Serge Reggiani

  1. Gérard Philipe, Le diable au corps, France, 1946.    Producer Paul Graetz thought Micheline Presle’s young lover should be the singer-actor or Marc Cassot. Presle shook her pretty head. “I can only do the film with Gérard.” At thenext day’s scripting session at the Prince of Wales hotel, Graetz solemnly announced that he thought the best François would be… Gérard Philipe.
  2. Gérard Philipe, Juliette ou la Clef des songs, France, 1950.     Beaten by Philipe again… French movie icon Marcel Carné first planned the film forJean Marais and Micheline Preslie in 1942. Until his producers worried about the audacity ofhis adaptation. (Presle was Philipe’s co-star in his 1946 breakthrough, Le diable au corps).
  3. Georges Marchal, Les trois mousquetaires, France-Italy, 1953.    When Gérard Philipe refused D’Artagnan (well, he’d already been Fanfan la Tulipe), the other usual suspects included Reggiani and Daniel Gélin.  Despite writing 129 scripts until his 1985 death, including 14 for Jean-Paul Belmondo and a whopping 19 for Jean Gabin – the team he wanted for another Three Musketeers in the 70s – this remained Michel Audiard’s #1 film at the French box-office with an audience of 5.5m.
  4. Lino Ventura, Ledeuxième soufflé, France, 1965.     When the brilliant realisateur Jean-PierreMelville first planned the film in 1958, he had Reggiani set for the escaped convict hunted by Ventura’s flic.  Eight years on, Ventura became the convict with Paul Meuriesse on his tail.
  5. Jean-Paul Belmondo, Ho!, France, 1968.    Before cineaste Robert Enrico and Jean-Paul Belmondo took it over, actor-director Roger Coggio tried to make José Giovanni’s tale in 1964 with Regianni as Ho – aka gangster Francis Holin.
  6. Bourvil, Le Cercle rouge, France-Italy, 1970.  And  again, Jean-Pierre Melville called upon Reggiani but he was fully booked.  As a singer. His concerts clashed with him becoming Comissaire Mattei – Bourvil’s penultimate  role.
  7. Gian Maria Volonte,  Le cercle rouge, France-Italy, 1969.      Not free for Vogel, either.   Once becoming a co-producton with Italy meant… Melville was shocked to find that Volonte, a great Italian stage thespian, knew next to nothing about screen acting.
  8. Yves Robert, Le Cinéma de Papa, France, 1970.    For his fourth feature, Claude Berri (actor-turned-director and one of the most successful French producers) had a simple idea: “A son aims to be an actor, but it’s his father who becomes a star.” Hehad wanted his father to play himself. On his death, Berri searched everywhere – fromLouis De Funès to Peter Ustinov – and Reggiani who rejected the idea over lunch in Rome’s Place Del Popolo. (Berri’s mother, Betty Langmann, played his mother in hissixth film, Le Mâle du siècle, 1974; his sister, Arlette, was an editor and scenarist mainly alongsideBerri andher lover, realisateur Maurice Pialat).
  9. Yves Montand, Vincent, Paul, François et les autres, France-Italy, 1974., As an IMDb critic Jean Pierre Patrick put it:  “What a cast! Montand, Piccoli, Reggiani and Depardieu in the same movie, each one with a main role.” All created by the great Claude Sautet – so the women’s roles were just as important. behind the pals in their 50s… “where did it all go?” Reggiani, the first choice  for Vincent, became Paul. Well, he could never have bettered Montand in one of his Top Five roles – two by Sautet.
  10. François Cluzet, L’Enfer (Hell),  1994.   The third teaming of Trintignant and Romy Schneider came to naught… The scenario, then called La jalousie (Jealousy), was being shot in 1964 when Serge Reggiani “fell ill“ – another singer far from  delighted by Henri-Georges Clouzot’s brusque manner of directing, after  Hugues Affray in the La vérité. (The Triuh).  Clouzot (”a terrorist!”) called up JLT, then had a heart attack  cancelling a much  plagued production. Ironically, it  was Marie Trintignant who made it happen some 30 years later. Clouzot’s widow gave her the script and she passed it to Caude Chabrol. He shot it without  Marie but with, in JLT”s old role,  “the extraordinary” Cluzet – JLT’s “son-in-law,” when he lived with Marie and fathered one of her four sons


 Birth year: 1922Death year: 2004Other name: Casting Calls:  8