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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 just wanted a role, a job and to sleep with Marilyn Monroe.  Undoubtedly, too much to ask for!” -  Clint Eastwood  on arriving in Hollywood in the mid-1950s.

“For my next show, I’d like the lead character to be an old-fashioned hero, an old-fashioned good guy. Jim Rockford is kind of rough around the edges, but he always does the right thing.” - Vince Gilligan, the Better Call/Breaking Bad creator.

“This is a terrible place to spend your life in.  Nobody in Hollywood is normal. Absolutely nobody. And they have such a vicious attitude toward one another. They say much worse things about each other than outsiders say about them, an nobody has any real friends.”  - Gary Cooper on Film City.

“[Director] David [Leitch] and I had always been big fans of Jackie Chan. We’d been talking about him for decades. He’s kinda our Buster Keaton. He’s so talented and underrated even. Just to do something in that direction was what was really appealing to me.” Brad on Bullet Train.

“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.” Chris Rock.

“I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world.” Will Smith.

“He’s fantastic. I mean, he has more charisma in his pinky than most people do in their entire body. So you know, we’d watch him do anything – I mean we’d watch him read the phonebook!” Director Joe Russ on Regé-Jean Page (who the Russo bros back as the next 007).

“I should never lose sight of what a fortunate position I’m in  - to be able to make a living telling stories, which is essentially what I do. I learn a bit about myself on the side but that’s not the reason I’m doing it, of course. It’s an incredible job, really, and an experience that I get to share with other people.” – Colin Farrell.

“If you’re gonna die, don’t die with your mouth open, OK.  Because it’ll come back to bite you in the ass.” - Patrick Fabian on his Better Call Saul dismissal; aka murder.

“As an actor, she dared this town to typecast her, and then simply broke through every dogmatic barrier to find her own way - not to stardom, which I imagine she’d decry, but to great roles in great films and television.  Through her consistently good taste and feisty persistence, she has survived our ever-changing culture, stood the test of time and earned this singular place in history.” – Sally Field’s pal and Lincoln director, Steven Spielberg.

“I still hunt out the good shit because I don’t want to be in Black Widow. It looks like garbage to me… like a bad video game.. I’m embarrassed for Scarlett! I don’t want to be in those movies. I really don’t. I’ll find that kid director that’s gonna be the next Kubrick and I’ll act for him instead.” -  Stephen Dorf. But he shared a Blade, no?

“Comedians talked about getting on Johnny Carson like Dorothy talked about going home.” - Jerry Seinfeld.

“I have a four-hour version,” – Baz Luhrmann on Elvis. (Help!)

“You’ve got to know when to leave the party… I need to prove to myself that I’m not a one-trick pony.” Vince Gilligan on no more Walter White or Saul Goodman. 

 

 

Couples That Weren’t >>> Benicio Del Toro-Pia Zadora: Dirty Dancing. Harrison Ford-Rita Hayworth:The Graduate. Michael Douglas-Isabelle Adjani, Fatal Attraction. George C Scott -Martin Sheen: The Stuntman. As for Thelma & Louise, take yer pick… Nicole Kidman-Rosanna Arquette. Meryl Streep-Goldie Hawn, Raquel Welch-Emma Thompson<<<

ROCKY AND  ROLES

Sylvester Stallone is not happy. His invective is flying around like gym sweat aimed at the surviving co-producer  of the Rocky franchise, Irwin Winkler, for planning a Creed-style movie  about Drago – the Russian foe of Balboa in Rocky IV. Sly says Winkler and his sons “are once again picking clean the bones of another wonderful character I created.” This from the guy who made not two or four but eight films about Rocky, announced a ninth in 2019 - and a prequel TV series. That's picking the gristle as well as bones.

Rocky and his pooch

One man and his dawg.

If Drago happens, who’s next? Aaron Paul as the young(er) trainer, Mickey? Bill Hader for bro-in-law Paulie’s back story? Pistol’s Sydney Chandler as Yo Adrian? And why not a Lassie-like series about Butkus, Rocky’s (actually, Sly’s) beloved bulldog, dead in 1981 from a heart attack and now a tattoo on Sly’s right bicep (covering, in fact, the that of his  separated wife). As recounted in Sly interviews, Butkus had various adventures. He was sold for $50 when Sly was too broke to feed him and bought back (for $3,000) to appear in the first two movies, once Winkler and David Chartoff finally took a gamble on Sly over James Caan, Ryan O’Neal, Burt Reynolds, even Robert Redford(!). ”This dog belongs in the movie. He’d suffered along with me for two years.” Butkus was driven to LA packed in ice as it was so hot, and was once “attacked by an exceptionally large ostrich” in a wildlife preserve. Wow, they could do an ostrich spin-off, as well.

MARILYN FOREVER

Marilyn meets Ana, sort of
Which Marilyn is Monroe?

