Arnold Schwarzenegger


  1. Timothy Dalton, Sextette, 1976.  “Mae West is coming” screamed the banners  as the 84-year-old finally made a film of  her 1961 stage farce. MGM had the rights in the 70s and announced a mixed cameo bag: Charlton Heston, Elton John David Niven, Laurence Olivier In ’76, Schwarzie refused to be Sir Michael Barrington, “a spy who’s bigger than 007″ – played by a future Bond, who called it “a sort of carnival.” (Critics preferred “pitiful and     embarrassing). Cameos included George Raft who’d suggested Mae for her first movie, Night After Night, 44 years before.  Ken Hughes directed after Irving Rapper quit because poor Mae was too fragile, she could hardly walk or see. “She’d put her hands on her hips but there were no hips. She had faded away.”  Still; tried to seduce all her leading men. Game old stick.

  2. Lou Ferrigno, The Hulk, TV, 1977-1982.    “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…”    Richard Kiel was signed for the signature  line and lotsa green make-up – although producer Kenneth Johnson  wanted an “angrier” red !). He also wanted a bulkier Hulk. Bye-bye Kiel (pleased to escape all the make-up hassles). Hello Arnold… !   No, he was busy Conaning. “You should get Lou!”   They did – and Ted Cassidy (later Charles Napier) to provide the Hulkian growls.

  3. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978.
  4. Richard Gere, American Gigolo, 1979.      Yes, Ah-nold (as well as Harrisn Ford, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone… and even, Chevy Chase!)   were unlikely choices for the titular Julian Kaye. He was given to Gere, taken over by John Travolta, who then walked and Gere jumped bak in. For a character he didn’t know very well, he didn’t own a suit, speak languages or sell his body to rich women. “There’s kind of a gay thing that’s flirting through it and I didn’t know the gay community at all. I wanted to immerse myself in all of that. So I just dove in.” And made a splash.

  5. Sam J Jones, Flash Gordon, 1979.
    Mr Olympia had made just three films, the barely seen
    Hercules in New York, Bob Rafelson’s classy Stay Hungry and the Pumping Iron documentary when his agent, Larry Kubik, finally arranged a meet with mighty producer Dino De Laurentiis. Puzzled by the size of Dino’s massive desk, Arnold couldn’t stop himself spluttering: “Why does a little guy like you need such a big desk?”  Dino stared: “You havva an accent.  I cannot use you. You can-a not-a be Flash Gordon. Flash Gordon is American.”  Arnie replied: “Vot you mean I have accent? Vot about you?”  “This meeting is over!”Mr Agent went bananas “One minute 40 seconds,”he screamed, filling the outside corridor with the F word. “The shortest meeting I’ve ever had with anyproducer because you decided to fuck it up.Do you know how many months it took to get into this fuckingoffice?”Most of Jones’ dialogue as dubbed) and the two accents made up after Conan The Barbarian, although Dino hadn’t wanted Arnie for that, either. . “He’s a Nazi!” “No, Dino,” said director John Milius.“There’s only one Nazi on this team.Me!

  6. Harry Hamlin, Clash of the Titans, 1980.     Chicago critic Roger Ebert called it a Greek mythological retread of Star Wars. Also in the frame for Skywalker – er, Perseus – were Richard Chamberlain and Michael York… even an unknown body-builder. Except producer Charles H Schneer told Schwarzi that Greek heroes (apart from Hercules) were more athletic and cunning than muscle-bound cliches as in the 50s/60s Italian schmepics. – “Perseus is not Hercules!” This did not please Arnold. His inspiration was Hercules, himself. Steve Reeves. Anyway,  Hamlin decided he should work with Laurence Olivier –  rather than Richard Burton in Timespell.  But hey, imagine Olivier (as  Zeus) and Schwarzi in the same movie!
  7. Dan Aykroyd, Neighbours, 1981.      A John Hughes idea:   Arnold and Stallone hellbent on destroying each other with stupid vendettas.
  8. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner, 1981.  UK wiz Ridley Scott spent a long time sniffing out the perfect Deckard.  From top notchers Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (the first choice was keen… on making it a totally different character, of course), Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino…  to such excellent journeymen as William Devane, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Frederic Forrest, Scott Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken.  Martin Sheen was too exhausted after Apocalypse Now. In sheer desperation, choices lowered to Cliff Gorman, Judd Hirsch. Even the Virginian Morgan Paull stood a chance, having played Deckard in Scott’s tests of potential Rachaels. (He was given Holden for his pains). Plus Arnold Schwarzenegger, not yet seen as Conan, much less Terminator.  And for probably the last time in such an illustrious list,  the fading star of Burt Reynolds.
  9. Michael Biehn, The Terminator, 1983.    Director James Cameron loves recounting the phone call he had from Orion boss Mike Medavoy. “He asked if I were sitting down… he had the perfect casting: OJ Simpson as the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Reese. And I’m thinking this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. But I thought Schwarzenegger was pretty cool. ” When they met, Cameron said: “You’re a bulldozer!” And that’s why he became The Terminator. With Biehn (of course) as Reese.

