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CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE

Just Jack Nicholson

There are more than 8,000 actors detailed on this site. Some have passed on 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 five new passes for Jack - but only four for Marlon. But as I devour more books, columns and mails (thank you, fans!) etc, the count goes on.

1. Nicholson by-passed 169 films
2. Brando - 168
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 don’t direct. I correct.” - Woody Allen, making his 50th film (this one in French, which he doesn’t speak) in Paris, known for now as WASP:  Woody Allen Secret Project. Obvious favourite to open the Cannes festival in May.

“I am traditionally besieged by self-doubt. I don’t know if it’s different from anybody else because I’ve never been anybody else.” - Bill Nighy

" I can't sing a note, and as for that monster, the dance, suffice it to say that I have no flexibility below the ass at all - I even have difficulty proving the paternity of my six children." - Paul Newman when asked to be Barbra Streisand’s 1976 co-star in Funny Girl.

“Criticism only hurts if you agree with it, and I didn’t really agree with any of it.’ -  director Andrew Dominik on Blonde reviews.

“They started on me with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, calling it a homophobic movie. Then, Deer Hunter…   and I was Fascist.  Heaven’s Gate…  Marxist. Year of the Dragon… racist. It was never criticism about the film, but about me.” - director Michael Cimino on critics.

“Sissy is a hymn to powerful, sensitive, selfless acting.” - director Mark Rydell on Sissy Spacek. (Remember Carrie?).

“We needed somebody who was the sun in the centre of the solar system, and there are not many of those people, and they’re all busy. It’s kind of like the housing market in LA, trying to cast movie stars these days. There’s a lot of work and not a lot of houses.” - Rian Johnson on why Daniel Craig is Benoit Blanc.

“A good story is a good story. I just go with what project I can’t stop thinking about… Look, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing.  - Christian Bale.

“I’ve always wanted to play a gangster. But I wanted to play a unique gangster who is not like a gangster - at least, not when you meet him. He’s actually a guy who likes to co-operate. But if he has to get heavy, it’s gonna get real heavy. So I said: I’m gonna play him as close to myself as I’ve ever done in my life.”  - Sylvester Stallone on Tulsa King.

“He was the most unique person I ever met.:” – director Ryan Coogler on Black Panther Chadwick Boseman.

“I have worked for several months on things that got rejected…(like) a musical version of the slasher movie, House of Wax.  with Michael Jackson. They said ‘No’. Can you believe that?” – Tim Burton.  

Dakota is instinctively flirtatious, and she seduced all of us. If there’s a telegraph pole, she’d charm that into doing her bidding.” - Richard E Grant on his Persuasion co-star Dakota Johnson. 

“Being taken to a Jim Brown movie at an all-Black theatre, that was the most masculine experience I have ever had. Either as a movie consumer or when creating movies for an audience – that goal of a Jim Brown movie on a Saturday night in 1972 is what I’m trying to recreate.” - Quentin Tarantino.

“Will someone tell me what the hell is going on here?” - Doctor Who #14 Ncuti Gatwa in his trailer.

CCC CLIPS

>> Sam Worthington  leaves  Pandora for Horizon - Kevin Costner’s latest long haul  – a  quartet of movies covering a Western township  before, during,  after the Civil War.  Costner’s first directing gig for 20 years.  Also saddled up: Sienna Miller and Abbey Lee

>> Vin Diesel’s Fast X, tenth in the Furious franchise, cost $340m … more much than Avatar 2’s $250m.  So it’s true…  petrol is more expensive than water,

>> Sam Jackson has finally managed to make his dream film, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Only took him a dozen years.  Sam is the 91-year-old Grey in the Apple series. And not any 90 minute or two-hour movie. “You cannot tell the story in that time.”

 

 

Missing iconic roles >>>Alan Alda: Taxi Driver. Richard Attenborough: Harry Potter’s Dumbledore. William Devane: Blade Runner. Henry Fonda: It’s A Wonderful Life. Carole Laure: Emmanuelle. Robert Mitchum: Giant. Al Pacino: All That Jazz. Burt Reynolds: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Amanda Seyfried: The Great Gatsby, 2011. Uma Thurman: Pretty Woman<<<

SUPERCALIBALISTIC

You'll believe a man can fly

Up, up and ... no way!

