Charlton Heston


  1. Dewey Martin, The Big Sky, 1951.  The only time Howard Hawks ever envisaged Brando for a film was for AB Guthrie Jr’s Western “love story” of Boone Caudill  and the older Jim Deakins. The Silver Fox mused upon Brando in either role opposite Sydney Chaplin, Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum or, more explosively, Montgomery  Clift (!). Marlon was too expensive (at $125,00) and Hawks slid downwards into Kirk Douglas and Dewey Martin… who sounded like a Donald Duck nephew.
  2. Gary Cooper, High Noon, 1951.  Carl Forman created Marshal Will Kane for Henry Fonda – passed over by the suits  on being grey-listed for his politics. “Not for me,” said Heston, Marlon Brando, Montgomerty Clift, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne… Gregory Peck found it too similar to his previous Gunfighter(!).  And Kirk Douglas came thisclose to being Kane with Lola Albright as the missus. Cooper was keener.  He even cut his fee to wear the tin star – and win the Oscar on March 19, 1953. And a life-long friendship with the ex-blacklisted Forman, who fled to London and…  The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Key, The Guns of Navarone, The Victors, Mackenna’s Gold, Young Winston. 
  3. Marlon Brando, Julius Caesar, 1953.     MGM’s Front Office voted Leo Genn,  taciturnly impressive in Quo Vadis, or Heston, a 1948 Mark Antony at 25 in a $11,000 version in 16mm.  And three years away from Moses…  Brando had never played Shakespre before – nor since.
  4. William Holden, Stalag 17, 1953.      Holden  said that the only time he was Billy Wilder’s first choice  for any film was for What  A Life, 1939.  Certainly, this was  penned for Heston. But as Sefton became more cynical that, to Wilder, meant Holden. He hated it and was forced by his studio into…winning his Oscar. His acceptance speech was the shortest in Academy history: “Thank you!”
  5. Robert Wagner, Broken Lance, 1954.     Ranald MacDougallhad written his “Cain and Abel on a mountain” forHeston as the younger brother.But not forSpencer Tracy as the impossibly 30 years older bother! He looked more like the kid’s grandpa. For the scenarist,the outcome ofthe primal contest between simple good and simple evil would have been more in doubt with a stronger man. “With Wagner, I felt that the younger man would emerge as being petulant rather than powerfully evil.”
  6. Richard Burton, Alexander The Great, 1955.      One epic – The Ten Commandments – in a year was enough. “Alexander is the easiest kind of movie to do badly. I thought it overlong… Burton lacks the dimension of heroism.” Burton hated the epic so much he almost refused another one. Cleopatra. In short, the Burtons might never have happened!
  7. Robert  Stack,  Written  on  the  Wind, 1956.   “I was right…” says the Hollywood star most honest about listing all his rejections (or 95% of them) in his diary,  published as The Actor’s Life, 1976.
  8. James Dean, Giant, 1955.
  9. Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory, 1957.    “Partly to do Touch of Evil – Orson is impossible to resist.”
  10. Jeff Chandler, Jeanne Eagles, 1957.     Not attracted…

