a lousy Western instead, Dirty Dingus Magee. Roger Ebert”sd review explainewd why RR passed… “An ambitious attempt at a thoughtful action movie but its thought and action don’t connect very well.”   UK director Peter Yates would return to  Redford  for…  well, let’s put it this way. As often as RR could be spot on about a film’s highs or lows, he could be so wrong. For example, instead of The Day of the Jackal in 1972,  he made Yates’ The Hot Rock – caper rubbish, as empty as he said Jackal was! And far from  the power of Yates’ US 1968 breakthrough, Bullitt.

      21. Steve McQueen, Le Mans, 1971.        Changing director,changing script (if there was one), escalating the budget – McQueen’s dream film was spiralling out of control. Cinema Center (producing with Steve’s Solar combine) started secretly talking to Redford to take over the role. Wisely, he refused.
      22. Jon Voight, Deliverance,  1971.   LA Times columnist Joyce Haber had the scoop.  Not  the proviso… Jack Nicholson agreed to Ed – as long as his neighbour and idol, Brando, played Lewis. Trouble was, Brando now despised acting, “nothing more than mimicry – a bunch of tricks.” Even so, he agreed: “I’ll take whatever you pay Jack.”  That meant they represented half the $2m budget!  After musing on Redfoerd, Warren Beatty, Lee Marvin, James Stewart, the Warner suits told UK director John Boorman: “Make it with nobodies for no money.”
      23. Al Pacino, The Godfather, 1971.
      24. Roger Moore, Live And Let Die, 1972.
      25. Steve McQueen, Junior Bonnor, 1972.     What a difference a year makes… Now Redford was getting – and rejecting – script-treatments before they reached McQueen.
      26. Michael York, Cabaret,1972.      Due as a third teaming with Natalie Wood when her fiance Richard Gregson was producing Redford’s Downhill Racer in 1969.
      27. Beau Bridges, Hammersmith Is Out ,1972.      Refused the Burtons a third time -w ith reason.The role was a “sleazy, repulsive” (Variety) nurse helping to spring lunatic Richard Burton from an asylum. Despite (or because?) Peter Ustinov being the director and co-star, the Faustian rip-off was out to lunch.
      28. Edward Fox, The Day of the Jackal, 1972.    Universal wanted A Star –  Michael Caine, Roger Moore or Jack Nicholson. Director Fred Zinnemann voted Redford.  And got the bum’s rush. ”It was the sort of facile garbage you see on television every week. No depth…. It needed a journey into the character’s psyche and motivation. It wasn’t there. He was just as psychotic killer [exact!y] and the story described his manouvres to try and kill de Gaulle. It had a  ‘So what?” feeling for me.”  Not for the public. As often as he could be spot on about a film’s highs or lows, he could be so wrong. For example, instead of Jackal; he made…  The Hot Rock Gentleman Fred’s final choice of Fox (who’d impressed him in The Go-Between, 1969)  was the elder brother of James,  who inherited RR’s original role in The Chase, 1966.
      29. George Segal, The Hot Rock, 1972.      Redford decided to take over the lead from George C Scott, leaving his original role as void as the film.
      30. James Coburn, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1972.

      31. James Caan, The Gambler, 1973.      
        When Paramount cheesily announced  a 2012 re-makewithout telling him, scenarist James Toback related the unexpurgated chronology of the original  (“from erection to resurrection,” to quote Churchill), revealing how  no  money  could be raised on the names of  Warren Beatty, Peter Boyle or Robert De Niro.  This did not deter Mike Medavoy, movie agent and future head of not one but three studios. “I’m going to get this picture made. And I have the perfect guy… Robert Redford!” Axel Freed is a New York Jew, said Toback (the real  Freed, of course). To which Medavoy replied: 
“Redford’s a great actor, he can play anything”! Toback retorted: I already have the guy: Robert De Niro.  “Never heard of him. You won’t get the picture made without a star… Then you need a star director. Karel Reisz.” Who? “Jesus Christ! Don’t you know anything about movies? Karel Reisz is the greatest director in England. Every studio wants to make a movie with them. I’m going to get you Karel.” He got him. And then Karel Reisz refused to let De Niro even read…   ! “Wrong temperament. He’s too common.”  Said Toback in 2014: “Caan became a great Axel Freed, although obviously different from the character De Niro would have created.” And Reisz? “My one-man film school.”

