Edgar Wright

Dominic Monaghan, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2008.  As he told fellow auteur Kevin Smith, Britain’s Wright was given the rôle of Chris Bradley/Bolt, then mutant manipulator of electricity and electronic objects.  “No, no,” said Wright, “I’m not  a good eough actor.”  He should kbnow… but better, surely, than Monaghan.  Birth year:  Death year:  Other name:  Usual …
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Margardethe Von Trotta

Angela Winkler, Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum), West Germany,1975.   Due for the lead, but director Volker Schlöndorff changed his mind, Angela becamer Katharine and Margarethe was given a walk, or trot on. She also co-directed… her first feature. She had  acted in 32 films during 1966-1984 and directed  …
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William A Wellman

1. – Dana Andrews, The Satan Bug, 1964. The legendary, Wild Bill Wellman (83 movies in 38 years) declined the invite from fellow director John Sturges to play General William in the germ warfare thriller.   Birth year: 1896 Death year: 1975 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  1 

Melvyn Van Peebles

Laurence Fishburne, What’s Love Got To Do With It, 1992.  As directors came and went, Melvyn agreed top helm the Tina Turner biopic – and play her terrible husband, Ike Turner.   “No, you’re too handsome,” said the suits. Or was it his publicist.  Or, Ike, himself.  Birth year: 1932 Death year: 2021 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film …
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Francis Ford

Andy Clyde, Abe Lincoln In Illinois, 1939.  John Ford’s elder brother was booked as the stagecoach driver. However, Hopalong Cassidy’s future sidekick, California Carson,  took over the coach and horses.   During 1909-1952, Ford directed 179 films and played, estimates IMDb, 494 screen roles Laurence Naismith, Mogambo, 1953.    Bro John Ford didn’t get his way …
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Jacques Becker

1. – OE Hasse, Les adventures d’Arsène Lupin, France, 1957. The genial French  cinéaste made a test of himself as Kaiser Wilhelm II. “He soon found out,” reported his son, Jean, another applauded realisateur, “that he preferred being  behind the camera.” Jean-Luc Godard, agreat fan, said the titular Robert Lamoureaux looked the spitting image  of …
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Farhan Akhtar

1. – Abhay Deol, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, India, 2007. For her directing debut, Reema Kagti asked her mentor, the Mjumbai auteur Akhtar, to play Aspit.  He was, however, too busy directing Shahrukh Khan as  Don.  Birth year:  Death year:  Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Jules Dassin

1. – George Rigaud, Du rififi chez les femmes (US: Riff Raff Girls), France-Italy, 1959. B-movie relisateur Alex Joffé wanted his Marquis played  by the blacklisted Hollywood auteur (ex-Hitchcock assistant and sometime actor).  Of course, he did. Dassin  had put  the very word, rififi, into cinema language four years before with his classic heist movie, …
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François Truffaut

André Dussollier, Une belle fille comme moi, France, 1972.      Delighted with playing a lead in L’Enfant sauvage four years earlier, the French super-réalisateur Truffaut flirted with the notion of being the sociologist working on a thesis about female criminals. Instead, he gave the Comedie-Francaise newcomer a screen debut. Apart from several voice-overs and …
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Irwin Winkler

1. – Philippe Noiret, ‘Round Midnight, France, 1986.  A cameo scene in the Warner office in Paris was all set  for the film’s producer – until business called him back to New York. Another pal of Bertrand Tavernier filled in.    Birth year:  Death year:  Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Roberto Rossellini

Jean-Pierre Melville, A bout de soufflé, France, 1960.      The Italian director was French criticFrançois Truffaut’s mentor and guest at his marriage to Madeleine Morgenstern and, therefore, first choice in Truffaut’s script as the film-maker being interviewed by wannabe journalist Jean Seberg at the airport. Also in the sequence: with critic André Bazin, Truffaut’s other …
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J Lee Thompson

Jack  MacGowran,  The Exorcist, 1973. Director William Friedkin thought of fellow director Thompson  (ex-actor, playwright and Alfred Hitchcock assistant)  as Ellen Burstyn’s rather hackneyed stage director.  Birth year: 1914 Death year: 2002 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  1 

Michael Polish

1. – Scott Caan, Ocean’s Eleven, 2001. After the Coens and the Wilsons,   a third set of film-making siblings, the identical twin writers, directors, stars of   Twin Falls Idaho – the   20 minutes younger Michael   usually   directs – were not free to become the getaway drivers of   George Clooney’s Danny Ocean.    Birth year:  Death …
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Sydney Pollack

Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights, 1997.   Pollack, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel and Bill Murray were offered the porno film-maker Jack Horner in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit  (Burt Reynolds’ film-maker and Julianne Moore’s porno star being “the parents”),Also seen: Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, who had been …
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Richard Quine

Gil Stratton, Girl Crazy, 1943.     As the August 1939 plan of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell churned into the final MGM teaming of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland., other choices were recast. Such as future director Quine by Broadway’s Stratton.  Birth year: 1920 Death year: 1989 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  1 

Yves Robert

1. – Bernard La Jarrige, Pantalaska, France, 1960. “I can’t do that – it’s for Michel, non?” The response of Robert (and Pierre Mondy) when offered the role of Clergeon. Photographer-turned-realisateur Paul Paviot thought the same. But after making Paviot’s first four shorts, including the Parodie Parade trilogy – and Paciot figured on many more” …
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Leni Riefenstahl