  11. Christopher Plummer, Winds Across The Erverglades, 1957.     Director Nicholas Ray, his star, Burl Ives, and their producersargued over Plummer.Possible substitutes:Heston, Ben Gazzara, even Paul Newman. Ray, however,kept the faith. More than scenarist-producer Budd Schulberg did, taking over the final days of shooting and subsequentediting fromthe (equally) alcoholic helmer. Warners released film in 1958, despite it being incomplete.
  12. James Garner, Darby’s Rangers, 1958.    Sacked!  By Jack Warner when learning  Heston’s agent, Herman Citron, had won him 5% of the gross. His $250,000  law- suit was settled (hardly from the thin profits)  in 1959.  Garner  made  the  film  and suffered – financially. After Sayonara with Marlon Brando and the Maverick pilot, “they told me I was such a good guy that they wanted to give me a raise.”  He was getting $250 a week,  soon to be $350 – plus a further 18 months on the end of his seven-year contract.  With a pregnant wife and a young daughter just out of  hospital with polio, he was bumped up to $500  a week.  “Well, on Monday morning,  I found out  I’d been given Heston’s starring  role…  OK,  the sons of bitches got to me!”
  13. Tony Curtis, The Vikings, 1958.     “Foreign locations!”
  14. Raymond Massey, The Naked and The Dead, 1958.     “What the hell do I want to play another general for after Jackson?”
  15. Kirk Douglas,  Last Train From Gun Hill, 1958..   Producer Hal Wallis wanted Heston or Burt Lancaster or Charlton Heston in yet another High Noon riff. As a lone and distraught US Marshall attempts to arrest  the son of his friend (eventually Anthony Quinn) for raping the lawman’s Indian wife.  Previous titles included Last Train from Harper’s Junction…. from Laredofrom Marly-le-Roi – no, I jest.  I think.
  16. Stephen Boyd,  Ben-Hur, 1958.    Sword and sandal epics were in.  And producer Sam Zimbalist, who’d made one of the biggest – Quo Vadis, 1950 –  was back in Rome, re-making the 1923 silent Ben-Hur.  (Sergio Leone claimed he directed the stunning chariot race. He did not). Losing Messala were Kirk Douglas (now you know why he became  Spartacus), Charlton Heston (who became Judah Ben-Hur). Plus New Yorker Ray Danton, British Stewart Granger (from Quo Vadis), Welsh Ronald Lewis, Canadian  Leslie Nielsen, way too  old Robert Ryan (when way too old Burt Lancaster was to be Judah Ben-Hur) and Scottish. Bill Travers.“Chuck hasn’t got much charm, has he?” said scenarist Gore Vidal (“a tart, embittered man,” wrote  Heston in 1995). “No,” is how Vidal quoted Wyler’s reply, “and you can direct your ass off and he still won’t have any.” 
  17. Paul Newman, From The Terrace, 1959.   He preferred Ben-Hur’s chariot to John O’Hara’s (steamier) book. Then again, Newman had something Heston lacked – a wife called Joanne Woodward. As good as they were as the WWII vet forcing his way up the Philadelphia social ladder and his nympho missus, the verbose drama was stolen by his folks – Leon Ames and Myrna Loy
  18. Dirk  Bogarde,  The Singer Not The Song, 1960.    Heston never twigged   that Ben-Hur’s “contributing writer” Gore Vidal implied Judah and Messala had been lovers.  So he was also “shocked” to be offered The Singer by the UK’s venerable Rank Organisation.. Which Chuck clearly saw as the UK’s ’s  first homosexual drama – finally made as almost an Xmas pantomime wih two Brits – and bitter enemies –  two, Dirk Bogarde and John Mills, as a Mexican bandito  and priest hot for each other. Well, Bogarde was boiling hot. In his tight leathers. looking, noted The Times, “like a latterday Queen Kelly.” Bogarde had warned the Rank studio…  “I promise you, if Johnny plays the Priest, I will make life unbearable for everyone concerned.”  Especially the public.  He salvaged his reputation in a far better, more honest – and brave – gay drama, Victim, the following year.  Minus Mills.

  19. Laurence Harvey, The Alamo, 1960.      He read it. And a director called John Wayne offered him the choice of leading roles.   Colonel Travis…
  20. John Wayne, The Alamo, 1960.      Or,  Jim Bowie.
  21. Richard Widmark, The Alamo, 1960.      Or even,  Davy Crockett. (No wonder Roddy McDowall called Heston –  Charlie Hero!) Chuck had no wish to be directed by Duke in what he felt was a right-wing movie.And Widmark made it clear that he was not to be called:  Dick. 

