Bob Hoskins


  1. Michael Kilgarrif, Camelot, 1966    As stars like Brando, Burton, O’Toole, Julie Christie, Marianne Faithfull, Elizabeth Taylor and Terence Stamp were chased for King Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, the less illustrious Hoskins, and Reg Whitehead, were up for a seat at the Round Table as Sir Paul. 

  2. Robert De Niro, The Untouchables, l987. 
    Easiest $200,000 I never earned!”laughed Hoskins.    Marlon  Brando had refused to be Al Capone. “Brian De Palma was really quite straight with me:  ‘I really want De  Niro.  But if he doesn’t do work in Chicago…’ The money was good, so I said: Yes. I had no contract or anything.” While waiting for  De Niro to make up his mind, all Capone scenes were switched to the end of the schedule. De Niro had  always wanted to play Capone. “I’ve never seen it done the way it should be done. Capone wasn’t just pure evil. He had to be a politician, an administrator, he had to have something other than fear.  He must have had  a certain crazy charm.” (Funny he didn’t play it that way). What surprised Hoskins was De Palma insisting on paying him.  “I called him up to ask if he had any other movies he didn’t want me in. If all acting was like that I might  have started earlier!”  Rod Steiger was  not alone in  noticing how De Niro “did such a carbon copy” of his 1958 Capone. “I suppose it’s all some sort of compliment. But Marlon Brando and I created our characters from scratch, from the ground up… not to go to other actors for our ideas.  We attempted originality.”

  3. Martin Kemp, The Krays, 1990.     He’d played Ronnie Kray on stage and was offered Reggie opposite Robert Duvall in1989.  Finally, the Krays were played bythe Kemps, brothers Gary and Martin, heads of theSpandau Ballet band.
  4. Alun Armstrong, American Friends, 1990.     An early thought from the film’s writer-star Michael Palin for Dr Weeks, one of the snobby Fellows of Oxford University. The tale and Palin’s Oxford don clergyman were based on his great-grandfather.
  5. Joe Pesci, Home Alone, 1990.    It was so patently obvious that the kid of the hour – Macauley Culkin – was going to steal everything but the cinema seats that most of The Names avoided the burglar clown called Harry Lime, more of a fourth Stooge than Orson Welles. Those refusing to be second banana to a moppet included Hoskins, Rowan Atkinson, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Christopher Lloyd, Jon Lovitz and two musical Brits: Phil Collins and Dudley Moore. ”Hardest thing fior Pesci,”  said cinematographer Julio Macat, “was not swearing! “ 
  6. Vincent Guastaferro, Homicide, 1991.    Named in David Mamet’s first announcement for the film that opened the 1991 Cannes festival with one helluva… wimper.
  7. George Dzundza, The Butcher’s Wife, 1991.   When planned with Dennis Quaid-Meg Ryan before morphing into Demi Moore-Jeff Daniels.
  8. Danny Aiello, Ruby,1991.    Third time unlucky. After The Long GoodFriday and The Honorary Consul, Bob was on a Hook when his mate John Mackenize called. “Although he’s six inches too tall, Danny was right in every other way. His background gave him all the qualities heneededto play Jack Ruby – he knew the guy, he knew the street from where he sprang.”
  9. Bob Peck, Jurassic Park, 1992.
  10. John Goodman, The Borrowers, 1996.    The delicious villain, Ocious P Potter,  was not in the 1952 Marty Norton  book that Peter Sellers tried to film in 1964.  So he would have been Pod, the four-inch-high patriarch  of the tiny Clock family living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans”.  Three versions had already been hits  when this Anglo–American version was launched. The battle for Ocious was, therefore, UK v US…   Martin Clunes, Bob Hoskins, Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Rickman versus  Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray,  Ed O’Neill, Robin Williams.  The fact that Pesci was also suggested signaled a ton of Home Alone physical attacks on poor Goodman, which out off both Steven Spielberg and his apprentice, Robert Zemeckis, from directing.  They weren’t required!  Nor were Rowan Atkinson and comic-turned-director Mel Smith – off busily making their own Bean movie for the same UK/US companies.

  11. Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine, Australia, 1995.    Aussie director Scott Hicks’ first choice for classic pianist  David Helfgott’s Polish father –  a Holocaust survivor, unlike so many of his family –  was  Londoner Hoskins. He passed and Hicks moved on  to the  busy Prussian star of… Momo, Amerika, Music Box, Avalon, Kafka, The House of the Spirits, etc., etc…  140 credits in 59 years.
  12. Christopher Walken, Touch, 1997.     Paul Schrader v Elmore Leonard. And Leonard lost. The Hoskins-Tim Robbins team was axed because, said Schrader, “you can’t put them together, they’re working off the same source.”You mean, like, Elmore Leonard?
  13. Charles Fleischer, Balto: Wolf Quest, 2001.       Hoskins voiced Boris Goosnivov opposite Kevin Bacon’s Balto in the first (1994) of three Universal toon features abut Alaska’s 1920s famous half-wolf – and whole hero. Fleischer stayed on for Balto III : Winds of Change, 2004. Hoskins and Fleischer had co-starred in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1987.
  14. Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, 2003.     First moves to switch Spidey from comicbooks and TV to the movieswas made by the execrable Cannon Films for director Albert Pyun and a $6m budget – with Hoskins as Dr Octopus opposite Scott Leval’s superhero. Then, Cannon deep-sixed! Doc Ockwas played in 2003 by another Brit. And in the 2011 re-boot, Spidey, himself, was British: Andrew Garfield.
  15. Alan Alda, The Aviator, 2004.    Considered for Senator Ralph Owen Brewster…after his portraits of Beria, Sir Pitt Crawley, J Edgar Hoover, Iago, Khrushchev
,Eddie Mannix, Micawber, Mussolini, Noriega, Pope John XXIII, Sancho Panza and Soho’s Windmill Theatre legend, Vivian Vam Damme.
  16. 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 Stall0ne, 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!

  17. Jim Broadbent, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2008.    He was on the list for Professsor Horace Slughorn, but Jim fixed it and made this sixth (and the next two) of eight movies based on the JK Rowling books.  On his death, his Mona Lisa producer Stephen Woolley  said: “Bob re-set the dial for all the other actors to follow, from Tim Roth to Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels to Gary Oldman. Bob’s performances breathed real life and vitality, pathos and humour, and always came from a place of reality.”
  18. James Cromwell, Big Hero 6, 2014.    Six super heroes. So they naturally require one super-nemesis. Who better than (the masked) Robert Callaghan, head of a robotics at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. The voicing gig for Disney’s first Marvel subject –  after The Big Buy-Out but before Kevin Feige created the  Marvelverse, and  winning the best animation Oscar – was aimed at Jason Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, Danny De Vito, John Goodman, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Michael Keaton, John Malkovich, Eddie Murphy, Jack  Nicholson, Gary Oldman, Joe Pesci, JK Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor….plus the great Gilbert Gottfried, putting the rest to shame by scoring 179 screen roles in 41 years!   They all made way for Cromwell. Ten years earlier, he had created the I, Robot called Sonny, played by Alan Tudyk… here playing Cromwell’s arch rival, Alistair Krei.  

                                                                                      Tribute >>>>   
    On his death, his Mona Lisa producer Stephen Woolley said: “Bob re-set the dial for all the other actors to follow, from Tim Roth to Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels to Gary Oldman. Bob’s performances breathed real life and vitality, pathos and humour, and always came from a place of reality.”



 Birth year: 1942Death year: 2014Other name: Casting Calls:  18