      32. Ryan O’Neal, Barry Lyndon, 1973.        William Makepeace who…?  What was his last movie..? Warner Bros was amazed that their VIP director wanted to follow A Clockwork Orange with… a Thackery story? Vanity Fairor Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. OK, with  one condition – Lyndon  had to be one of the official top ten box-office stars. In the ’73 Quigley Poll.  But #1 was Clint Eastwood…! Others included such obvious UK costume drama types as Marlon Brando, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, John Wayne. Kubrick preferred Redford who preferred to pass. O’Neal, #2 in the poll due to Love Story, was the lucky substitute. He never made the Top Ten again.  Redford did – twice  at #1.
      33. Al Pacino, Serpico, 1973.      After being Butch and Sundance, Paul  Newman and Redford were always looking for another movie… Billy Wilder always said a guaranteed hit would be a love story  between Redford and Newman… in a Boeing on fire… flown by Barbra Streisand!. But here was the most absurd suggestion of 1971 – to have Redford the WASP as the anti-NYPD corruption cop, Italian-American Frank Serpico. (Remember, Redford  had also been suggested for Michael Corleane!). Newman would be Sergeant David Durk.  Serpico, however, was no double act. And indeed, there was no Durk in the eventual movie.
      34. Robert Mitchum, The Yakuza, 1974.      When director Sydney Pollack came aboard, he obviously ran to his pal, Bob.Cheeky – as Pollack only got the job because Robert Mitchum had squeezed Robert Aldrich out of it.
      35. Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
      36. Donald Sutherland, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova), Italy-USA, 1975.       Pre-post-er-ous!!! As per usual, Federico Fellini’s producersplayed with the idea of superstars – Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, even Redford!! -while he preferreda more parochical venturewith, maybe, Alberto Sordi, Gian Maria Volonte or the unknown cabaret performer Tom Deal. Ultimately, it was “Donaldino.” He had shared Paul Mazursky’s , Alex in Wonderland, 1970, with Fellini in Hollywood and they metagain on the set of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 in 1975. And the maestro loved his “grotesque, baleful look of a skinny sick calf and blue eyes like a newborn baby.”
      37. Michael York, Logan’s Run, 1975.  Seven years before, Hollywood’s most sf-minded  producer, George Pal. Asked the first James Bond  scenarist Richard Maibaum, to adapt  William F Nolan and George Clayton Johnson’s  dystopian drama, circa 2274…  when life must end at 30 (21 in the book).  Redford was set as Logan. Or Jon Voight (with Lindsay Wagner as Jessica 6).    York admits he nearly binned the script (alongside Love Story).  But a fellow actor in his current stage play asked to read it. Next day, he told York: You’ve got to do this, you may not be aware of it, but it’s pressing a lot of buttons. “And he was absolutely right… Adults still accost me and tell me this was their favourite film when growing up.  I was flattered to read afterwards that had I refused it, the film would probably not have been made.”  Nolan was connected to five other Logan sequels and Warners ordered a a 90s’ re-make for Leonardo DiCaprio or Ryan Gosling in 2011.  But, hey, Logan 5 (3 in the book) was not stamped Lucas or Marvel. If it is ever re-made, Leo could be right for the character known as… Old Man. 
      38. David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1975.  Director Nic  Roeg wanted  his Performance star Mick Jagger, Peter O’Toole or the exceedingly tall author Michael Crichton as the visiting alien, Thomas Jerome Newton, until totally mesmerised by the Cracked Actor documentary about Bowie. At times, it played  like a veritable test for Newton.  Roeg’s backers, however,  were insisting on… Redford.  (Nine years later, Redford was also first choice for Bowie’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, 1984). “I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was,” Bowie told Moveline in 1982.   “Totally insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end.”
      39. Malcolm McDowell, Voyage of the Damned, 1975.  In a Nazi propaganda exercise – “Nobody loves Jews – so leave them to us”- Germany ships Jews to Havana, in the full knowledge that Cuba won’t accept them. Nor will any other nation. They return home, by which time WWII has begun, and of the 937 passengers, more than 600 die in concentration camps!  ThIs is no retread of Katharine Anne Porter’s Ship of Fools, although similar and both featuring José Ferrer and Oskar Werner (in his final film here). No, this is a terrible true story, stuffed with stars, too many to deal with. Denholm Elliott has one scene, Orson Welles, four; luckier than the jettisoned Janet Suzman and Jack Warden.  A good guy this once, Malcolm McDowell was among the crew instead of (take a breath)… fellow Brits Jon Finch, Anthony Hopkins, Simon MacCorkindale, Ian McShane, John Moulder-Brown. Martin Potter and Hollywood’s  Keith Carradine, Jeff Conaway, Raul Julia, Martin Kove, Joe Mantegna, Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford, John Ritter, John Travolta, Jon Voight.  
      40. Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976.

