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CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE

Just Jack Nicholson

There are more than 8,000 actors detailed on this site. Some have passed a single movie. Others, many more. Then, there are the champs… Since launching CCC in 2008, Marlon Brando always topped this list. And year by year, discovery by discovery, Jack Nicholson, has been catching up. Well, he’s done it…!
He was always second to Brando’s total of 164 bypassed films. Until I unearthed four new passes - but only two for Marlon. But as I devour more books, columns and mails (thank you, fans!) etc, the count goes on.

1.Nicholson by-passed 168 films
2. Brando - 166
3. Cary Grant -147
3. Paul Newman - 147
5. Tom Cruise - 110

Highest Brit Sir Sean at 114.
Highest lady is Bette Davis, 90 items; Jodie Foster, 80;  Michelle Pfeiffer, 72; Meryl Streep, 70; Nicole Kidman, 69; Julie Christie and Liz Taylor are level at 67; Katharine Hepburn, 66; Debra Winger, 65.
Newer Brigade: Brad, 107; Johnny, 99; Julia, 64; Leo, 64; Jim Carrey, 62; Madonna, 61; Jennifer Aniston, 27; Jennifer Lawrence, 23.

(You'll find the full list at Champions in the Main Menu)

 

He said title

“I consider myself on my last leg.” – Brad Pitt

“Elvis is kind of the original superhero. And I mean that he comes from dirt, and in a few blinding moments he rises so high, he finds his kryptonite, and also love. And then a beautiful, powerful tragedy ensues." – Baz Luhrmann

“I had no problems with Marilyn. Marilyn had problems with Marilyn.” – director John Huston.

Failure on Broadway is so complete, “that even the dogs in the street refused to wag their  tails at me.” – Franco Zeffirelli on New York’s Great White Way.

“Tom Cruise’s only true competition is himself. So, every time he goes into a movie, it’s not like he’s looking around to see if anyone else is trying to do the same thing - because nobody is.  [Laugh] It’s just about if he can top the last thing that he’s done - and he always does!” – Top Gun: Maverick star Lewis Pullman. He was Bob Floyd and is the son of Bill Pullman. 

“There already is something there between us, and you never know what’s going to happen… It’s more like two jazz players playing off each other. That’s how it feels.” John Turturro on Severance co-star Christopher Walken.

What does ‘the next Denzel’ mean? Does that mean there can only be one.  It doesn’t have to be one person.” – Denzel Washington.

“I don’t even know if [people] see me as John David yet. I’m still ‘Denzel’s son.’ I’m always his son.” – John David Washington.

“That role was an opportunity of a lifetime. And I got a chance to do it twice.” – Jared Leto on Hollywood’s Hamlet, The Joker.

“I wouldn’t describe Michael as my favourite, but he’s Michael Caine. An institution. And being an institution will always beat having range.” – Brian Cox in his memoirs, Putting the Rabbit into the Hat.

“I don’t do things to find out about myself.  I just like playing pretend.” – Ray Liotta,  RIP

“ A couple of my friends had seen  The Searchers. I was 10 years old and they were saying it was great, and my parents said: ‘No, we heard about it and you’re too young to see it.’  I remember going to the cookie jar and getting 50 cents out of the cookie jar, in dimes, and walking a mile and a half to the theatre. I got my ticket and I saw The Searchers. I never told my parents I had done that.” – Steven Spielberg. He didn’t tell John Wayne, either - he didn’t have time – because Duke was blazing mad at the young whippersnapper wanting  him to join (the terrible) 1941.  “How dare you [pause] offer me such an  [pause] unpatriotic script?” 