  22. Gene Kelly,  Inherit The  Wind,  1960.     “The  part  [of a reporter] is not good,” he wrote, “although the script is.”
  23. Yves Montand, Let’s Make Love, 1960.    Choice between Marilyn –  or  Olivier  directing him in Ben Levy’s  The Tumbler on Broadway.  “I don’t know if a verse play can run but I can’t let this chance pass.  I never saw the film but it could  hardly have been a greater failure than The Tumbler. Nevertheless, I’d make the same choice again.” He learned enough to steal Khartoum from Laurence Olivier’s Mehdi, 1966. As for Marilyn: “I could have resisted her. She was very resistible. I understood the appeal but she just wasn’t my type. And anyway, if I resisted Ava Gardner, which I did, then resisting Marilyn would have been easy.”  Also fleeing: Stephen Boyd, Yul Brynner, William Holden, Rock Hudson and old-timers Cary Cooper, Cary Grant, James Stewart. Marilyn and Montand took the title literally.
  24. Robert Mitchum, The Grass Is Greener, 1960.    Cary Grant’s offer was “flattering, frustrating, like finding a naked girl hiding in your room.” He immensely admired Grant and longed to work with  him. “Because he always did  those  films where you stand  around in beautiful clothes,  saying beautiful  things to a  beautiful  woman. It’s always seemed like a fine way to  make a living.  Of course, the trick is being able to  do it the way Grant did.”  And  it was Grant’s role to  start with,  until the death of Kay Kendall had him stepping into the role first set for her widower, Rex Harrison.
  25. Paul Newman, From The Terrace, 1960.      Another bad script.
  26. Ralph Bellamy, Sunrise At Campobello, 1960.  Heston as FDR – the future 32nd US President,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt –  would have been the (physical) miscasting of the century. Ralph Bellamy portrayed Roosevelt 556 times on Broadway  but was worried about tackling he same  ages of 39 to 42 in  close-ups – and colour! – at age 55.. The very reason talks began  with Marlon Brando, and, as the play and film’s writer  Dore Schary  suggested,  the British stage star Anthony Quayle.  But then, Bellamy and the scenarist Schary iived on opposite sides of the same Manhattan street. Knock,. knock.  “Mr President. Welcome!”
  27.  Zimbalist Jr,  By Love Possessed,  1961.      “A worse script than the stiff,  clumsy El Cid” – which he  first rejected, at first, in l960.  The  film was, in fact, little more or less than The Colbys soap bubble he starred in on TV, 1985-1987
  28. Marcello Mastroianni, A Very Private Affair, France, 1961.     “Not when I was involved,” French realisateur Louis Malle told me in London. “When it came to  me  there was no script and we wrote it for Brigitte and Marcello…  and they wouldn’t  even talk to  each other!” Heston found the idea “appealing but impossible…  since she wants to shoot it in French.”  He is the sole Hollywood star passing on films with both Bardot and Monroe!
  29. Don Murray,  Advise & Consent, 1961.  Producer-director Otto Preminger’s notion was anti-typecasting – Heston as  the gay senator Brig Anderson.  “I’m not put off by the homosexual angle but the part isn’t very  interesting.  Anderson is acted upon rather than acting…  The role of old Senator Cooley, now, would be a plum.” No deal.  That plum  was  reserved for  plummy Charles Laughton’s final film.
  30. Jeff Chandler, Merrill’s Marauders, 1961.     “Seems a little  unlikely  –  I’ve never yet managed to get on a sound stage at that studio.”  At Warners, that is, since the Darby’s Rangers law suit. No problem for the, apparently,  cross-dressing Chandler.