      41. Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now, 1976.
      42. Keith Carradine, Pretty Baby, 1977.    The plot sickens… A prostitute allows her 12-year-old daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light district of New Orleans, circa 1917. French director Louis Malle saw 28 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for little Violet… 15 actresses for her mother… and 17 guys for for the real life , misshapen, hydrocephallic photographer Ernest J Bellocq, whose Storyville work of the epoch influenced the style of the surprisingly elegant film. Redford was first choice, Jack Nicholson second. Before falling for   Carradine, Malle saw Albert Brooks, James Caan, Robert De Niro, the new in town Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman, Malcolm McDowell (the only Brit short-listed), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve (planning to make us believe a man could fly), future director Rob Reiner, John Travolta (more into Grease)… plus such flat out surprises as Joe Pesci, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone (prepping FIST), and even Christopher Walken.
      43. Al Pacino, Bobby Deerfield, 1977.        About the only time, Redford ever rejected a Sydney Pollack project. “But I’ve also said No to him sometimes,” admits Pollack. “He asked me to direct Downhill Racer – and Brubaker when Bob Rafelson was sacked.” Pollack took his anal Grand Prix driver to Al who was seeking “a normal movie”after Godpops, straight cops and dog days. It won him his first $1m salary (and his co-star Marthe Keller), lost him his manager Martin Bregman (not back until Scarface, 1983) and finally taught him todrive. Basically, it was beneath Pacino. But, he said, as (the also considered Paul Newman always said: If you made only the film you liked, you’d only work once every five years.
      44. David Carradine, The Serpent’s Egg, 1977.    For his first Hollywood-backed, and totally English-speaking film (there had been some Swedish in The Touch, 1970,with Elliott Gould), the Swedish genius Ingmar Bergman had some strange notions for circus performer Abel Rosenberg. David Bowie, Richard Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford (!) and  two top TV names: Carradine and Peter Falk  Far from the finest Bergman (too far from his roots), but Harris and Hoffman later regretted their passing… (An inexplicable second consecutive rejection of Bergman by Hoffman!).
      45. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978,
      46. Burt Reynolds, Starting Over, 1979.         Director Alan J Pakula wanted either of his President’s Men:He called Redford first, Hoffman second…They both told him” Don’t hold the front page.
      47. Steve McQueen, Tom Horn, 1979.
        Every time I look in the rearview mirror, I see Bob Redford.”  The day McQueen announced his film on  the gunned-down end of the teamster, rodeo champ, silver-miner, deputy marshal, Pinkerton detective, cavalry scout and Teddy Roosevelt Rough Rider – Redford announced Mr  Horn.And  blinked first.   “He was intimidated  by McQueen,” said Steve’s pal Phil Parslow. “McQueen was a lot of things Redford never was or never will be.”
      48. Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome, 1979.         “I don’t give people what they want, I give them what they need,” Redford told Mort Sahl while script-doctoring Ordinary People
      49. Ygor Kostelevsky, Teheran ’43, Russia-France-Switzerland, 1979.      Moscow asked him to be a (rather unlikely) Russian colonel uncovering a plot to assassinate Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.
      50. Arthur Hill, A Little Romance, 1979.    With two kids as his leads,  director George Roy Hill  needed  a  star  name.  He called up his Sundance Kid to be Sally Kellerman’s third husband, father of Diane Lane…  Not required, once Hill landed Laurence  Olivier as the old roué.