In an effort to make DC films Marvelous, Warner Bros has put the film-makers James Gunn and Peter Safran in DCharge.  Neither one is to blame for the end of Henry Cavill’s Superman reign. (Nor that of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman or the inexplicable dumping of Leslie Grace’s $60m Bat Girl). Warner did all that and then let Cavill declare he was about to take the red cape again… and a matter of days (hours?) later, DC had two new chiefs. And Gunn is penning a new Supie. (It’ll be dark; Gunn loved Robert's Patzman). But no room for Henry. Well, of course not. Do the math… Cavill is 40 on May 5. (Chris Reeve was 35 when he made his fourth and last Supermovie). Any new DC Supie venture will mean three films, at least – shot over, what, six to eight years?  By which time Henry will be  too old for spandex. Or, Bond,
Never mind. He also had a surprise… Having quit The Witcher in order to return to Metropolis, Cavill will instead head Amazon’s Warhammer 40,0000 franchise, based on the UK miniature war game. He couldn’t be happier.  “I’ve loved Warhammer since I was a boy” – as proved by Instagrams of him painting his miniature armies. “For 30 years, I’ve dreamt of  seeing a Warhammer Universe  in live action.”  Now, he feels ready and will  “respect”  the IP that we love…  with something familiar and fantastic that is, as of yet, unseen.” (Might be a good idea, though, to change the colour of the blue T’au aliens, hmm?).  
Shazam star Zachary Levi said we should give Gunn and Safran a break as they try to save DC. Of course, he does. His character is safe! Well, it’s DC’s Deadpool and was produced by Safran. So was Aquaman and Gunn’s Suicide Squad. Incidentally, Gunn produced Brightburn in 2018 - dealing with another baby shot to earth and growing up to be…  an evil villain rather than a heroic Henry.

MEET HYPNO HUSTLER

Hypno-Hustler and his bitches
…and his band, the Mercy Killers!
In the other comicverse, Donald Glover is producing and starring as Marvel’s Hypno-Hustler villain - from Spider-Man’s world as far back as the 1978. Glover – the brain behind Atlanta - was in the running for Andrew Garfield’s web-slinger in 2010 and turned up in Tom Holland’s 2020 Spider-Man: Homecoming as Uncle Aaron. He was also Lando Calrissian in the ill-fated Solo, 2017, and heads the Amazon re-make of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie’  spies,  Mr and Mrs Smith, with Maya Erskine. The Marvel script is by one of Eddie Murphy’s four sons, Myles, previously an ILM special effect digital compositor on nearly 50 movies…   five Star Wars, three Star Treks, two Harry Potters, Avatar, Avengers, Iron Man and The Mandolorian. Now that’s a CV.

LIVING DOLL

She's a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world

She's just ... Barbiedacious!
“Since the first little girl ever existed, there have been dolls. But the dolls were always and forever baby dolls, until…Bang-crash-wallop and Helen Mirren’s  trailer  exploded into a new take on the  2001 chimps and monolith. If Greta Gerwig’s film continues like this, Barbie should be the surprise smash of the summer. Once set up for Amy Schumer, Barbie is the radiant Margot Robbie, backed up by Ryan Gosling and even the 14th Doctor Who, Ncuti Gatwa. “It felt like vertigo, starting to write it,” said Greta  “Like where do you even begin, and what would be the story? This could be a career-ender - then you’re like: I should probably do it.” Margot was similarly courageous. Which hardly surprised Damien Chazelle, her director of the (alas) Babylon flop. “I needed someone utterly fearless. I had a sense she would attack it. There's this sort of ravenous physical bravado to her. On the other hand, she's also the most technically skilled thespian you could hope to work with as a director."
 
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

HALE HALLE
Halle Berry lost the Tina Turner biopic, but won Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. (And James Bond).

  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.

 

HANGING IT  UP

Oldman? Well, 65…  with 70 around the corner

Oldman? Well, 65… with 70 around the corner
Terrible news. Gary Oldman is preparing to retire!  “I’ve had an enviable career, but careers wane and I do have other things that interest me outside of acting.” He’ll be leaving on one helluva high.  He has at least two more seasons of Slow Horses to shoot and says he’ll be happy to quit whenever the series actually ends. I don’t want to be active when I’m 80. I’d be very happy and honoured and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb -  and then hang it up.”  Gary has had a flawless screen career of 96 roles since 1982, from the real Churchill, Herman Mankiewicz,  Gary Oldman (in Greg the Bunny!), Joe Orton, Harry S Truman, Dylan Thomas and Sid Vicious to Commissioner Gordon for Chris Nolan and Sirius Black for Harry Potter… even two chapters of Friends. (Oh yes, he did - The (two-parter) One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding). Plus the amazing double whammy of being both British spymasters, John le Carré's straight Smiley of The Circus and Mick Harron‘s satirical Lamb of Slough House. They’re connected, says Gary. “They’re both disgusted and they both want to walk away. But they’re addicted, addicted to this life.”

SEAN'S  LEGACY

Connery in a fetching hat
If the cap fits ...
Three years after his death, Sean’s Connery Foundation has so far donated $6m to institutions and organisations in Scotland and The Bahamas regarding education and ocean conservation.  Foundation chairman Stephane Connery says: ”Above all, Sean believed that… children from disadvantaged backgrounds, like his own, be given opportunities to succeed. Thanks to Sean’s gift, we dearly hope that our family’s grant making will help young Scots and Bahamians, along with our oceans, to thrive.”  Jason Connery added: “These are the values my dad passed on to us, his family, and through the foundation, we hope to spread values that inspire many for the years to come.”  Bravo, guys.

AND THE WINNER  IS ...