  31. John Wayne, The Longest Day, 1961.   After William Holden fell out and before Duke fell in, producer Darryl F Zanuck mused upon the ramrod stiff Heston as the injured Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort.
  32. Stuart Whitman, The Comancheros, 1961.  Paul Wellman wrote his 1952  Western novel for Cary Grant to eventually play gambling; man Paul Regret. – the star role until Gary Cooper, then John Wayne clambered aboard nine years later. He was The Boss, beefing up Big Jake Cutter (leading to   Big Jake McCandles ten years later) and finding roles for his kids, Aissa and Patrick.   By which time Grant was too old  (Wayne was too old!!) and certainly would never serve under Duke.  And, yes, I have to say it (better than me singing it)… Regrets, I have a few, too few not to mention…  Steve Forrest, James Garner, John Gavin, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Tom Tyron, Robert Wagner, Cornel Wilde and ultimately, Stuart Whitman.  Marlon Brando had been keen on the support role of  an Indian chief called Graile.

  33. Stephen Boyd, The Fall of the Roman Empire, 1963.    Heston had no wish to work with Sophia Loren again after El Cid, 1960, and simply quit the movie  and the massive salary..  Boyd quickly agreed to both.   They had co-starred in Ben-Hur– and the classic chariot race, directed by the celebrated stuntichian Yakima Canut.  En core! So, he helmed Boyd in another chariot rumble – this time down a mountain road – between Marcus Aurelius and Livius, aka Christopher Plummer and Boyd. The $20m epic flopped and Boyd claimedd it ruined his career.  Not true. His inevitable demise began eight films later, after Shalako, in 1967. 
  34. Paul Newman,  What A Way To Go, 1964.       “A barren part. I’ll pass. Let Paul Newman play it. Oddly enough, as I remember it, he did.”   A certaIn Louisa May Foster takes her shrink through her five late husbands – every one a laugh. (If only). Prepared for Marilyn Monroe before her tragic death, I Love Louisa was given to Elizabeth Taylor and, finally, Shirley MacLaine. Heston and  Steve McQueen were up for  Hubby #4,  an American in Paris artist. Sounded like  a reprise for Gene Kelly. Except he was Hubby #5, described as a song and dance man about to break into Hollywood – what, at age 51!  Yes, the movie was that bad.
  35. Glenn Ford, Fate Is The Hunter, 1964.     Wise move from Charlie Hero!
  36. George Maharis,  The Satan Bug,  1964. …naturally, he chose to be Michelangelo, putting science-fiction on hold until later.
  37. Tony  Curtis, The Great Race, 1964.  Heston, Burt Lancaster or Paul Newman  were  hardly suitable  for a movie dedicated to Laurel  and Hardy!  Except they were first choices for  Leslie Galant III, aka The Great Leslie, hero of Blake Edwards’ send-up of the 1908 Greatest Auto Race,  from New York to Paris via Russia, across 22,000 miles of three continents. “A funny script, ” Heston made few of those. Not quite his thing.  He was ready to roll as The Great Leslie in the comic car-race across three continents when dates changed for his Michelangelo gig, The Agony and the Ectasy.  Not a lot of laughs, that one.  “Besides, [Jack] Lemmon really had the better part.”
  38. Marlon  Brando,  Morituri, 1965.    Wisest… “Action script, more  or less  like 55 Days At Peking, but smaller.  Brando should’ve passed, too.”  The public did not understand the title. Nor did the poster, which actually stated: “Morituri – must mean something unusual.”  (It did no better with a, cumbersome new handle: Saboteur: Code Name Morituri). Brando only made it to end an old Fox contract and then refused any promo as per his deal. He gave in for a Press conderence, telling everyone:  “You will be unable to proceed in life unless you see Morituri.”Fox immediately cancelled his other media events. Title stemmed from the gladiators’ salute to Caesar: “Those who are about to die, salute you.”.
  39. Peter O’Toole, Lord Jim, 1965.      When Orson Welles tried to set it up in 1957.
  40. George Maharis,  The Satan Bug, 1965.      Almost  his first science-fiction film. He made up for it with others.
  41. John Wayne, The Sons of Katie Elder, 1965.  Ten years earlier, producer Hal Wallis wanted John Sturgis directing Alan Ladd, then Burt Lancaster… Now everyone from Heston to James Stewart were up for John Elder until Duke galloped in for $600,000, a third of the profits and and one-third ownership of the negative. With a month to go  to the starting date, Duke told his producer son, Mike, and director Henry Hathway about the  egg-sized tumour and in his  left lung. “I’m gonna have the lung removed… tomorrow morning.  Of course you’ll wanna recast – get Kirk.” Having survived colon cancer,  Hathaway gave invaluable advice. “You’re gonna be as sore as hell – surgery is no piece of cake, expect to be tired and expect the recovery to take longer than you think.” Wayne was operated on September 17, 1964 on for six hours – twice, after edema set in. His “Big C” surgery cost him one lung and two ribs. Producer Hal Wallis refused to recast. They would wait.  Duke showed up for work on January  6, 1965. He carried on smoking (cigars replacing cigarettas) and doing too many of his own stunts in a Western he was patently too old for. At  57, he was 36 years older than his youngest screen broher – Michael Anderson, Jr.
  42. Telly Savalas, Beau Geste, 1966.      After flirting with a a true UK number (Richard Burton, Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole), Universal’s next notion was Dean  Martin, Tony Curtis as the brothers Geste,  Heston as Sergeant Markov.  He was  indignant –  until viewing Brian Donlevy in  Gary Cooper’s 1939 re-make. “Markov is the best role.”
  43. Hugh O’Brian, Ambush Bay, 1966.      “A remarkably bad action script…  definitely negative, negative – double negative.”