IRONIC MAN

Robert Downney Jr is in the Play Dirty waiting room


Long time quiet Robert Downey Jr – and Iron Man 3 director Shane Black  - are sure taking their time prepping their Play Dirty  take on the tough guy known  simply as Parker. He’s been up and down Hollywood’s means streets before.  Mel Gibson (remember him?) was pretty good in Payback, 1989. Our own Jason Statham was rather better – ironic! - in Parker, 2013. Naturally,  no one can come close to the guv’nor - Lee Marvin in John Boorman’s little marvel, Point Blank, 1967, based on The Hunter novel, by Donald  E Westlake, hiding out under the pseudonym of Richard Stark… official author of  24 Parker books.  Sounds more  like a series. Better Call Parker?

 

 

Missing classics >>> Sean Connery: Blade Runner. Leonardo DiCaprio: The Matrix.  Richard Dreyfuss: All That Jazz  (“afraid of the dancing”). Sally Field: Sophie’s Choice. Cary Grant: The Bridge on the River Kwai. Anne Hathaway: The Great Gatsby, 2011. Jack Nicholson: Rain Man. Ugo Tognazzi: A Fistful of Dollars. Robin Williams: The Shining <<<

WHO ARE THESE  GUYS?

Kenneth Branagh and Bradley Cooper


We’ve all seen  the shock image of Ken Branagh as Bojo in This England - originally, This Sceptred Isle but, apparently, no one knew what sceptred meant. The Sky Atlantic series covers  Boris Johnson’s Downing Street headaches: Brexit, Covid, Arrogance. But I have to ask: Why a series about him before  one on his mentor, Trump? Give me Borgen, better still Julia Louis Dreyfuss as Veep, any day.

Leonard Bernstein is the Maestro - co-written, directed and acted by Bradley Cooper (oh, yes it is!) as the West Side Story composer. “He even has white arm hairs,” reacted one tweeter. “Such attention to detail!” The Netflix show unveils the “complex” 30-year love story of the gay Bernstein and Chilean-American actress Felicia Montealegre - played by our Carey Mulligan. Cooper’s co-producers include Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.  Both were due to direct until they saw Brad’s A Star is Born.

Tom Hanks and Ryan Gosling


Colonel Parker realised that Elvis was forbidden fruit. “And you can make an awful lot of money on forbidden fruit,” said Tom Hanks… explaining why he ballooned out of his normal, sylph-like structure to play the manager who ruined Elvis Presley - chaining the poor guy to endless movie mulch instead of letting him  stretch in The Defiant Ones, Midnight Cowboy and West  Side Story.   When director Baz Luhrmann showed Hanks a photo of the Colonel, Tom thought: ”Oh, my God, what have I done?” The make-up crew took over and (like Branagh and Cooper) Tom metamorphosed into another being  - while Austin Butler hardly resembles Elvis as much as Bojo.

Then we have Barbie’s gay icon. Except Warner Bros is playing super-safe with Earring Magic Ken. Ryan Gosling (yes!)  has lost Ken’s ear and penis rings! Margot Robbie is Barbie after Anne Hathaway and Amy Schumer split. “Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different,” she promises, “the thing you didn’t know you wanted.” Oh, you mean like Harley Quinn’s sister?

Now we know where the make-up nominations will come from in the next Oscars. Plus whoever is doing the (major) work on Mr Wilder and Me, with Christoph Waltz, who does not (yet) look as Yoda-ish as the director he’s playing... Billy Wilder.

 