      51. Wallace Shawn, My Dinner With André, 1980.       There was a moment – or ten – when Paris auteur Louis Malle wondered what he had got himself into – and, for him, so rapidly.He’d met Wallace Shawn photocopying the 500-page script and now Malle was about to make a movie of it – of two men doing nothing but talking for 111 minutes. And neither one an actor. “Perhaps,” he told playwrights Shawn and André Gregory, “we should give your roles to Hoffman and Redford.” He was not joking. Nor when he added: “I don’t know how to do this but we will do it.”
      52. Donald Sutherland, Ordinary People, 1979.    Novelist Judith Guest’s anatomy of a family more in pain than love reminded Robert Redford of “the missed signals” of his own upbringing, – it became  his directing debut.  Paramount naturally wanted Redford to play the father. (D’oh! When is Redford ordinary?) Ruling himself out, he considered Bruce Dern, Anthony Franciosa and Ken Howard and decided on Sutherland – originally  up for the shrink.
      53. Kris Kristofferson, Heaven’s Gate, 1980.    Brash, not to say braggart director Michael Cimino obviously first sent his script to Clint – Eastwood had started the Cimino ball rolling by producer-starring  his Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, 1974. Not this time. Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Robert Redford  also passed on what became one of Hollywood’s Top Ten Financial Disasters. In the space of six years (and five Oscars for his Deer Hunter, 1978, including best Film and Director), Cimino’s career was flushed.
      54. Dudley Moore, Arthur, 1980.  The suits wanted a US star.  Brand new auteur Steve Gordon wanted Dud. Gordon won, made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982. John Belushi had passed, scared of being typed as a drunk (surely the least of his troubles!). Orion Pictures’ other choices for the titular rich man-child were: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Robin Williams… and quite ridiculously, Redford, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino (that would  have been tough going!), Sylvester Stallone, John  Travolta. Enough for an Arthur XI soccer squad – and one reserve.
      55. John Belushi, Continental Divide, 1981.      Steven Spielberg adored the Tracy/Hepburn unlikely romcoms. Now he’dfound his own. Except he chickened out whenhe couldn’t unearth a new Spence/Kate. He remained producer and thought the the no-nonsense journo hero (based on Chicago Sun Times columnist Mike Royko) was perfectfor… Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss (aka Spielberg’s Tracy!) (For a wee while), Peter Falk, Dustin Hoffman. Plus George Segal, who showed it to his co-star, Elliott Gould, who showed it to his wife and La Streisand immediately wanted to switch roles and be the journo opposite Redford’s bald eagle researcher! Which is about when Belushi, the ruination of Spielberg’s 1941, decided he could go straight and Spielberg believed him. Huge error!
      56. Brad Dourif, Ragtime, 1981.        The reason that revered director Robert Altman quit the project was that producer Dino De Laurentiis insisted (again) on starring Redford.
      57. Jeremy Irons, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, 1981.     It took a dozen years (and directors, from Lindsay Anderson to Fred Zinnemann) to adapt John Fowles’ unfilmable novel. Helmer Karel Reisz and playwright Harold Pinter spent all of 1979 solving it, dropping versions by Dennis Potter, etc, and turning the lovers into dual roles – matching the affair of two actors filming the affair of the titular, Victorian heroine. So Sarah/Anna was Meryl Streep and Mike/Charles was aimed at Richard Chamberlain or Redford – her 1984 co-star in Out of Africa.
      58. Jürgen Prochnow, Das boot/The Boat, West Germany, 1981.      Butch Cassidy was  first  choice, then The Kid… until author Lothar-Gunther  Buccheim said: Nein! “It’s  a  true story,” explained  director Wolfgang  Petersen,  “and he didn’t want a typical American picture. No big  stars, just men in a submarine. How it really was.”