  44. Richard Harris, Hawaii, 1966.     “Too much plot and not enough people for my taste. I don’t think Walter Mirisch, who produced it, was quite sure which part he really wanted me to play.  Dick Harris  gave one of  his  best performances as the roistering sea captain…”
  45. Max von Sydow, Hawaii, 1966.     … “Max von Sydow could  hardly  have been bettered  as the driven missionary.”  So, case of Charlie Zero…  until Heston made the sequel, The Hawaiians, 1970.

  46. Kirk Douglas, Cast A Giant Shadow, 1966.     Well, like Moses, Colonel Mickey Marcus was Jewish.
  47. Peter Sellers, Woman Times Seven, 1966.     Keen to work with Shirley MacLaine and Vittorio De Sica  – who called it a good cameo.  Heston did not. “It’s nothing,  I’m disappointed.  Of course,  you have to give some weight to De Sica as a factor, but it doesn’t seem worth doing.”  It wasn’t.
  48. George Segal, The Quiller Memorandum, 1966.  Interested:  “modern story, simple part, Harold Pinter due to script.”
  49. Kirk Douglas, The Way West, 1966.  “OK by me,” he said on hearing his co-stars would be Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark. Yet despite certain tax incentives, he passed Senator Tadlock to Douglas (who had starred in The Big Sky, 1951, the opening of Shane author AB Guthrie Jr’s s trilogy, closing with Three Thousand Hills, filmed in in 1958). “I was readily dispensable; they did fine without me.”
  50. Peter O’Toole, A Lion In Winter, 1967.      A uniqe kind of  epic – one without Charlie Hero!

  51. Rock Hudson, Ice Station Zebra, 1967.  Also rejected by Laurence Harvey, James Mason and David Niven.   For why? Good script, bad part. Patrick McGoohan had the good one.
  52. Henry Fonda, C’erra una volta il West (UK/US: Once Upon A Time in the West, Italy-US, 1968.Charlie Villain…?! Director Sergio Leonesaid he would have won a higher budget from, his usual spaghetti Western backers, UA- if he’d agreed to Heston, Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas. Leone settled for less money, but all his own decisions at Paramount.