Also receiving invective galore was poor Ana de Armas  - because of her Cuban accent as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. Not in the film, mind you, but the trailer! Her critics couldn’t even wait for the movie on Netflix. “She is phenomenal in it,” says one of the producers. Fella named Brad Pitt. Ana spent nine months of dialect coaching to get the right accent - “a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.” Result: a 14-minute standing ovation after the first screening at the Venice film festival. “I only had to audition once and [director] Andrew Dominik said: It’s you! But I had to audition for everyone else. The producers. The money people. I always had people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking.” “That’s a tough dress to fill,” Brad adds. “It was ten years in the making. It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.” I have to agree. Ana is terrific even though, at various times, she looked to be channelling not Marilyn but Helen George –Trixie in Call the Midwife since 2012.

FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE ...

Sssh. Don’t read this out loud.  We’ve been disappointed before. But it looks like an Amy Winehouse biopic is close to happening.  A director has been found – Sam Taylor-Johnson, she who helmed  the first Fifty Shades of Grey. The scenario is done. But not any deal with the best actress to be Amy. Seven years ago, that was to be The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo , herself,  Noomi Rapace. Title? Back to Black. What else? “I’m still hoping that Legally Blonde 3 is gonna come together in the right way. It’s just like Top Gun. They waited a long time to make another version of that movie and I loved the nostalgia piece they incorporated in it. So definitely that gave us a lot of inspiration about what we would want to do with Elle Woods…”  - Reese Witherspoon… heading for a crash landing.  Unless she gets Tom Cruise on board.  
 
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.

 

CARY ON

Cary Grant - plane crazy in North by Northwest
You may like to know that our Cary Grant page has been totally refurbished following a ton of new info coming my way. Didja know he was always being offered pilots - fliers not TV pilots, he never touched TV - and a full dozen musicals! Everything from Guys and Dolls to The Pajama Game. And he almost turned down To Catch A Thief to make White Christmas. He had sung in Madam Butterfly, Kiss and Make Up, had a duet with Katharine Hepburn (to the leopard) in Bringing Up Baby. He  warbled ‘You’re The Top’ in his  Cole Porter biopic, Night and Day, and finally sang-along with the orphans in Room For One More. Biographer Mark Glancy called him a "competent though not a very expressive singer."
Like most of Hollywood, Grant hated director Michael Curtiz. Indeed, on the wrap day of Night and Day, Cary looked him in eye and said, in front of cast and crew, in the stuff of Hollywood legend: “If I’m ever chump enough to work with you again, you’ll know I’m either broke or I’ve lost my mind.”

FETCHING  FLETCH

Fletch meets Fletch
From Chevy Chase to John Hamm
Fletch is back!  Who?   Well, yes, you’re right, Gregory McDonald’s investigative journalist was last seen in the 80s when Chevy Chase, of all people, played him – after McDonald rejected Mick Jagger and Burt Reynolds. Twenty years ago, Ben Affleck, Joshua Jackson and Justin Lee were similarly thwarted. The reboot,  Confess, Fletch,  has him played by Jon Hamm – Mr Big on TV  before Brian Cox, Bryan Cranston, Bob Odenkirk exploded. This time, it’s Fletch himself who is a suspect of multiple murders. Others include his Mad Men co-star John Slattery and Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan,  If Fletch  proves himself innocent, he  should be  around for more tele-chapters.  “I am beyond excited to continue to tell the story of Irwin M. Fletcher,” says Hamm. “But please don’t call him Irwin.”  Hamm calls him shambling, off-centre, “yet somehow witty and sophisticated, messy, funny.” Er, isn’t that Columbo?

HAPPY 0060TH, JIMBO

British quad poster for Dr No
The first Bond film is 60. He’s headed for a century if he carries on like this… Double Oscar-winner Shelley Winters was there the night Sean Connery became a superstar. As she recalled in her auto-bio, Shelley II. They’d been friends (and more) for years and he’d invited her to accompany him to the LA media preview of something called Dr No. "He was very nervous about the film; in fact, he hated it… I was enjoying myself immensely. The special effects were great and Joe Wiseman [another old pal] was marvellous, the ultimate villain. Sean was handsome, graceful, elegant, debonair and sexy, sexy, sexy. Sean had no idea what a sexual turn-on he was on the screen. He felt the whole thing was glitzy, mannered and dangerous." He went on like this for ten minutes - until Shell shut him up. "Sean, if you really don’t want to do any more Bond pictures, just ask for some outrageous sum like a $1m a picture for three pictures. He started to laugh hysterically… As the world knows, they accepted his terms. Though there have been other James Bonds… none of them - but none of them - have had the élan of Sean Connery. It’s a part he has made uniquely his own."
Missing Musicals >>> Ann-Margret: Evita. Fred Astaire: Porgy and Bess (in blackface!!!). Judy Garland: Annie Get Your Gun.  Betty Hutton: Oklahoma!  Richard Gere: Grease.  Walter Matthau: Fiddler on the Roof.  Robert Mitchum: Guys and Dolls. Peter Sellers: Tommy (Nicholson did it!).  Robert Shaw: Camelot. Jon Voight: All That Jazz. and Phantom of the Paradise., Christopher Walken: Les Miserables <<<