  10. 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).
  11. 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 inThe 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:  Austria’s Schwarzi, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  12. Sam Kamin, Creepshow 2, 1986.   The 21st of Stephen King’s staggering313 screen crediuts. Arnie was in the mix for Stephen King’s creation of Old Chief Wood’nhead. He held back a year or so and then took the lead in the first version of Stephen King’s (or Richard Bachman’s) The Running Man, 1986.  Dorothy Lamour’s appearance in the creepy tale proved to be her final film. (King Kameo: Truck driver – what else?)

  13. Peter Weller, RoboCop, 1986.    The cop as a machine – “the future of law enforcement.”   Blade Runner bred the idea. 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!”), Rutger Hauer, 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 Dutch director Paul 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

  14. André The Giant, The Princess Bride, 1987.     A serious contender for the giant Fezzik in 1975, although scenarist   William Goldman wrote it with André in mind. Co-star Billy Crystal was similarly impressed by The Giant – Crystal’s next scriptwas My Giant, 1998. André has a cameo in Schwarzi’s Conan The Destroyer, 1984.

  15. Robert De Niro, Midnight Run,1987.   There were 23 possibilites for the lean, mean skip-tracer (tracing felons who skipped bail) – on the run from the  FBI and the Mob after capturing Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin.  Who knew De Niro could be more subtle at comedy than… Jeff Bridges, Charles Bronson, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal (!), Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, John Travolta, Jon Voight and even the musclebound Arnie and Sly – Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Director Martin Brest, that’s who.

  16. Kevin Costner, Bull Durham, 1987. Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball? Get outa here. Ball movies don’t sell.”  But his producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad and recognised what Roger Ebert would call a sports movie that knows what it is talking about.- because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Orion stumped up $9m, eight weeks, creative freedom – the cast cut their costs because of the script. For the minor-league veteran, Crash Davis, Shelton  looked at: Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones (he was baseball icon Ty Cobb in Shelton’s Cobb, 1994), Michael Keaton, Stephen Lang, Nick Nolte (more into football), Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell (who worked on the script with Shelton), Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis – and even three foreigners to the game: Aussie Mel Gibson, French Christophe(r) Lambert and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Result: more sports from Shelton (basketball, golf, boxing) and more baseball movies from Hollywood: A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out (with Sheen), Field of Dreams (Costner), Major League  I and II (Berenger and Sheen).  

  17. Roddy Piper, They Live, 1987The pitch was fine:Drifter finds some sunglasses that let him to see that aliens have taken over the Earth. And, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Schwarzie, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis (plus three mere pistols: Brian Bosworth, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Lang).  And the less said about Russell’s wrestler replacement, the better.“Just John Carpenter as usual,” said the Washington Post,  “trying to dig deep with a toy shovel.”

  18. Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987. 
  19. Bruce Willis, Die Hard,1987.  
    Director John McTiernan  had been due  to make Commando 2. When Arnold passed, the script was spun into Die Hard. Arnold passed again.There were 17 possible John McClanes… From MichaelMadsen, Tom Berenger, and top TV heroes Don Johnson and Richard Dean Anderson to A-listers Charles Bronson, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone… and Frank Sinatra?  Yes, well, Roderick Thorpe’s book, Nothing Lasts Forever, sequelised  The Detective  – and  that 1967 film  starred Frank (as Joe Leland,  changed here to  McClane) and so Sinatra  had first dibs on any sequels. At age 73, old Rheumy Blue Eyes wisely passed. Otherwise it could have  been “Dooby-dooby-do”  in place of  “Yippee-ki-yay.”  In his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in.  So it flows… He was soon  taking roles from most of those on the McClane list.