LEA WINS AN  EMMY

POOH'S  RAMPAGE

Lea Seydoux Winnie the Pooh in Blood and Honey
If I keep mentioning Bond Woman Léa Seydoux it’s because I live in her France and she’s always news here. Last year, she had four films competing at Cannes - and stayed home with  Covid. This year, it was two. Including David Cronenberg’s amazing Crimes of the Future. At 37, Léa is now re-making the 70s’ Emmanuelle - which made a short-lived superstar of the Dutch Sylvia at 21. Léa’s Emmy director is Audrey Diwan. “She wanted to talk about a woman of nowadays that she sees and knows but she doesn’t see on the screen,” said Seydoux. “I understood what she meant. It is a female perspective on a female’s relationship to her sexuality.” And next? Lacy Margot in Dune 2. Rhys Frake-Waterfield has writer-directed  a whole new version on the kiddies’ favourite bear. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey has Pooh and Piglet turning feral after Christopher Robin dumps them for college. As per the name of his and co-producer Scott Jeffrey’s company, Waterfield  has given them a Jagged Edge. The  result is slasher spectacle! ”They’re no longer tame,” he told Variety, “they’re like a vicious bear and pig who want to go around and… find prey.” What will Disney say? The AA Milne books are now in the public domain, but Disney still has rights to most of the  characters… which is why there’s no Tigger and a tombstone for Eyeore.  

KING JEAN - LOUIS

Fond were the global tributes following the death of Jean-Louis Trintignant, at 91. He  was no Belmondo or Delon. He was better. Shy, unobtrusive, definitive - my favourite screen actor (The Conformist, Z, Amour, etc) and among the best interview of my career. In And God Created Woman, way back in 1956, he was Brigitte Bardot’s lover. (Off-screen, too.) Oh, he worked with all the lovelies:  Antonelli, Anouk, Birkin, Bisset, Kristel, Lavi, Moreau, Sandrelli, Seberg. Claude Lelouch made him a star (and vice-versa) in Un homme et une femme.  “I choose my films for the love of a director - Bertolucci, Costa-Gavras, Robbe-Grillet or Nadine (his second  wife). The actor must have no personality. He must be  an empty canvas. For the director to paint upon. You must give the impression that the script was never written, that you’re inventing it at the precise moment you act it.” Directors queued for him. When he couldn’t get him  for Last Tango in Paris, poor Bertolucci had to make do with Brando! Kubrick loved his wondrous voice, using it for the French lingo dubs of HAL in 2001 and Nicholson in The Shining. Spielberg and Coppola called him for Close Encounters and Apocalypse Now. “Oh, they just wanted any French actor for a French role… I feel strange among (Americans) as I would among Martians.” He’d just directed his second  film (both rather British black-comedies). “I want to be an actor again. It’s too difficult, directing!”

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Dominique  Sanda
Trintignant and Dominique Sanda - the original couple chosen for Last Tango in Paris after completing The Conformist for the same director, Bernardo Bertolucci - “the greatest director I’ve ever known.”

I’d been warned he hated  interviews. He was wary of me; we did not share languages. Then, I compared him to Bogart, Newman, Mastroianni - and he loved me for hours. (And next day in his editing suite). “After being in execrable films for years (like me), Bogart arrived at a certain economy - quite exceptional. What Newman does seems easy; it’s not. And there are few people who are more intelligent than they appear - that’s exactly Marcello!” Now, he preferred Depardieu (and Keitel) to De Niro - “his acting is worked out in advance… and so  laborious! Me, I refuse to be intelligent. I’ve no ambition… never did.” He preferred the stage, particularly with his daughter Marie (beaten to death at 41 by her lover in 2003). Before leaving, he suddenly announced: “I’ve started to commit suicide. It’s a certain philosophy… being able to decide on one’s death.  It’s important to me. You must not wait until someone comes and steals your death. You must decide on it, yourself.” 
As ill as he was, I do hope it didn’t come to that.

CONGRATULATIONS

Jay-Hud

It sounds like an ailment - “Excuse me, doctor, but I think I’ve a touch of the egots.”  You should be so lucky!  An EGOT is not an affliction but a jubilation. Until June, there had only been 16 EGOT achievers. Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Rita Moreno, Andrew Lloyd Webber among them. The 17th is Chicago’s glorious Jennifer Hudson. The initials stand for the top four US showbiz awards. Jennifer won her daytime E for Emmy in 2021 as exec producer of the Baba Yaga toon. Followed by a G for Grammy (twice!) for her 2009 and 2017 albums. O is for Oscar she won for her Dreamgirls film debut in 2005. And now she’s copped the T for Tony award for producing A Strange Loop on Broadway. (Her two dogs are called Grammy and Oscar!). Bravo!  But why EGOT and not, say, GOTE? Well, ‘tis a bit muddling to announce someone has… got a GOTE.

