Terence Stamp

1. –  Dean Stockwell, Sons and Lovers, 1960.      Terry had been acting “for ten minutes”   in a UK tour of The Long, The Short and The Tall with new pal Michael Caine,   when his agent sent him to director Jack Cardiff. “He was courteous but didn’t snap me up instantly. I was sure I’d get recalled. Didn’t happen.”

2. –  Jeremy Spenser, The Roman Spring   of Mrs Stone, 1961.    Three young Brits were seen for The Young Man. As it turned out, Spenser was a year older than Oliver Reed and Terence Stamp.  Olly had won his first credited role in The Rebel five months earlier while Terry had to wait another year for his big break (and first Oscar nomination), Billy Budd. Meanwhile, Spenser had already completed the rare double for such youngster of acting opposite Vivien Leigh (Mrs Stone) as Anna Karenina in 1947 (at age 10) ) and with her illustrious husband, Laurence Olivier in The Prince  and the Showgirl, in 1956. The girl being… Marilyn Monroe. (Beat that, you guys!).

3. –  Alfred Lynch, West 11, 1963.     Exiled US director Joseph Losey chose Stamp-Claudia Cardinale in 1961. Next helmer, Michael Winner, voted Sean Connery-Julie Christie in ’62. Veteoed in both cases by   London producer Danny Angel. He hated the kitchen sink scenario and decided that Winner’s choices were B-movie players!    The couple he foisted upon Winner – which made the director produce all his future films – were barely heard of again.

4. –  Todd Armstrong, Jason and the Argonauts, 1963.    “Discovering” him for Billy Budd, actor-writer-director Peter Ustinov cautioned Terry about degrading his talent. “Maybe I took   his advice a bit too far – I became a bit specious. I’ve done the rubbish but mainly because I’ve been short of bread. And I’m always short of that.” Armstrong was way  too Missouri  for the role, so he was  dubbed by Tim Turner, the voice of Dr Peter Brady, aka TV’s Invisible Man, 1958-1960. . And I headlined my story about this:  Not On  His Todd. 

5. – James Franciscus, Youngblood Hawke, 1964.      Truck driver makes good as a novelist… Warren Beatty needed money and beat singer Bobby Darin, Stamp (at 26 a year younger than Beatty) and the too old (36) George Peppard and Stuart Whitman to a mediocre Warners quickie based on Herman Wouk’s book. Beatty just never signed any contract. And so, Jack Warner canned him and slashed the budget – from colour to monochrome. And never forgave… “Warner Beaker”!


  (Clic to enlarge)  

* Terry muffed it. He played the Cockney Casanova on Broadway. But Broadway didn’t like it or him… or both.  So, his Michael Caine,  became Alfie Jenks, 1965.  Not, as you might suppose because Stamp suggested his London flat-mate  – but because  director Lewis Gilbert’s son did. Wheels within wheels… .



6. –    Michael Caine, Alfie, 1966.      “I love that subject so much I’ll do it for nothing!”  Music to Paramount’s ear. Yet director Lewis Gilbert felt Stamp too young.   “If you do the play in New York – and it’s successful – you can do the film.” Broadway proved a disaster – the play opened and closed within hours in December 1964. Gilbert’s son knew Stamp’s flatmate. That’s how Caine won the film after being rejected for the West End play.  Laurence Harvey had also been in the mix. Wrongfully. (As per usual).

7. – Franco Nero,, Camelot, 1966.  

“I’m not sure how other actors are, but certain things that I passed on or lost or gave up for the wrong reason, come back to me.  Camelot more than all the others. It’s the one decision that I truly regret, not playing King Arthur. [Director] Josh Logan went down on his knees in a restaurant called the Trattoria Terrazza, begging me. And I was just so frightened, I believed I could never sing it. I was young and I thought if I do this and I’m re-voiced, my career’s over – probably not true, but still. And then the film came out and I thought: I could’ve done it as good as Richard, that’s for sure – it wasn’t like Mario Lanza.” His rivals for the randy French knight Lancelot (chasing King Arthur’s missus) ranged from Peter O’Toole (later suggested as Arthur) to the  much  lesser known James Beckett and Barry Justice.  The studio ten wanted  real French star when both John Huston and the new Arthur, Richard Harris, recommended Italy’s Nero from their Bible: In the Beginning epic. Nero immediately fell for and wed the leading lady, Vanessa Redgrave. Now…  CUT to 46 years later, and finally Stamp joined (indeed, wed) Vanessa Redgrave, his intended Queen Guinevere in ’66, in Song For Marion (US: Unfinished Song), 2011 – where he had to sing, albeit in a choir.  “Destiny was giving me a second go. Am I going to turn this down and regret it for the next ten years? So I just jumped into the void.”