  20. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  21. Mark Harmon, The Presidio, 1988.   The usual old cop-young cop routine but set to a dull military beat in San Francisco’s Presidio Army Base.  Due for Lee Marvin-Jeff Bridges, but Lee fell ill and died.  Gene Hackman-Bridges were not as hot as Sean Connery-Don Johnson – except Don was hog-tied to Miami Vice.  OK, Sean-Kevin Costner – he quit so no Untouchables reunion as the pair finally became Sean-Mark Harmon.  Also up  for the young upstart were 15 others:  Alec Baldwin Michael Biehn, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis, even Europeans Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme None could have saved what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  22. Matt Salinger, Captain America, 1989.  First screen version of the WWII propaganda comicbook hero  – Defender of the Defenceless – since Republic’s 1944 serial (with Dick Purcell), and two  1979 tele-quickies (Rep Brown).  A 1981 Universal plan, sub-headed Sentinel of Liberty, with Jeff Bridges never flew. Nor did Cannon’s 1984 take which UK director Michael Winner never got around to casting (well, not out loud).  Producer Menahem Golan, quit Cannon, started (but not for long) 21st Century Films and brought Cap and Cannon regulars with him: director Albert Pyun, actor Michael Dudikoff, aka American Ninja. But Pyun wanted ex-footballer Howie Long! (“manliest man on the planet,” said Hunter S Thompson). He also saw Brian Bosworth, VaL Kilmer (he quit for The Doors), Dolph Lundgren (did his own frozen hero bit with Universal Soldier). Arnold Schwarzenegger (mitt dat accent), even Richard Thomas fromThe Waltons(Cannon’s earlier choice for Red Skull).  And the winner was…the son of JD Salinger, no less!   Director and star were Cap Am fans as kids. Not evident from this mess. “Pretty difficult to make a film when… we actually had no money in the bank,” said Pyun. (Told you Golan was producing). Designed to coincide with Cap ‘s 50th birthday in 1990 (when Chris Evans was nine),  the film never got a US release until 21 years later to cash in on Marvel showing how it  should be done.
  23. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.        ”Tis the season for cops – he had two own offer… UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars – Schwarzi, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta… and four outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver – all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere. Oh, but he had. Midway to Palookaville. 
  24. Patrick Swayze, Next of Kin, 1989.        Next… ? Country bumpkins v the Mafia. Again. For the hero of his respun Raw Deal, 1985, UK director John Irvin went from The Obvious Aces: Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… to the Tango and Cash possibles: Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kurt Rusell… plus The Also-Rans: Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Quaid. And even French Christopher Lambert, Swedish Dolph Lundgren and Belgian Jean Claude Van Damme… for a Chicago cop!
  25. Dolph Lundgren, Dark Angel, 1989.  One of Lundgren’s better actioners, thanks to Schwarzi being too pricey after Predatorand to director Craig R Baxley, TV’s A Teamstunt chief and Action Jacksonhelmer.  Finally elesased in 1990 as  the US (the land of two previous Dark Angels) as I Come In Peace.  And the poster added: “… and you go in pieces.”

  26. Danny Glover, Predator 2,1990.      
    Producer Joel Silver wanted an Arnie sequel. Arnie warned him off it. The movie would take a major dive,   the director and script were all wrong“  The story was in Los Angeles. Nobody wants to see predators running around downtown LA. We already have predators. Gang warfare is killing people all the time. You don’t need extraterrestrials to make the town dangerous.”He wuz right, The sequel was one of the biggest 1990 bombs, while his Terminator sequel went through global roofs. Schwarzi never worked with Silver again.

  27. Steve Martin, My Blue Heaven, 1990.      Arnie didn’t even reply to the offer to replace his twin Danny De   Vito as a gangster in a witness protection  programme.  
  28. John Heard, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered – including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other potential Pops were Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jeff Daniels, Tony Danza, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Robert Hays, Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Skerritt, Robin Williams… and the inevitable unknowns: Broadway’s Mark Linn-Baker, Canadian musicians-comics  Alan Thicke (“the affordable William Shatner”) and Dave Thomas.
  29. Hulk Hogan, Suburban Commando, 1991.    The deal was simple. Schwarzi and Danny De Vito had a choice – Twins or Commando. They twinned. Hogan and Christopher Lloyd commandoed.
  30. Christophe(r) Lambert, Fortress, 1991. Schwarzi was so keen, he insisted on Stuart Gordon directing  – having loved his  1984 Re-Animator  (which featured his stunt double Peter Kent).  Arnold then c hanged his mind and as Gordon’s budget changed overnight from around $70m to $15m. No one admjitted it but the prison thriller  behaved like Sylvester Stallone’s Lock Up, 1989.