 
Peter Sellers

NOT FOR ME
James Garner refused The Night of the Iguana. “it’s just too Tennessee Williams for me!”

  Marylin's cute giggle

SWEET MARILYN
She lost Baby Doll, Can-Can, Freud, Harlow. So what! She was sublime in Some Like It Hot.

  Jessica Chastaine in Miss Sloane

THE PRINCESS
Jessica Chastain passed Diana to Naomi Watts. Then, they also nearly played Marilyn.

  Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones

CAPTAIN CARY
First idea for Pirates of the Caribbean - a TVersion - was Cary Elwes. Second? Rik Mayall.

 

WELL, DANG, IT'S  DING

Michael Pena
John Krasinski hands over to Michael Peña

So, John Krasinski's Jack Ryan quits the CIA after the fourth Prime Video season (he became the US President in the books!). Meanwhile, the Tom Clancyverse continues with the expected spin-off starring Michael Peña as ace sniper Domingo “Ding” Chavez. He joins John Krasinski’s Ryan in the third season finale. Just as Ryan was originally Harrison Ford, we first saw Raymond Cruz as Ding in Clear & Present Danger in 1994. Peña, who shared Moonfall with Halle Berry, will obviously - well, probably - join Michael B Jordan as Ryan’s other mate, John Clark, in the Rainbow Six movie. That’s based on one of the 22 Clancy books Ding’s in - seven with Ryan. 

Almost Dirty Dancing >>> Mindy Cohn, Sarah Jessica Parker, Winona Ryder, Sharon Stone, Pia Zadora - and Benicio Del Toro, Patrick Swayze, Billy Zane, Adrien Zmed. Jennifer Grey won and said: “Anyone but Patrick!” The fllm’s hit song - “(I've Had) The Time of My Life" - led to something new at weddings. “You may now lift the bride <<<

Roll ©redits:

All The President's Men  and Godfather montages: Reg Oliver, 1976; Ursula Andress: Eon Productions, 1962; Kenneth Branagh, Sky Atlantic, 2022; Bradley Cooper: Netflix, 2022; Robert Downey Jr: Marvel, 2015; Cary Elwes: Paramount Pictures, 1997; Ryan Gosling: Warner Bros 2022; Tom Hanks, Warner Bros, 2020; Jennifer Hudson: Variety.com, 2021; John Krasinski & Michael Peña: Gaumont International TV, 2018; Laura Linney: Netflix, 2018; Jack Nicholson: MGM, 1975; Pooh: Jagged Edge Productions, 2022; Léa Seydoux: MGM/Universal/Eon Productions, 2019; Jean-Louis Trintignant, Cinetel-Euro International-President Films,1971; TC sketch: Graham Marsh, 1976. Plus huge thanks to The Man: Daniel Bouteiller.

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WELCOME to a unique directory of what you never saw on-screen. The films the stars did not make. The movies that never were. The most definitive collation of casting stories ... Check up on all the films - of yesterday, today and tomorrow - that your favourite stars never made... A cast of thousands - 8,063 actors - to click on... More than 40 years in the making!! And 2,749,022 words of spirited text. The ultimate in movie trivia ... Better! Exactly the kind of history that Hollywood deserves. Back to front. Upside-down. Inside out. Full of flashbacks, close-ups, tracking shots (and, alas some badly edited sequences - sorry about that!) forming a fascinating, new and often bizarre flip-side perspective on your treasured movies and stars.

This is the film that bred this site ... after Robert Redford told me he'd planned a little black-white version - with Robert De Niro, and Michael Moriarty as Woodstein.