  53. William HoldenThe Wild Bunch, 1968.
  54. Robert Ryan, The Wild Bunch, 1968.

  55. Kirk Douglas, The Arrangement, 1969.  Elia Kazan had written a novel a continuation, in fact, of his America, America – “the first thing I ever wrote that was intended as a novel.”  Now he wanted to film it.  A bad idea. As his natural first choice, Marlon Brando, quickly understood.  OK, he’d ‘take a stab at it.” Instead, he split for Italy’s Queimada mish-mash – using as an excuse, Martin Luther King’s assassination:  he could not go ahead with the film in such circumstances. Kazan thought it was a con. And it was. Otherwise Kazan would recognise that Brando  (also!) was no longer what hehad been.  Project was iced until Kirk Douglas, George C Scott, Rod Steiger showed interest and Charlton Heston did not. (“I don’t  play losers”!)  Reviews were wholly negative. “The best of it is too interesting,” said the LA Times, “and the worst of it is too atrociously bad.” Kazan  vowed never to make another Hollywood film. And he didn’t until his sad/bad finale, The Last Tycoon, 1976.
  56. Robert Stephens, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1969.  Once he lost the two Peters – O’Toole and Sellers as Holmes and Watson – Billy Wilder’’s most expensive movie just…collapsed. Stephens was a terrible Holmes(nearly driven to suicide as his marriage to Maggie Smith exploded). Nicol Williamson would have been no better and Wilder summarily dismissed any idea of Charlton Heston. Or even Rex Harrison – although he had beern Wilder’s choice for a 50s Broadway musical version anda 1963 filmusical.
  57. Karl Malden, Patton, 1969.
  58. Richard Harris, Cromwell, 1970.     Refused on November 2, 1961. Good job, too. Heston looked as  much like Cromwell  as he did Roosevelt.
  59. Jon Voight,  Deliverance,  1971.    “Sorry to have missed it; a good film.”  But he was prepping a bad ‘un.  His biggest ego-trip – co-adapting, starring (as Marc Antony) and directing Antony and Cleopatra  with  a (deliberately?) weak Hildegarde Neil.  . When the idea of Brando and Nicholson represented half the $2m budget, the Warner suits  looked at Henry Fonda, George C Scott, Donald Sutherland and told Boorman: “Make it with nobodies for 
  60. Richard Burton,The Assassination of Trotsky, France-Italy-UK, 1971.  “Not vastly excited” by producer Joe Shaftel’s 1960 offer.  Heston read – and dropped – the script. The exiled American-in-London director Joseph Losey admitted it was terrible when inviting his usual UK star, Dirk Bogarde, aboard. With the promise of revisions. None arrived and somehow Richard Burton accepted the same scenario, saying i t would be a blockbuster like his Where Eales Dare.  Except Clint Eastwood was not the assassin.  Alain Delon was.  Hence, Trotsky is in Harry Medved and Randy Lowell’s book, The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way).

  61. Oliver Reed, The Three Musketeers: The Queen’s Diamonds The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge, 1972.    Enuff with action, said Chuck. “Good script, very funny, not a parody.Why do they want to spend as much as they have to pay me to play Athos? Not that good a part; nothing like the brilliant kind of key cameo roles actorslookfor.”
  62. Frank Finlay, The Three Musketeers: The Queen’s Diamonds &The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge, 1972.    Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind (theydid more casting than poor director Richard Lester) were also turned down for Porthos.  They still wanted Heston on their marquee and heagreed to be Cardinal Richlieu.