  31. Val Kilmer, Thunderheart, 1991.  UK director Michael Apted’s first  thriller was inspired by 57 unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1970s as The Traditionals fought Tribal government goons…  making Pine Ridge (pop: 1100) the Murder Capitol of the Nation. The only cliche in sight is the usual pairing of old cop-young cop (or FBI agents here), the rest was the usual Apted brilliance.  He shuffled 13 choices for the younger agent, Ray Levoi: Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel, Gibson, Tommy Lee Jons, Michael Keaton, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvster Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis Levoi was 1/4th Sioux. Kilmer (“the most unsung leading man of his generation,” for Chicago critic  Roger Ebert) is 1/8th Cherokee.

  32. Kevin Kline, Dave, 1992.      As the clone of the US President. Long before he ever thought of   being California’s Governor.

  33. Dennis Hopper, Super Mario Brothers, 1992. Wiser than some, Arnold,Kevin Costner and Michael Keaton fled from being King Koopa… in Disney’s flop of the year. Shooting was a bitch. Hopper blew his top about the forever changing script and reportedly raged for almost three hours against the directors, who shall remain nameless.  Hopper’s six-year-old son asked why he’d made the movie.’Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes.” Henry: “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.”
  34. Sam Neill, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  35. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993.  There were 16 possible John McClanes… From top TV heroes  Richard Dean Anderson and Don Johnson to A-listers:  Bronson, Tom Berenger, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone.  And  Frank Sinatra had to be contractually offered the hero; in his 1980 move debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis is seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in.  So it flows…
  36. Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, 1993.  Paging Dr Kimble…   There was a queue answering the call for the film of David Janssen’s 1963-1967 series. Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner (directing as well), Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson (also up for the relentless cop, Gerard), Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte (director Walter Hill’s choice, but Andrew Davis made the movie – the fourth in his home town, Chicago), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve,Arnold Schwarzengger. “The minute Harrison Ford shows up, they drop everything and sign up Harrison Ford,” Baldwiin complained. (It’s called being a star, Alec). Mel Gibson was up for either Kimble or his Javert-like hunter, Lieutenant Gerard – an Oscared gig for Tommy Lee Jones.

  37. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sudden Death, 1994.  Arnold and Sylvester Stallone saw little sense in this blatant Die Hard At The Stanley Cup Final .Even easier for Bruce Willis to refuse – why bother  being McCord when he was McClane again in Die Hard With A Vengeance.

  38. Leo Rossi, Mutant Species, 1994.  Director David A Prior had big ideas – Arnold Schwarzenegger as Lieutenant  Hollinger opposite  Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dee Wallace Stone, Bill Duke and Michael Ironside. The suits cut his cloth to match his  his B-horror flick. However, Prior got his way about  Powers Boothe… and the ex-Captain Marvel,  Jackson Bostwick.
  39. Sylvester Stallone, Judge Dredd, 1994.      Three years before Stallone ruined the 2000 AD comic hero, Schwarzi was due to star for director Tim Hunter.Sly had never heard of the (UK) comic hero. And it showed in the way he mistreated the script. Director Danny Cannon vowed he’d never again work with a Big Name.

  40. Sylvester Stallone, Assassins, 1995.      Wesley Snipes was set with director Joe Johnstone until helmer Richard Donner proved interested – if Arnold would join.   He didn’t.   Sly did.   And Donner stayed. Going to the action… like Sly… once more too often.

  41. Robin Williams, Jumanji, 1995.   Two kids find a jungle board game with magic powers unleashing grotesque animalia and some poor sap trapped inside the game since playing it as a tot. Schwarzie, Dan Aykroyd, Sean Connery, Richard Dreyfuss, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Kevin Kline, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell fled the incoherent script. Williams just gobbled it up. Jumanji, incidentally, is Zulu for “many effects.” And how.
  42. Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1996. Hard to believe but producer Robert Evans, needing to make money again, actually considered Arnie for Simon Templar… Roger Moore played Simon Templar for 118 tele-chapters, stayed with the company making Return of the Saint with Ian Ogilvy and was due for sainthood again as 80s and 90s plans had Moore set to produce a St Pierce Brosnan (!) or be the ageing hero, finding his illegitimate Saint son – nearly Ralph Fiennes for director Sydney Pollack. Final director was Philip Noyce and Moore was out – “first time I was paid not to act in a film” – and junior Saints were in. George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant. Plus a certain James Healey, the Irish-born Aussie who actually rejected Mad Max for its sparse dialogue (!) in 1978, leaving the superstar route clear for Gibson. And finally, horrendously, ego-trippingly, Kilmer. He later admitted to Moore: “We really screwed that up, didn’t we?”