THE BOND WOMAN

The original Bond-girl Ursula Andress hefts her conches
Happy birthday to ya! Hap-py birth-day! Not only to the ultimate screen spy, James Bond - 60 this year! -  but also, of course, the matrix for all Bond women, the sublime Ursula Andress… sauntering from the waves, warbling Underneath The Mango TreeUn-for-gettable!

She called Sean Connery a great man. “Today men like that just don't exist; they are all too narcissistic, too taken with themselves. Today finding someone like Sean is very difficult… The last time I saw him was in Switzerland. Sean had a house near me in Gstaad. We spent many evenings together and he’d invite me everywhere: Monte Carlo, London, New York. From when we met until now we always remained friends. Friends, friends. We lived some beautiful moments and I will always have fabulous memories. For me Sean is not dead, he will always be alive, with me forever”

As for the famous bikini, it fetched £41,125  at an auction in 2001. “It's a mystery.” said Urs.  “All I did was wear this bikini - not even a small one - and whoosh! Overnight, I made it.”

She said title

“It’s been done right. I was quite young, but I still remember my father's energy and his vibe. And Austin [Butler],  he - what's the word? - he nailed it.  In my life, it's been one disappointment after another, in terms of people portraying my father.  Bless their hearts, I'm sure they meant well.' - Lisa Marie Presley, while praising the lavish Elvis.

“I’m not a superhero. They’re for billionaires, narcissists  - and adult orphans, for some reason.” Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk: Attorney  at Law.

“It’s really hard for men and women to (make) movies. It’s harder for women. But women are tough, and it’s important to be tough when you are making films.” - French director Claire Denis

“When people say: What advice would you give to an actor? - I would say the first thing is…  don’t take advice from actors.” - Julia Roberts

“I didn’t know that I was auditioning for the role of Uhura until after . She was described as a bright, young prodigy who is deciding whether or not the place that she’s in is where she wants to be right now…  A lot of her story and mentality mirrored mine - in a different industry.” - Celia Rose Gooding on her  Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

“I’m an actress, so pain is a good thing. -  Sally Field.

“Sally is raw. Exposed. Brave as an actress. She is absolutely unafraid to turn herself inside out.” - Jane Fonda.

“It’s rather sweet and nice to be the first person of many who will play this character. It’s like Carmen. How many great sopranos have done Carmen? It’s silly to compare. We’re all wonderful in our differences.” - Julie Newmar, the first ,1966-1967, Catwoman in the old Batman TV series.

“He has an edge and a magnetism and a pure, sweet smile that surprises you.”- critic  Pauline Kael on Mickey Rourke… a long, very long, time ago. 

“I play some kind of a sea serpent or something.” - Julie Andrews on Aquaman.

“Chris builds everything; he constructs all the imagery piece by piece. He has this ability to make a film that involves complex thinking and yet make it entertaining and accessible.  Chris works very fast; time and energy are spent on all the right things there. There is nothing superfluous. It was humbling and collaborative and definitely made me stronger as an actor and probably as a person.” – Elizabeth Debicki on director Christopher Nolan.

“I think  Ozark, itself, is going to live forever…. it’s going to be one of those shows that will live in the canon of great TV from start to finish.  I would call it a think we built a world-building show. There’s a universe that’s been created.” - Elise Henderson, president of MRC, the combine looking for  a  Better Call Ozark?

LINNEY ON VILLAINY

Laura Linney - bad girl for life

 

Laura Linney has been talking (to Vanity Fair’s Derek Lawrence)  about Wendy Byrde, her outstanding bitch wolf   of the year in the late, lamented Ozark. “I think the audience likes to see her as a villain… They can hate that character as much as they want—and I understand why they do… her actions can be so reprehensible, so frustrating, so repulsive to people, ethically, that she’s easily labeled a villain. But, within the story, she’s… fighting to make it all okay. So it’s tremendous fun to play someone who’s liberated, and not held together, and not mature and impulsive. I’ll miss being able to explode like that.” 


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