8. –  Oskar Werner, Fahrenheit 451, 1966.  Who should the nouvelle vague icon  François Truffaut choose to be Ray Bradbury’s fireman, Montag? Charles Aznavour star of his second feature, or  Oskar Werner, a new global star due to Truffaut’s Jules et Jim?  He also contacted Warren Beatty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marlon Brando, Montgomey Clift, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole – and even signed Terence Stamp (who he also wanted for Bonnie and Clyde!),, before making the mistake of his life and giving the fireman to Werner, originally booked as Montag’s boss. Any of the others asleep would have better. As if Truffaut did not have enough to contend with – his first film in colour and in English – he found  Werner had turned prima donna, his head enlarged by his Hollywood debut, Ship of Fools. He was jealous that Julie Christie had a double role and he did not,, he argued constantly over (his dull) interpretation, refused one “dangerous” scene  (as if a fireman would not have to deal with fire),  even deliberately cut his  hair to ruin continuity. If Truffaut  hadn’t spent  six years planning the film, he would have walked. Ran!  Instead, he simply truncated Werner’s later scenes – and  used a double, John Ketteringham,  in most of them!

9.  –  Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.

10 –  David Hemmings, Blow Up, 1966.      Being fired after nine months’ preparation “was a cold shock and hard to take.” At first, the highly intellectual Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni told Hemmings: “You look too old. No, you look too young,”“He changed my life,” David told me in London. “He taught me to look at life,at acting, at everything, in a different way.”

11 – Charles Bronson, C’era una volta il west/Once Upon A Time in the West, Italy-US, 1968.    Now this is a(nother)  turn up for the books…  Quelle surprise!   First, we’ve learned that Jean-Paul Belmondo was on Sergio Leone’s list for Harmonica – now it appears that Terry Stamp was there, as well. (With Warren Beatty, James Coburn, and, well obviously, Clint Eastwood). Apparently, Leone had not seen Terry’s one and only Western – when he replaced Robert Redford in 1967 as Blue… aka   A Dog’s Breakfast.

12 –   Peter McEnery, Meglio vedova/Better A Widow, Italy, 1968.     Stamp turned down $350,000 because of a conflicting film.  “When I was about 3 1/2 my mother took me to see a movie called Beau Geste with Gary Cooper, and I just wanted to be him. My whole life I just wanted to be like Coop. And he was a dresser; he was magnificent… Later I found a shoemaker who had made Rudolph Valentino’s boots in Blood and Sand, and he was Coop’s shoemaker, and I said : You shod Coop? Measure me up!”

13 –    Martin Potter, Fellini Satyricon, Italy, 1969.  Looking as if they’d just sprang  free from Hair, the British Potter and AmericannHiram Keller were chosen by Fellini to be Encolpio and Ascilto, student pals on the  razzle in first century Rome.  He had wanted Terence Stamp (from his 1967 Toby Dammit) and  Zeffirelli favourite Michael York. When they were  unavailable, he decided on unknowns. Yes, maestro, said Rome’s media, “but  why not Italian unknowns and, anyway, why so many  foreigners in the film?  “Because,” said Fellini, “there are no Italian homosexuals.”!

14. –    Sean Connery, Diamonds Are Forever, 1971.

15 –    Hywel Bennett, Loot, 1971.      Ex-TV director Silvio Narizzano’s plan after Blue, the Hollywood Western that shot itself (and Stamp) in the foot in ’68.

16 –    Rod Taylor, The Deadly Trackers, 1973.     When veteran US director Samuel Fuller planned it as Riata. Terry had done his Western, crassly taking over from a fleeing Robert Redford in Blue, 1968.