Colin Farrell - Ana de Armas
Col and Ana.  They’d make one helluva team 
As nominations begin fluttering like confetti, we have entered the season of… bliss, sheer bliss. Such as Bill Nighy in Living, Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at On Once, Naomi Ackie and Stanley Tucci in Whitney’s bio, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Plus, I’m betting on my favourites: Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin and - yes here she comes again – Ana de Armas as Marilyn. “Ana’s not aware of how good she is,” said her Blonde director Andrew Dominik. “Certainly, when we were shooting the film, I don’t think she had an inkling of how extraordinary it really was.”
Losing Musicals >>> Fred Astaire: An American in Paris. Petula Clark: Camelot. Montgomery Clift: Oklahoma! Doris Day: South Pacific. Brad Dourif for Hair’s Claude. Audrey Hepburn: Gigi. Danny Kaye for Mary Poppins’ chimney sweep (more bad Cockney!). Olivia Newton-John: Mama Mia! John Travolta: A Chorus Line. Susan Sarandon: Into The Woods. Elizabeth Taylor: My Fair Lady. John Travolta: Chicago <<<

Roll ©redits:

All The President's Men montage: Reg Oliver; Halle Berry: Eon-Danjaq-MGM, 2002; Jennifer Coolidge: Flickr/Thibault, 2012; Jessica Chastain: Freckle Films/Vintage Pictures, 2018; Sean Connery: Connery Foundation, 2022; Cary Elwes; Paramount, 1996; Colin Farrell: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures,  2021; James Garner: NBC/Universal, 1979; Hypno-Hustler: Marvel Comics, 1978; Jack Nicholson: Warner Bros, 1978; Gary Oldman: Apple TV, 2020; Gloria Paul, Eon Productions, 1964; Margot Robbie: Warner Bros, 2022; TC sketch: Graham Marsh, 1976; Plus enormous 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.

BOND LADY

Gloria Paul - not quite a Bond girl

Gloria Paul, the British gift to Italian movies, was among the final few testing as Thunderball’s Domino in 1964. She previously auditioned for Tatiana in From Russia With Love - won in 1963 by a genuine Italian, Daniela Bianchi. Gloria retired in 1996 after a freak accident left her semi-paralysed.

BOND MAN

Aaron Taylor Johnson - not quite a Bond boy

As for Jimbo himself, looks like  Bullet Train’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a strong favourite. Naturally, the ‘tash wil have to go. Plus the triple name? 

She said title

Director Jonathan Nossiter asked Charlotte Rampling, if she ever found being beautiful a burden. "Are you kidding? When you're beautiful you can get away with anything."

“We need them. We love them. There’s a way to do them. When you go back, and you watch Sleepless in Seattle - it’s the best. These movies are well shot. The stories are so good. The performances are amazing.” -  Kate Hudson wanting a rom-com.

“She is a bold and unselfconscious actress - someone whose gift is alive on her skin and in her being. She spins it out of the air in the room.” - Jennifer Lawrence by Meryl Streep.

“I got this phone call from him [creator Mike White] … “I just want to let you know something about Season Two. We found these great locations in Sicily, You’re going to lose your mind, Jennifer. It’s so beautiful here. Oh yeah, one other thing -  you’re gonna die!'” -  Jennifer Coolidge on White Lotus 2.

Jennifer Coolidge - sex goddess

“I got a lot of sexual action from American Pie…  so many benefits to doing that movie. [As Stifler’s Mom]. I mean, there would be like 200 people that I would never have slept with.” - Jennifer Coolidge on life before Tanya McQuoid.

”Film-making is not a male skill… We can all be storytellers.“ - Polly Morgan, London cinematographer of Lucy in the Sky and The Woman King.

“I got Stuart Little and then Stuart Little 2.  Other than that the work just dried up. Incredibly painful. I said my agent: Can we find out what Liam Neeson is turning down and go for those parts?” - Geena Davis, awaiting a Geenaissance.

“I feel that for the last ten years of my life, I’ve been just stuck…  doing these franchises  I’m very grateful for. But I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles.” - Zoe Saldaña, Avatar’s Neytri

Do you stay in character between takes? “No way. Are you kidding? It is top much. You have to put the bag down.” - Julia Roberts.

“It’s the phase of my career where I’m really trying to just impress my kids. My five and ten-year-olds were so enthralled by…  getting to visit the set and see me dressed up in a cape. It made it really cool. You know, it’s very rare that my kids are like, ‘Please go to work!’ Usually, it’s quite the opposite.” - Natalie Portman

 

FATHERS AND SONS

Michael Douglas, once a nepo-baby himself, is making Blood Knot with his son Cameron. As a father and son mending their fences. They look like Kirk and Michael back in the 90s.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon director Ang Lee is directing his son Mason, 33,  as Bruce Lee.  (Not the Tarantino version, I’m sure!) Mason has been training for the role over three years.  Producers include Bruce’s daughter, Sharon. She was in the last version, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, in 1992.

 

COMPANY REPORTS

Dakota Johnson calls her company TeaTime Pictures… Barack and Michelle Obama’s is Higher Ground Productions… Brad Pitt’s is Plan B… Leonardo DiCaprio runs Appian Way Productions … Will Ferrell runs Gary Sanchez Productions (named after a fictional Paraguyan entrepreneur) And there’s a Paris outfit called (in French) Jack Only Has One Eye. Like the camera.


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