Camilla Horn, Faust – Eine deutsche Volkssage, Germany, 1926.      Before Hollywood called after her triumph in the German film, Die freudlose Gasse (UK/US: Joyless Street), 1924,  Garbo was supposed to play Gretchen for director FW Murnau. Riefenstahl then tried to  win the role. Finally, it became  the screen debut  of  Horn, previously only …
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Serge Moati

Jean-Pierre Léaud, Les quatre cent coups (US: The 400 Blows), France, 1958.     Billed as Henri Moati…   All the kids tested by critic-turned-auteur François  Truffaut  for the lead role of his first feature wound  playing the classmates of  Léaud’s schoolboy hero, the cherished “Antoine Doinel, Antoine Doinel, Antoine  Doinel…”  The Tunis-born Moati carried  on …
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Maurice Pialat

1. – Richard Anconina, Police, France, 1985. Pialat, the French realisateur, withdrew from playing the lawyer role to prevent getting in the way of his actors.    Birth year: 1925 Death year: 2003 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Roman Polanski

Zygmunt Malanowicz, Nóz w wodzie/Knife in the Water, Poland, 1962.    Polanski also intended to star as the young hitchhiker in his   directing debut, until   Jerzy Bossak, head of the Polish film unit Kamera, said he was not attractive enough. Polanski did, though, dub the bass-voiced Malanowicz. The first Polish film nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar …
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Mark Polish

1. – Casey Affleck, Ocean’s Eleven, 2001. The hell with real brothers… to play   Danny Ocean’s getaway drivers. The Wilsons couldn’t make it due to The Royal Tennenbaums… the Coens were also beating looming strikes… and the Polish twins were unavailable    Birth year:  Death year:  Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Stanley Kubrick

1. – Douglas Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968. “I’m afraid. I’m  afraid, Dave…” The script  has two voice-overs: Mission Control and, of course, HAL 9000, the mellifluent, murderous superputer.  And Kubrick played both. “Later on, when he was putting the picture together,” recalled Gary Lockwood, the luckless of his two astronauts, “he went out, …
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Philippe Labro

1. – François Truffaut, L’Enfant sauvage/The Wild Child, France, 1970. Realisateur Truffaut required an unknown to play Dr Itard, educator of the savage child found in a  forest. Labro, the radio-TV-print journalist, sometime film-maker (Sans Mobile apparent, L’Heritier) and best-selling novelist, was considered until the day Truffaut  associate  Suzanne  Schiffman entered Maurice Berbert’s office  at …
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Paul Mazursky

Dennis  Franz,  Dressed To Kill,  l980.    Nothing much went right with director Brian De Palma’s original  planning  –  Liv Ullmann, Sean Connery, Matt Dillon and director pal Mazursky.  In the roles later filled by Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, Keith Gordon and, in a forerunner of  his Hill  Street Blues/Beverly  Hills  Buntz/NYPD Blue cops, Dennis …
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William A Wellman

Fredric March, The Bridges At Toko-Ri, 1954.   In the Paramount frame for William Holden’s boss,  Rear Admiral George Tarrant, were: Walter Abel, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Pidgeon, Spencer Tracy and even director Wild Bill Wellman.   He had seven acting credits, including two narrations.   Birth year: 1896 Death year: 1975 Other name: Wild Bill Wellman Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls: …
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Blake Edwards

1. – Sydney Pollack, The Player, 1992.   When one director could not, as planned, do   fellow director Robert Altman a favour, another   obliged.    Pollack, shanghaied back into acting   in Tootsie by   Dustin   Hoffman,   continued with bits for A to Z – Woody Allen to Robert Zemeckis – before subbing Harvey Keitel in the Kubrick finale, …
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Frank Lloyd

Clark Gable, Mutiny on the Bounty, 1934.   The Scottish actor-turned-director Frank Lloyd bought the rights for $12,000  and promised a great epic from the first two novels of Bernard Nordhoff and James Norman Hall’s trilogy about the 18th Century mutiny, if he (a) directed and (b) played the hero, Fletcher Christian. MGM’s production  genius Irving …
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Budd Boetticher

Eli Wallach, The Two Jakes,  1990.  John  Huston  had been  in Chinatown, so Jack Nicholson tried to win won another veteran director for for the sequel’s wicked tycoon.    Birth year: 1916 Death year: 2001 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Sir Kenneth Branagh

Tom Hulce, Amadeus, 1984.     Originally, a young Branagh (seven years younger than Hulce) was chosen, before Milos Forman  Americanised the major roles. Daniel Day-Lewis, My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985.  Gary Oldman was first choice for Johnny, Kenneth Branagh auditioned but Day-Lewis said: Yes!  Written by Hanif Kureishi, the Stephen Frears classic dissected Margaret Thatcher’s Britain …
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George Cukor

1. – Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man, 1976.  Is it safe – to turn a legendary director  into an actor?  No, just too Jewish to be a Nazi.    Birth year: 1899 Death year: 1983 Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Luc Besson

Jean-Marc Barr, Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue),  France, 1988.  Not satisfied with writing, directing andf photographing, the French wunderkind also considered playing the diving hero.  Well, he was a  deep-sea diver –  which is the how and why of the film in the first place.    Birth year:  Death year:  Other name:  Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls:  0 

Jean-Jacques Beineix

1. – Bernard Giraudeau, L’homme voile, France, 1992.  The French film-maker always identified with at least one character per film.  When realisateur Maroun Bagdai offered him an opportunity to play a doctor  – Beineix had studied at  med school – he backed off. “I’m incapable of acting such a difficult role. Giraudeau is a real …
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