Rutger Hauer

  1. Jurgen Prochnow, Das Boot/The Boat, Germany, 1981.     Which director to work for – Wolfgang Petersen or Ridley Scott? Hauer voted Blade Runner, different cuts of which were still being releasedas late as2007… but never touching his improvised line:  “All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain…”
  2. John Hurt, The Osterman Weekend, 1982.     Tired of villains, Hauer persuaded director Sam Peckinpah to let him swop with Hurt and become a hero
  3. Steven Berkoff, Octopussy, 1982.
  4. Jonathan Pryce, Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1983.    If Hauer is the Dutch Paul Newman, then Gérard Depardieu was the French Hauer – compare Turkish Delight and Les valseuses.
  5. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.     Probably unknown to them, 34 actors were suggested for Dr Bukovsky.  Hauer, John Abineri, Patrick Allen, Bernard Archard, Anthony Bate, Ralph Bates, Hywel Bennett, John Bennett, Brian Blessed, Michael Byrne, Anton Diffring, Denholm Elliott, Paul Freeman, Julian Glover, Bernard Hepton, Derek Jacobi, Martin Jarvis, Freddie Jones, Wolf Kahler, Jeremy Kemp, Michael Kitchen, James Laurenson, John McEnery, Lee Montague, George Sewell, Michael Sheard, Vladek Sheybal, Cifford Rose, Leonard Rossiter, Robert Stephens, Oliver  Tobias, David Warner, Simon Ward, Timothy West. And all the time, US director Tobe Hooper knew it didn’t matter a damn who played what guy as all eyes  would be on Mathilda May – fully 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).  US  web critic Stephanie Scaife buried it as  “completely batshit insane.” 
  6. Ken Hutchinson, Ladyhawke, 1985.    “Stupidly, I always saw him as a heavy,” director Richard Donner told me in London. “That’s the way he’d been cast.  He refused the role and said: Give me a shot at Navarre.” He did, after his first choice, Kurt Russell, quit.
  7. Clancy Brown, HIghlander, 1985.   Sean Connery and Christophe(r) Lambert (!) were set as the Scottish heroes while Australian director Russell Mulcahy set about choosing his villainous Kurgan, the “strongest of all the immortals.” The wish list included Scott Glenn, Rutger Hauer, Nick Nolte, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Roy Sheider. Clancy Brown said he based his Kurgan on… Schwarzie’s Terminator. After thoughts about 007’s Oddjob  with the baddy in a good suit and a bowler hat!  (Glenn and Kurt Russell were also seen for Connor MacLeod – and made Backdraft, 1990, also written by Gregory Widen).
  8. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.     In all, 39 possibilities for the  off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs – not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!) Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired:  Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role in The Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he joined another cop duo in The Hidden),  Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don  Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops:  Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  9. Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1987.  Surprise, surprise, Hauer was Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s first choice to play the cyborg cop with too many human memories from the fatally  wounded Officer Alex J. Murphy. “Paul called me but – this was after Blade Runner – I did not feel like playing another robot. With  a helmet on most of the time.” Actors galore came and went: Armand Assante, Tom Berenger, Dale Dye (Hollywood’s favourite military adviser on Vietnam war films), Peter Fonda (“Here I am!” “No, you’re not!”), Lance Henriksen (when Weller complained about the suit), Michael Ironside (first choice), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone. Most were too big for the suit, (seven of them), too bulky to fit into a police car! Every studio in town laughed at the concept. Even the short-tempered Verhoeven first thought it a dumb actioner. (Read it again, said his missus).  Orion took a chance on it (and his Hollywood debut), ending up with two sequels, four more as movie-length TV series episodes, two cartoon shows, various comic books…  and a $1bn-plus from toys and figurines alone. Ken Russell said it was the greatest science-fiction film since Metropolis in 1927. Ken was always over then top.
  10. Craig Sheffer, Nightbreed, 1990.   Both Hauer and Christophe(r) Lambert were seen for Booneby the writer of the novel, Clive Barker- who scripted-directed.

  11. Terence Stamp, Beltenebros (UK: Prince of Shadows), Span, 1991.   When the Dutchman withdrew, his intended co-star Patsy Kensit suggested Stamp. She had  met him socially,  admired him on and off-screen. “As well as loving his looks.”   Director Pilar Miró loved the idea.   For Kensit fans this is where she  re-did the Rita Hayworth-Gilda  striptease  (for real !). And for Patsy,  it’s where – at the Palace Hotel in Madrid – t she met her second  husband,  Jim Kerr, of the Simple Minds band.
  12. Robert Davi, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, 1991.  The Dutchman passed on the role of explorer Martín Alonso Pinzón.  Neither Hauer,  his agent or his bank manager thought the proffered salary was in any way correct. A second film, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, was made that year for the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovering America.   Neither one discovered a public.
  13. Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard, 1992.     Larry Kasdan’s 1975 idea of Steve McQueen guarding Diana Ross was adapted for Hauer and Whoopi Goldberg. No one let it fly.
  14. Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 1994.

  15. Paul McGann, Doctor Wh(The Movie), TV, 1996.
  16. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.  
  17. Victor Löw, Floris, Holland, 2004.   Having played the Robin Hood/Ivanhoe-ish hero in the first 1968 TV series, Hauer was asked to play the father of the new Floris van Rozemond –  refusing the family business (knights) in favour of acting.  Hauer passed. Which gave director Jean van der Velde a bright idea. Hauer would be the grandfather – and seen only in 1968 clips. 
  18. Derek de Lint, Zwartboek/Black Book, Netherlands-Germany-Belgium, 2006.      “Good guy or bad guy, hero or anti hero, – doesn’t matter to me, what role I play,” said Hauer. “Only hat the character should have something magical.”
  19. Matthew Goode, Watchmen, 2008.   Producer Joel Silver’s ideas – Hauer for Ozymandias, Arnold Schwarzengger or Dolph Lundgren as the all blue Dr Manhattan – didn’t delight director Terry Gilliam. Not at all. In 1989-90, he considered the only answer was a five-hour mini-series. Next to bat? Michael Bay, Paul Greengrass, Darren Afronofsky and ultimately, the lesser Zack Snyder.


 Birth year: 1944Death year: 2019Other name: Casting Calls:  19