  43. Harrison Ford, Air Force One, 1996.  
    The action-man POTUS was written for Kevin Costner, too busy mailing The Postman. He suggested Harrison Ford and if he passed, a new list included Tom Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones (Bill Clinton’s Havard room-mate), John Malkovich (a wannabe presidential assassin during In The Line of Fire, 1992), Dennis Quaid (brother Randy had played LBJ), Keanu Reeves (at 28?), and ex-California Governor  Schwarzeneger. The current Prez, Bill Clinton, loved the movie; future POTUS Donald Trump was inspired by it – “Harrison Ford on the plane… He stood for America!” Quized on TV about this, Ford turned to the camera and wearily said: “Donald, it was just a movie. Things like this don’t happen in real life.”

  44. John Travolta, Face Off, 1997.    Before it became director John Woo’s best movie, it was   seen as an Arnold project. “They   had a hard time,” laughed Woo, “trying to find someone close enough to his kind of measurements to be the baddy.”
  45.  Laurence Fishburne, Event Horizon, 1996.  The title warned us… In astrophysics, an event horizon is a boundary beyond which events cannot affect any observers.  Exactly!  Arnold, Tommy Lee Jones and Bruce Willis refused the captaincy of the rescue-mission spaceship, Lewis and Clark (!) in director Paul WS Anderson’s The Shining in Space –  studio slashed from 130 (violent) mjnutes to 96.
  46. Bruce Willis, Armageddon, 1997.      Arnold was shortlisted for Harry Stamper – boss  of a deep-core drilling squad  sent by NASA to stop a Texas-sized astronaut hitting  Earth where it hurts. Like, everywhere.
  47. Whoopi Goldberg, Burn Hollywood Burn, 1997.     For the film within the film in his heavy-handed Hollywood”satire,” scenarist Joe Eszterhas wanted a superstar trio:   Arnie, Bruce. Sly. He   wrote to Arnold: “Can we get together and discuss the course of history.” Arnold was not amused.   Whoopi was and told agent Arnold Rifkin: “If I’m not in this movie by the end of   the day, you’re fired.” Of the big trio, only Stallone agreed (thinking the others had!)   to what started   as An Alan Smithee Film… and ended that way, too. For real!
  48. Kevin Sorbo, Kull The Conqueror, 1997.       Or Conan the Conqueror, to his pals.  When Arnold refused to reprise Conan,  the character was suddenly Kull.   For the TV Hercules. “With this axe, I rule!”
  49. Denzel Washington, Fallen, 1997.       Nick Kazan script about a cop hunting a vicious serial killer who proves to be… Satan.
  50. Tommy Lee Jones, Small Soldiers, 1997.      Fans thought it wild that director Joe Dante invited The Dirty Dozen to voice the very GI Joe Commando Elite force – Brick Bazooka, Nick Nitro, etc. Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Clint Walker, George Kennedy and Dick Miller agreed. (Charles Bronson refused and Richard Jaeckel died during the production). Cheered or jeered, it was not Dante’s first plan. He’d wanted the 1986 Predator guys, led by Arnold as Chip Hazard and Carl Weathers as Butch Meathook. For publicity over impact as – Schwarzi and Walker apart – most voices of either squad were not instantly recognisable. Not like real stars.