      59. Paul Newman, The Verdict, 1982. 
        First choice for the Boston personal-injury laywer was Frank Sinatra.  Next : Redford, who got two directors fired (Arthur Hiller, James Bridges) to get pal Sydney Pollack aboard. When a fourth, Sidney Lumet, took over, he called the ambulance-chaser a kicking-the-dog character (difficult for the public to like), but Redford, said Lumet, wanted to be  petting-the-dog“a crusader on a white horse. ,Lumet stuck to David Mamet’s script, so Redford walked – he did not wish to be an alcohollc. That affliction didn’t bother Cary Grant, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Roy Scheider or Jon Voight.. Enter: Newman “face down in a urinal,” he said (Not exactly true). “The guy’s an open wound.  And that was refreshing, to let the blemishes, the indecision – the wreckage – show through.” Watching it in 2019  for the 100th time, George Clooney said:  “That is a proper big-time, world-class movie star saying to the world: ‘I’m a character actor now. He busted his ass. And you couldn’t make that film now. Not like that.” The public didn’t want to see Newman kicking any dogs. Anyway, he far too handsome to be a loser –  except on Oscar-night when Ben Kingsley won for Gandhi. Redford retired at 79. after completing The Old Man & the Gun.   “Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive? And then just focus on directing.”  The Verdict  was shot in New York like 25 of  Lumnet’s 31 films – more than Woody or Marty.

      60. Richard Chamberlain, The Thorn Birds, TV, 1983.    Hollywood jumped on Colleen McCullough’s  Australian Gone with the Wind when it  started selling 33 million copies in 1977. Tara was now Drogheda, an outback sheep farm, Scarlet was the poor Meggie and Rhett – well, Rhett was the sexiest priest around until Andrew Scott’s turned on Fleabag in 2019. Herbert Ross was set to direct Christopher Reeve in an epic  movie, then Aussie film-maker Peter Weir with Robert Redford.  Ryan O’Neal was next in line. Finally, Chamberlain was Father Ralph de Bricassart In the most successful mini-series since Roots – even though it was all made in California (why not simply re-set it in Georgia?).  Meibourne’s Tristan Rogers (Scorpio in  the  General Hospital soap since 1981) was briefly considered for the  randy cleric but Bryan Brown was the only Aussie star involved.  His character married the leading lady Rachel Ward. On and off-screen! 

      61. William Hurt, Gorky  Park, 1983.    Not surprisingly, Dustin Hoffman and his usual shadow, Al Pacino  – but also the all American Redford! –  were offered the Russian whodunnit from the first of Martin Cruz Smith’s nine books about the Soviet  Sherlock,  Arkady Renko.  The militsiya officer is hunting the truth about three frozen corpses found in the titular park  minus their v faces and finger-tips.  Insisting the novel  had  negative stereotypes of Russians and Communism (but an American villain!),   the USSR banned Hollywood. Consequently, Moscow was played by Helsinki, and Park by Finland’s Kaisaniemi Park.

      62. Mac Davis, The Sting II, 1983.     Bob wisely let it be. So did Paul Newman.
      63. David Bowie, Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, 1984.
        Knowing him from their environmental pursuits. author Laurence Van De Post suggested Bob. The superstar  respected Japanese director Nagisa Oshima’s work  but told him: “The general American audience won’t understand it.  If an American viewer doesn’t understand a picture in the  first 15 minutes, he gives up.”  (But he’s already paid for his ticket by then!)