Roll ©redits:

All The President's Men montage: Reg Oliver, 1976; Chevy Chase: Universal, 1984; Ana de Amas: Plan B Entertainment, 2019; Halle Berry:  Eon-Danjaq-MGM, 2002; Dr No poster: Eon/United Artists, 1962; Norma Foster: GSP Press, 1965; James Garner: NBC/Universal, 1979; Cary Grant: MGM 1958; Jon Hamm: Miramax, 2021;  Just Jaekin:, Getty 1977; Marilyn Monroe: 20th Century Fox, 1962;  Jack Nicholson: Paramount, 1989; Tom Selleck: Belisarius Productions/Glenn A Larson Productions/Universal TV,1988; Sylvester and Butkus Stallone: MGM, 1976;  Jean-Louis Trintignant, Cinétel-Euro International-Président Films, 1971; 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.

NORMA WITH LOVE

Norma Foster - never quite a Bond girl

Our latest nearly-Bond lover, Norma Foster, comes from East London. Not the Cockney capital but East London in South Africa.Where, naturally, her surname was originally Vorster (like the State President John Vorster). She was 25, an ex-Miss South Africa, when seen for the second Bond Girl: Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love, 1963. This was the first of the great Bond Girl Hunts - Catherine Deneuve, Sylva Koscina, Margaret Lee, Gabriella Licudi, Virna Lisi, Tania Mallet, even Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, Pia Lindstrom. "Ian Fleming  visualised his heroine as a rather more buxom Garbo," said director Terence Young. "We have long since abandoned that hope. All we want now is a very exciting woman, a raving beauty with impact." Enter: Italy’s Daniela Bianchi. (Both her voice and legs were dubbed!)  I kept running into Norma on 60s’ film sets. She joined Gert Fröbe, Goldfinger himself, in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and Bernard Lee (the first M) in Ring of Spies. She was A Study in Terror with Judi Dench (the third M) … and who could forget The Spy With the Cold Nose. That was a dog, that was. But not Butkus.

She said title

“I don’t make films anymore. Because of political reasons. Because the film industry is absolutely reactionary, racist, and patriarchal… By leaving this industry for good, I want to take part in another world, in another cinema.” - Adèle Haenel, the last Lady Chatterley.

“My God, I'm one of the luckiest ladies alive.” -  Julie  Andrews

“Listen, I’m not asking for any sort of pity. My life is extraordinary. I’m thrilled with my life. But I do wish, for the betterment of society in general, that we would all disengage from a cycle of bullying and hatred. We’ve just lost empathy, and we just don’t give people the benefit of the doubt - specifically women. We just assume the worst from women, and I don’t know why.” - Olivia Wilde,  director/star of Don’t Worry Darling

“Of course Andy [Warhol] foresaw the Kardashians. Of course, of course.”  - Edie Sedgwick’s sister Alice Sedgwick Wohl,.

“As a filmmaker and writer, I am a bit of a sadist. I like putting my characters in these terrible situations, because they force you to confront who you are,” - Ofir Raul Grazier,Israeli  director of The Cakemaker and America

“What happened with my grandmother was horrific because Hitchcock was a tyrant. He was talented and prolific - and important in terms of art - but power can poison people. She was an amazing actress and he stopped her from having a career.” – Dalota Johnson on grandma Tippi Hedren, Alfred Hitchcok’s discovery for The Birds and Marnie.

“I remember reading that somebody once said: You’re either in love with Emmylou Harris or you haven’t met her yet. I feel like that about Dakota.”- Elvis Presle’’s grand-daughter, Riley Keough, on TIppi Hedren’s grand-daughter, Dakota Johnson.

“I mean, I had it with The Professional, too [her 1994  debut].  “It was slaughtered critically, and now, despite having been in Marvel and Star Wars movies, it’s the main thing people come up to me about. That and Star Wars are two examples of things that when they came out, I was like: Oh, my God, this is a disaster!  And then 20 years later - actually, 30 years later for The Professional - it’s beloved.” – Natalie Portman

Asked if she dressed for men or women, Angie Dickinson said: “I dress for women. I undress for men.”

RIP JUST

Just Jaekin and his muse, Sylvia Krystel

Just Jaeckin, director of the most financially successful French film, Emmanueulle – it ran on the Champs Elysees for 13 years! – has died at 82.  I spent a most entertaining afternoon with him – and fellow scribe Frederic Albert Levy – recording a commentary together for a (US) DVD bonus for his 1983 movie, Gwendoline.  Worth a listen, if you can find it.


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