  51. Christopher McDonald, The Iron Giant, 1998. The character was Mansley, the very mansly BUP agent – Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena – investigating sigthtings of  the 50ft metal-eating robot created by  the  British Poet Laureate  Ted Hughes.  So the antagonism should come from who? Alec Baldwin, Tommy Lee Jones, Burt Reynolds or Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Answer: None of ‘em! The toon’s director, Brad Bird, went for the lesser known McDobnald. Bird went on to make Pixar’s The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Tom’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
  52. F Murray Abraham, Star Trek: Insurrection, 1998.      The ninth Trek… Schwarzie was first offered the Son’a leader, Ahdar Ru’afo, until director (and co-star) Jonathan Frakes realised he needed an actor. “I was around when the series was first introduced to television,” recalled Abraham. “And it was a hoot.”
  53. Oliver Reed, Gladiator, 1999.   Schwarzie was a notion for Antonius Proximo, gladiator coach for the titular Russell Crowe. Then, when shoooting Parting Shots, 1997, Reed furiously announced: “I can’t believe it, Ridley Scott asked me to readfor him. But I’m a star!” Director Michael Winner yelled back, as only Michael WInner could yell.“You’re not a fucking star. You’re out of work, and you’re not old enough to retire, so you need a third act to your career. Obviously, they think if you’re working with me, you can’t be as drunk as people think you are. So go to Ridley and read. End of story, Oliver, and if he wants you to read twice, read twice.”“OK,” said Reed, on signing his contract, “but my life is my own after 5pm.” There were too many 5pms and Reed died three weeks before shooting ended.  Insurance could  cover a new actor, but Scot kept the faith for Reed’s last role, using  body double and  a CGI likeness in his final scenes.
  54. Mark Wahlberg, Planet of the Apes, 2000.      Directors changed over a dozen years: Michael Bay, James Cameron, Chris Columbus, Roland Emmerich, Albert and Allen Hughes, Peter Jackson, Philip Noyce, Sam Raimi, Adam Rifkin, Robert Rodriguez, Chuck Russell…  even Spielberg! …  In 1993, ,Oliver Stone wanted Terry Hayes to write a re-boot for Arnie: Return of the Apes.  Potential  heroes were   Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Matt Damon, Leonardo  DiCaprio, Harrison Ford and   Patrick Swayze.  Finally, Tim Burton tragically miscast Wahlberg in a moronic mess. “It is what it is,” said a disappointed Wahlberg.“ They didn’t have the script right. Fox had a release date before Tim Burton  had shot a foot of film. They were pushing him and pushing him in the wrong direction. You have to let Tim do his thing.” 
  55. Jim Caviezel, The Count of Monte Cristo, 2000.  Who’da thunk it.  Hollywood offers Schwarzi the Alexandre Dumas hero, Edmond Dantes.  He was wise enough not to try and tread in the footsteps of the many who played Dantes Isince 1918!), 54 including  Alan Badel, Richard Chamberlain, Arturo de Córdova, GérardDepardieu, Robert Donat, Hurd Hatfield, Louis Jourdan, Jean Marais, Pierre Richard-Wilm, Jacques Weber… and, inevitably, Gérard Depardieu. And Arnie might possibly, disasterously, mispronounce Count.. So director Kevin Reynolds selected Caviezel (PS I live in Marly-le-Roi, France, within walking distance of the author Alexandre Dumas’ home: Le chateau de Monte Cristo).
  56. Matthew McConaughey, Reign of Fire, 2001.       Who better for Van Dan, the dragon slayer – even if he’s bald. Arnold was involved for some years. But then he must have realised, as Roger Ebert did int he Chicago Sun-Times: “What a vast enterprise has been marshalled in the service of such a minute idea – mankind’s battle with fire-breathing dragons in the year 2020.”
  57. Tom Cruise, Minority Report, 2001.    “Envisioned as a sequel to Total Recall, with a script by the same movie writer, said Arnie in his 2012 autobiography… which managed some text among the ego-trip total of 346  Schwarzi photos!!
  58. Samuel L Jackson, SWAT, 2002.       As directors changed again, this time from Michael Bay to John Woo, Michael Mann to Tony Scott, etc, Arnie was once in the mix as the LAPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics team leader, Sergeant Hondo Harrelson. Impossible. Arnie was suddenly running for Governor of California. The Republican Austrian was elected on October 7, 2003 (again in 2006.), second non-American to win and second actor (after Reagan). First movies since were cameos in Around The World In 80 Days, 2004, and The Kid & I, 2005, with his True Lies co-star Tom Arnold… Until the  real comeback in The Last Stand, 2012, an instant flop. 
  59. Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, 2004.