      64. Anthony Hopkins, The Bounty, 1985.         Epic director  David Lean strived so hard to re-make Mutiny on the Bounty (as two films) that he even joined forces anew with his River Kwai/Lawrence producer Sam Spiegel  – who immediately wanted Big Names, like Redford as Bligh!  Lean was attached to Out of Africa before Sydney Pollack made it with  Bob.
      65. Robert Redford, Legal Eagles, 1985.  One giant flop for Hollywood super-agent and film packager  Michael Ovitz.   He and Mr Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman,  wanted Dustin  and his Tootsie  flat-mate, Bill Murray, as the lawyers.  Ovitz turned them into Redford  (paid $8m) and… Debra  Winger. “Bob disliked Ivan becaue Ivan was too commercial,” reported Ovitz. “Ivan disliked Debra because she was a prima donna… and she disliked Ivan right back. Bob and Debra had zero chemistry, and the script was all concept and no highs.”  
      66. Mel Gibson Lethal Weapon, 1986.    Redford and Paul Newman wanted a third buddy movie.  This was the best their super-agent Michael Ovitz could find.  “But Bob hated the script.” So did director Richard Donner, who had every new draft by Shane Black lightened up by an uncredited Jeffrey Boam. Ihus a franchise was born. Obviously not, if Butch and Sundance had made it.
      67. Gene Hackman, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller (labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert) the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson tried all ages for the villain politico. From James Caan and Al Pacino at 46 to Gregory Peck at 70. Plus James Coburn, Sean Connery, James Cromwell, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Mitchum, Donald Moffat, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Jason Robards Donald Sutherland and Jon Voight.   Hackman was 56.
      68. Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.      Surprisingly, the murder mystery where the chief suspect is a cartoon character was based on the never made Cloverleaf, Robert Towne’s third Jake Gittes script (for Chinatown, read Toontown). So who should be Gittes, er, shamus Eddie Valiant? Well, why not Gittes, himself – Jack Nicholson? No, producer Steven Spielberg could not see beyond Harrison Ford. Too expensive! OK, Ed Harris, Robert Redford (once nearly Philip Marlowe), Sylvester Stallone? Director Robert Zemeckis also considered Charles Grodin, Aussie comic Don Lane, Eddie Murphy (soon a toon in the Shrek movies), Joe Pantoliano and voice artist Peter Renaday.   And they could never contact the hideaway Bill Murray… When he read that in a paper, Murray screamed out loud – he would have loved being Valiant. Not that much fun, reported Hoskins. “I had to hallucinate to do it,” he told Danish TV. After working with green screens for six months, 16 hours a day, he lost control.  “I had weasels and rabbits popping out of the wall at me.”
      69. Mickey Rourke, Angel Heart, 1987.         Redford beat Dustin Hoffman to the rights of Falling Angel and  had novelist  Wiliam Hjortsberg script it for him.  “Curious,”  thought Alan Parker,  the UK director who finally made the film.  “Redford is a classic American hero and Harry Angel is the complete opposite.”
      70. Dennis Quaid, Everybody’s All  American (UK: When I Fall In Love), 1988.        American football?  Baseball was was more his style.

      71. Stephen Lang, Last Exit To Brooklyn, Germany, 1989.      Copy-cat director Brian De Palma’s idea when he held the rights.  “But I don’t know if he’d do what we want him to do.” He soon found out.
      72. Dwight Schultz, Fat Man and Little Boy, 1989.  Terrible title… Paul Newman was Major General Leslie Groves, head of the construcion of then first (titular) Atom bombs at Los Alamos. UK director Roland Joffe wanted Schultz as the project’s scientific chief, Robert Oppenheimer – while the suits craved another big shot –  Redford or Harrison Ford.  “Joffe went to the wall for me,“ said Shultz. “The studio wanted anyone but me.“
      73. Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy, 1989.   Sonny Bono with the missus, Cher, as Tess, were set for a  70s’ musical version that never flew.  Next came Ryan O’Neal in the earlty 80s. Then, Redford, Bruce Campbell, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson and even such total opposites as George C Scott and Tom Selleck were seen in ’89.  James  Caan settled for a cameo as Splandoni.  Beatty agreed to direct if he could play Tracy, his boyhood idol. Disney suits spoiled the whole caper by making him slash his 135 minute cut by a half-hour!