17 –  Joe Dallesandro, Black Moon, France, 1975.      As if he’d never been bedding all sexes in Teorema,Stamp was “afraid or worried” about being the  incestuous brother  of Alexandra Stewart (Truffaut wanted her as Bonnie oppoisite Stamp’s Clyde) in cineaste Louis Malle’s surrealistic Alice In Wonderland.Hence, the Andy Warhol superstar. “One of the most surprising casting decisions of my life,” said Malle.

18 –  Simon Duttton, Memed, My Hawk, 1983.     Producer Darryl Zanuck asked Peter Ustinov to direct Turkish actor Yashar Kemal’s award-winning novel in 1963 – more of an Anatolian Robin Hood, circa 1929, than Billy Budd revisited.

19 –  Peter Firth, Lifeforce, 1984.    

20 –  Steven Berkoff, Under The Cherry Moon, 1986.     Probably his career’s lowest ebb – being rejected by Prince. “He had these booties with high heels on. I loved it.”


21 –   Ray Davies, Absolute Beginners, 1986.     He could not have saved it.  Davies was the front-man of The Kinks, and wrote one of the archetypal 60s’ songs, Waterloo Sunset – with a line about when Terry meets Julie,referring to Stamp and his one-time lover Julie Christie.  Davis then denied it. “But my brother Chris [manager of The Who] told me that Ray told him that when he wrote those lines he was picturing Julie Christie and myself. In the headlines, we were like the young people of the day. So I was very flattered by that.”

22 –  Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, France-Italy-West Germany, 1986.      Réalisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud was not keen on 007 as Umberto Eco’s medieval monk turned detective.  Columia Pictures even refused financing if Connery was involved as his post-Bond star was imploding. Naturally, Brando topped Annaud’s further 14 ideas. Five Americans: Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Frederic Forrest, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Roy Scheider; four Brits: Stamp, Michael Caine, Albert Finney, Ian McKellen; two Canadians: Christophert Plummer and  Donald Sutherland; plus the French Yves Montand, Irish Richard Harris and Italian Vittorio Gassman. Connery’s reading was the best and his career exploded anew. Two years later, he won his support Oscar for The Untouchables.

23 –    Rutger Hauer, The Hitcher, 1986.     Sam Elliott and Terry were offered the murderous John Ryder. C Thomas Howell  admitted that he was actually afraid of Hauer’s intensity on and off the set.

24 –    Tim Roth, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, 1990.      UK director John Boorman’s lovely idea of ex-flatmates Michael Caine and Terry Stamp as the titular duo moved to the next generation 20 years later: GaryOldman and Roth.

25 –    Jonathan Cecil, RPM, 1997.       Tarantino compadre Roger Avary wrote the script – for Stamp,Daniel Auteuil, Yun-Fat Chow, Matt Dillon, Tcheky Karyo, Nastassja Kinski, Dolph Lundgren, Vanessa Paradis, Tom Savini – and Avary’s Killing Zoe stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade andEric Stoltz.Hethen decided against directing. The producer hired Ian Sharp“and the two guys who did Grumpier Old Men [!?!] to rewrite my script.”Actually, Donald Cammell (using the pseudonym Franklin Brauner), helped out in the year before he died.Avary removed his name from the ensuing mess.

26 – Ian McKellen, X-Men quartet, 1999-2013.    “Mankind has always feared what it doesn’t understand.” Producer James Cameron and his then wife, director Kathryn Bigelow, chose Christopher Lee for Eric Lensherr/Magneto in the early 90s – and never made the film!   For his take, director Bryan Singer met with (the too busy) David Hemblen, Magneto’s TV toon and video-game voice;  and Stamp (much loved for his General Zod in Superman) for either Magneto or Professor X… before choosing  his Apt Pupil  star…

27 – Patrick Stewart, X-Men,1999.  … and Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier/ Professor X.  “Mankind is not evil, just… uninformed…”  Singer got on well with Stamp.  ”We spent a couple of hours talking about my favorite films… Superman, Wall Street…  I almost asked him to give me a ‘Kneel before Zod!’ So that was where for me it began, loving him as an actor, but also knowing that he had a delightful personality…” Singer called him again to join Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, 2008.

28 –   Keith David, Mr & Mrs Smith, 2005.    Terry and Jacqueline Bisset were the big villainsfor the climax – what else are true Brits for in LA? The ending was dropped – and a second one shot with Angela Bassett and Keith David. That, too, was sliced.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  28