  60. Denzel Washington, Man on Fire, 2004. 
    Tony Scott backed out of directing the first version in 1986, but helped  Denzel Washington retrieve his lost taste for acting in this re-make.  Sergio Leone chose  Robert De Niro  and Marlon Brando nearly played A J Quinnell’s ex-CIA hero turned mercenary (certainly helped re-write  him) but Scott Glenn won the  role. Tony Scott  had wanted Robert Duvall. The new scriptwriter, Brian Helgeland,  recalled going  into the LA Video Archives store  in the 80s and asking the clerk: “What’s good?” The clerk said:  Man on Fire. The clerk was Quentin Tarantino.  In both films Creasy  is trying to rescue a kidnapped girl, almost a daughter to him, that  he’s bodyguarding.  Yeah, rather like a matrix for Liam Neeson’s Takens. So no surprise to find Liam among some 25 actors up for Creasy. Alec Baldwin, Sean Bean (a nearly 007),  Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Viggo Mortensen,  Gary Oldman, Dennis Quaid, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Kurt Russell,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis…  even our dear old  Bob Hoskins.  Creasy was later Bollywooded by the inimitable  Amitabh Bachchan (at age  63!). There were three songs, of course!

  61. Will Ferrell, Curious George, 2006.    Arnold was (curiously) first choice when the project was to be live action in 1993.  Ferrell voiced The Man in the Yellow Hat in the toon version, something The Governator could have recorded without leaving his Sacremento office.
  62. Will Smith,  I Am Legend, 2007.    During the 30-year history of Warners and the Richard Matheson sf novel (two films – one Italian – ten directors), potentials for the last man on earth also includedNicolas Cage (with X-Files director Rob Bowman), Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lews, Michael Douglas. The inevitable outsider was Ted Levine and poor Kurt Russell lost out  with the 1998 flop of Soldier.  Will Smith didn’t seem that keen on Richard Matheson’s story.  He was due to make it in 2002, but chose Bad Boys II, insteadstory. Ridley Scott was happy with Arnie in 1976. The budget was not. Ridley required a $100m, Warner wanted $80m. “That was the reason the studio gave for pulling back, anyway,” said Arnold. “The real reason was my heart surgery.”  Various other projects evaporated around the same time – With Wings As Eagles. Noble Father, Crossbow, Pathfinder, even Terminator 3 – as the phones stopped ringing whenhis surgery was revealed.
  63. Til Schweiger, Inglourious Basterds, 2008.      On an early wish list for Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz (named after the Mexican star of more than 250 mainy B-moivies) in Quentin Tarantino’s Wild Bunch take on The Dirty Dozen.  Alongside Sylvester Stallone as Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raine and Bruce Willis as Sergeant Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz –  father, in the Tarantinoverse,  of film producer  Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek)  in QT’s 1992 True Romance  script.
  64. Billy Crudup, Watchmen, 2008.  Producer Joel Silver’s ideas – Arnold or Dolph Lundregen as the all blue Dr Manhattan – hardly delighted director Terry Gilliam. Not at all. In 1989-1990, he considered the only answer was a five-hour mini-series. Dolph Lundgren and Keanu Reeves were also in the blue loop, while Arnold was plotting his return… As he put it: “Some people say Arnold was gone from acting for eight years. Others say he was never in acting in the first place!”
  65. Bruce Willis, The Expendables, 2009.       For his vast testosterone actioner, Sylvester Stallone wanted Arnie aboard – as the  McGuffin  man, the guy with the laundry list, setting out the mission for Sly’s mercenaries. Schwarzi could not spare that amount of time – and simply joined Sly and Willis is a memorable one-time only screen meeting. As he left the scene, Willis asked Sly: “What’s his fuckin’ problem?” –  “He wants to be president.”
  66. Dwayne Johnson, Tooth Fairy, 2009.    As far back as 1992, this was a Schwarzi vehicle – as a tough hockey player sentenced to one week as the titular fairy.  Oh, don’t  ask… Just enjoy the one good line (Arnie would have blown it: “You can’t handle the tooth!”

  67. Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2011.
    Some of the names – and heights – up for Lee Child’s craggy ex-military cop-cum-Sherlock-homeless  were absurd.  Jim Carrey, for example. Jim Carrey!  Some 25 others  were Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes,  Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Hugh Wolverine Jackman, Dwayne Johnson (“I look back in gratitude that I didn’t get Jack Reacher”),  Avatar’s Stephen Lang, Dolph Lundgren, Edward Norton, Ron (Hellboy) Perlman, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (he became John Wick x 5),  Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vince Vaughn, Denzel Washington and the battle-fatigued  Bruce Willis.  Any of them would have been more acceptable than Tom Cruise  – with the exception of Carrey, Depp, Elwes, Reeves and, obviously the Euros. Pitt was best of the pack (remember Fight Club?)… although no one even thought of the obvious choice –   Liam Neeson!  Reacher fans were livid about  the 5ft 5ins Cruise daring to be  the  6ft 5ins  action hero. Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s capitulation over  tiny Tom as her “very tall” Lestat in  Interview With The Vampire, in 1994, author Lee Child declared: “Reacher’s size is a metaphor for an unstoppable force – which Cruise portrays in his own way.” Ah! But then in 2018, after the sequel, Child changed his tune about his child. (They share the same birthday, October 29).  ”Ultimately, the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is… So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom CruiseWe’re rebooting,  we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.” And they did with 6ft. 2ins Alan Richtson – Aquaman in Smallville and Hawk in Supergirl and Titans – for the Amazon series.