      74. James Caan, Misery, 1990.  
        “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars.”  Top scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes).  Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob Reiner again after refusing When Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt refused – twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new  – but Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman was  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version.

      75. Richard Dreyfuss, Always, 1989.    New agent (#7?)  Mike Ovitz wanted to get him back on the RRails. He aimed  for Redford Meets Spielberg… The director  longed to re-make Spendcer Tracy’s 1943 weepie, A Guy Named Joe.  And folk had (erroneously) compared Redford to Tracy more than once. At Spielberg’s home, Ovitz’s magic duo watched the Victor Fleming movie.  RR was not impressed. “No reason to re-make a movie that was pretty average  to begin with.” (It was a favourite for all the wrong reasons;  Spielberg loved Tracy, the father he  never had). So how  about Paul?  His opinions were invariably close to Redford’s.   Dreyfuss signed on but couldn’t prevent it being a dog’s breakfast.
      76. Brad Johnson, Always 1989.      Spielberg later tried  to re-unite Redford and Newman. Paul was better stand-in for Spencer Tracy than Richard Dreyfuss. Johnson was perfectly cast.  As a cardboard box. 

      77. Armand Assante, Animal Behaviour, 1989.    Producer (and later co-director) Kjehl Rasmussen thought his romantic comedy had been picked up at the Sundance lab by The Man for his Wildwood combine. Instead, Redford did his usual disappearing  act.  He  said he  was too old and went off to Out of Africa. “When we had problems,” said Rasmussen, “he was not there to help.”
      78. Patrick Bergin, Mountains of the Moon, 1990. Director Bob Rafelson kept hearing the same comment about his seven-year obsession about the Nile explorers, John  Speke and Richard Burton: Why make a film about the actor? “It was said so many times,  I was more crying than laughing.”
      79. Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent, 1990. As if the public would presume Redford guilty of murder… “He will always be 30, blond, perfection,” said director Sidney Pollack – after seven films together, they broke up. Paul Newman  explained why: “Sidney wanted to be Bob and Bob wanted to be Sydney.” 
      80. James Caan, Misery  1990. 
        “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars.  Top scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes).  Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob Reiner again after refusing When Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt refused – twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new  – but Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman was  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version.

      81. Nick Nolte, Cape Fear, 1991. It would, said Scorsese, have been interesting to have De Niro play against the wholesomeness that Redford represented. “Ultimately, we didn’t need that kind of symbolism.” Oh no? It was still a surprisingly pallid re-make of the 1962 Gregory Peck-Robert Mitchum thriller.
      82. Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides, 1991. “For a while,Robert Redford  had the piece,” Nolte discovered. “It was a different kind of script than Barbara had. [Director and co-star Barbra Streisand]. She took the heart of the story and focused it on the women and the men. She was a wonderful director, wonderful with the actors and so steeped in the material.” Come 2013, Redford and Nolte were, as Ain’t It Cool News put it, the two old dudes taking A Walk in the Woods.
      83. Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
      84. Clint Eastwood, In The Line Of Fire, 1992. Having brought down Nixon, the All The President’s Menreporters, Dustin Hoffman and Redford, were due (in that order) to be the POTUS bodyguard Frank Horrigan – who had lost JFK at Dallas. Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Tommy Lee Jones backed away from the ageing hero and Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer from making him younger and ruining Jeff Maguire’s impeccable script. It remains one of Clint’s finest movies. Like another he swiped from Redford: The Bridges of Madison County.
      85. Morgan Freeman, The  Shawshank Redemption, 1993.  Sidney Poitier missed the point.  He refu Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  105