  63. James Coburn,  Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid,  1972.
  64. Robert Duvall, The Outfit, 1973.     “Turned down after a skim.”
  65. Roy Sheider, Jaws, 1974.     Steven Spielberg decided against Heston because  of his Charlie Hero image in other Universal thrillers (Airport 1975, Earthquake).  The young director felt from the public’s point of view, Heston v the shark would be no contest!  Rather like poor Heston v Vanessa Redgrave in what he did instead – Macbeth, on  the LA stage. 
  66. John Wayne, Rooster Cogburn, 1974.     The idea was fair – a sequel  to True Grit. But if Wayne proved too ill, what would be the point of someone else in his titular Oscar-winning rôle? Marlon Brando topped producer Hal Wallis’ eye-patch list of Heston, Charles Bronson, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, George C Scott and some of Duke’s co-stars: Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn. This was director Stuart Miller’s second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
  67. James Mason, Mandingo, 1974.  Lee J Cobb’s’ health was not good. Charlton Heston simply refused. And James Mason took over the Alabama plantation owner Warren Maxwell because, as he freely confessed, he had alimony to pay. “But surely jail would have been better,” suggested Chicago critic Roger Ebert. He called the film a piece of racist manure.  “Obscene in its manipulation of human beings and feelings…  excruciating to sit through… This is a film I felt soiled by.”
  68. Gregory Peck, The Omen, 1975.    Dropped out of another horror, then called The Antichrist, after discussing it with his wife. Liked the script, the part was obviously right, but the exploitive potential of the film was off-putting. “And I disliked the idea of working alone through a European winter. Greg was quite marvellous.” William Holden, Roy Scheider and even Dick Van Dyke (!) also refused. Not having worked for five years, Peck cut his fee for 10% of the take – highest pay-cheque of his career. Consequently, Holden rushed into the sequel!
  69. Rock Hudson, Embryo, 1976.      He only liked the “horror flick” for a Columbia precedent. “The percentage of the gross they offer plus the guarantee. mIf thisis the new trend, the market is getting damn rich, especially for an old dog like me.”
  70. Derek Jacobi, I, Claudius, TV, 1976.    Considered (so was BBComedy star Ronnie Barker!) for this jewel in Aunty’s crown.
  71. Robert Shaw, Force Ten From Navarone, 1976.    Or Force 17 Years Later… Long wait for even a sorta-sequel. Shaw took over Gregory Peck’s 1960 Major Mallory and died from a heart attack during post-production – hence some of his dialogue is dubbed (by actor Robert Rietty, who rescued numerous roles – even dubbing Orson Welles, Christopher Plummer and Blofeld – in his career of 279 credits). Idem for his next movie, Avalanche Expresss.

  72. Steve McQueen, An Enemy of the People, 1976.
    The  American Film Theatre offer of an Arthur Miller adaptation arrived  at a good  time, when  Heston  was  once again wondering about his whoring.  “The part’s right for me, it’d be a good balance (for the critical fraternity,  if no one else)  for  the commercial choices I’ve made in the last few months. On the other hand…     Is it a good part?  Not necessarily.   Most translations of Ibsen are very stiff and almost unplayable.” He discussed it with Orson Welles  (“Miller is really the Ibsen of our  times: talented, socially concerned and absolutely  humourless”) and agreed  –  “for practically nothing.” His Charlie Hero parts in Earthquake, Airport ’75 could subsidise forays into Ibsen or Shakespeare – and Chuck was planning a stage Macbeth. When enter, of all thespians – Steve McQueen! What on earth was going on here…?  Well, ego, of course. Why else would S McQueen – known for telling such potential co-stars as Stella Stevens, “I don’t need competition” – set himself up for the chop  with such a vanity project as  a  1882 Ibsen play, way beyond his style, scope  and  talent.  A “wonderful play,” he said, with a “great actor’s part.” Yeah sure.  But Steve was a movie star. Not a great actor.  He would tear dialogue scenes out of his scripts  He even had  the gal to . ask Heston (apparently, a good friend), to play his brother in his version. “No, you need an English actor,” said Chuck. Of course, he may have been referring to McQueen’s lead role… Final score: Ibsen 10, McQueen, 1.
  73. Gregory Peck, MacArthur, 1976.  His agent Herman Citron (who died in 1987) felt he didn’t win  the role because  he was doing too many  films.  “I  don’t quite  buy this.  Still, greater selectivity, thus even fewer films than  I do now,  would be the answer.” His MacRivals included Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Laurence Olivier, even John Wayne.  Pus George C Scott – “too close to Patton.  And Heston had been asked to play General Patton, too.