  68. Ed Harris, Westworld, TV, 2015.   Back in 2004. California’s new Governor had no time for movies. Not even the Michael Crichton futuristic thriller he first saw in 1973 “and wanted to remake it for several years.” Sylvester Stallone took over the re-tread. Still nothing happened… The (second) TV series took off in 2016 (the first was cancelled) with Harris as the iconic, robotic gunslinger in a theme park. (Yeah, you’re right… Crichton also wrote Jurassic Park!)
  69. Kurt Russell, Guardians of the Glaxy Vol. 2, 2016.    Aged between Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow’s 87 and Matthew McConaughey’s 47,  fifteen actors were Marveled about for Ego, father of Chris Pratt’s hero, Peter Quill aka Star Lord.  The others in the  loop were Schwarzi, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson, Stephen Lang, Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Christoph Waltz and Bruce Willis.
  70. Ed Harris, Westworld, TV, 2016-2022.  As Governator Arnie  sas completing  his 2203-2011 spell of running California, he was offerered  the choice of choice of two movies for his cinema comeback. The long gestating Cry Macho – and a Westworld re-make.  He chose Macho but never made it.  (Clint Eastwood did.  Who else fitted that title).  like that). And Westworld sequel never happened as it was churned into a TV series that  never seemed to know where it was headed. Thje cool  Ed H
  71. Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2, 2017.   With Ryan Reynolds reigning supreme as the wise-cracking, cancer-ridden, super smart-ass hero, who could oppose him as Cable, the heftily armed cyborg? (“You’re dark – sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” our Marvel hero asks him). Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld wanted Russell Crowe – and even after Brolin signed, pushed for Jon Hamm. Other Mr Impregnable ideas included Alec Baldwin, Pierce Brosnan, David Harbour, Stephen Lang, Brad Pitt (he shot his Vanisher cameo in two hours), Michael Shannon and the wrinkly brigade (yawn) Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Ron Perlman, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schawarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.Already Marvel’s villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Brolin had a four-film deal, to reveal more about Cable and, doubtless, extra gags about his stepmother Barbra Streisand’s 1982 Yentl.
  72. Clint Eastwood, Cry Macho, 2020.  
    Clint (“a national icon,” said Spielberg) delivered his usual producer-director-star magic.  And wrote one of the musical themes –  Time Lapse. Perfect title for the on-off history of N Richard Nash’s 70s’ script and novel (in that order) about Mike Milo, a damaged rodeo champ rescuing his former boss’estranged young son from Mexico. Yes, similar to A Night in Old Mexico, 2012, with Robert Duvall; and indeed to a more  gentle Japanese film I always felt Clint should have re-tooled, Takeshi Kitano’s   Kikujirô no natsu – with the worst  theme music in movie history.  (Nothing new.  A Fistful   of Dollarsderived  from the1960  Japanese Yojimbo).  Milo was a role made for Clint…. even if it was once aimed at Burt Lancaster, even Pierce Brosnan.   It took Clint and  co-producer Albert S Ruddy (The Godfather, no less!)  several decades  to finally make  it  – when they were both aged 91. Their struggle went thisaway…  1998: Ruddy first offered Milo to Eastwood. “I’m too young,” Not quite, Clint was 58, the novel’s Milo, 38.   He Dirty Harried in  Dead Pool instead but agreed to  direct Macho with, why not, Robert Mitchum. “But it went by the wayside.” 1991: Production actually began wih Roy Scheider and… stopped. 2003:  Arnold Schwarzenegger chose  Milo for his comeback after governating California, except the was re-elected until 2011. 2022: “I always thought I’d go back and look at that.,”: said Clint. “It was something I had to grow into.” To tune up the old script, he contacted Nick Schenk, scenarist of his Gran Torino and The Mule (and it shows!).  A happy Ruddy spoke for us all. “Clint  is the essence of the American hero, of all the things we think we all are, or would like to be.”