  74. Richard Harris, The Cassandra Crossing, 1977.     “Even the prospect of Sophia Loren’s not quite enough to get me on that train full of plague victims being sent to their doom by an unscrupulous American colonel, while a scrupulous American doctor… well, it’s very complicated and the thought of twelve weeks in Italy, Switzerland does not excite me.”   Or more honestly: the actual prospect of ….

  75. Marlon  Brando, Superman, 1977.

  76. Glenn Ford, Once An Eagle, TV, 1977.     “The best novel about war I’ve read,” he said in 1968, when doubting anyone could afford to film it. He was right. It became “an incredibly ordinary” TV series. “I still look at it as my finest unmade film. I really believe it could have been a great, great movie.”
  77. Robert Stack, 1941, 1979.    Badmouthing  the whippersnapper Spieberg since being passed over for Police Chief Brody in Jaws, Heston swore he’d never work for the young director. (As if Spielberg needed him!)  Publicly, he used the same excuse as John Wayne –  that Steven Spielberg’s General Stilwell was unpatriotic, an insult to WWII veterans.  Except the farce had nothing to do with WWII veterans… just the hysterical folks at home.  Worse, in LA!  Film flopped and its star, John Belushi, was seen in a tee-shirt proclaiming: Steven  Spielberg 1946-1941.
  78. Jason Miller, The Ninth Configuration, 1980.     First offered to him by Exorcist author William PeterBlatty, as Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane, then as The Eighth Configuration in 1976. “It’s not as unique as it was when I first read it, but it’s still a helluva attractive part.”
  79. Jason Robards, Raise The Titanic, 1980.     The utter folly of the UK film and TV mogul, Lord Lew Grade,  sounded a simple job for the man who parted the Red Sea.
  80. Gregory Peck, The Sea Wolves: The Last Charge of the Calcutta LightHorse, 1980.    His meetings with producer Euan Lloyd came to naught.
  81. Kabir Bedi, The 40 Days of Musa Dagh, 1982.       MGM toyed with the Armenian independence saga, going from Heston to Yul Brynner, before letting the property go to an Armenian business group.
  82. Jack Thompson, Burke & WIils, Australia, 1984.   B&W were the down-under equivalant of the historic US explorers Lewis and Clark.  In August  1860, Irish cop Robert O’Hara Burke, and English gent William John Wills, set out –  with 28 horses, 26 camels, 21 tons of equipment, 17 men and six wagons to become the first white men to cross Australia from South to North. Only one man, John King, survived…  In 1971, Nicol Williamson-Hywel Bennett were set for such a trek, followed by Charlton Heston-Trevor Howard, before Aussie director Graeme Clifford got the job done with Jack Thompson, of course, and Nigel  Havers.

  83. Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, 1992.

  84. Christopher Lloyd,  My Favourite Martian, 1998.  A Martian makes a visit – and friends with Jeff Daniels’s reporter. There goes the neighbourhood! (Title of another Daniels’ movie,  circa 1992).  The five possibilities fort  “Uncle Martin”  were Heston(!), Michael Douglas, Bill Murray (a tad obvious), Martin Sheen – and Star Trek’s latest skipper, Patrick Stewart.
  85. James Woods, Scary Movie 2, 2001.     Marlon Brando was paid $1m to be straining on a toilet as Father McFeely in an Exorcist spoof, but he got pneumonia and was replaced by Woods after Heston fled.  One year later, August 9, 2002, Heston announced he had Alzheimer’s disease.  “I can part the Red Sea, but I can’t part with you [the audience], which is why I won’t exclude you from this stage in my life.”
















 Birth year: 1924Death year: 2008Other name: Casting Calls:  85