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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 someone pointed out that Nicholson had refused not one (as I reported on his page) but two roles in The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion in 2000. Now I find he passed on the cop Arbogast in the 1997 shot- for-shot copy of Psycho and refused the slick villain of Horrible Bosses 2, 2013. All of which brings his total to…

1. Nicholson - 167 movies 
2. Brando - missed 164 
3. Cary Grant -147 
4. Paul Newman - 147
5. Tom Cruise - 110

Highest Brit Sir Sean at 108.
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)



Cassel as Doom

Rumours persist about the French Westworld star Vincent Cassel joining yet another (wasted) attempt at the Fantastic Four. “I refused the rôle several years ago - like all the other superhero film villains. Then, the comic book artist, the Brazilian Mike Deodato Jr, chose to give my face to his Doctor Doom character. I don’t really don’t know why but I find that rather cool.”


He said title

"Nobody on this planet knows or has thought as much about ThunderCats as I have… I didn't pay attention in school, made terrible grades. And the reason? I was writing my ThunderCats screenplay through my entire 10th grade year. And I was hand-writing it… 272 pages long. I still have it." – but it's not the one being made by the newest hot-shot director in town, Adam Wingard.

"I did have a small suspicion that you Brits might like a film about drinking." Danish director Thomas Vinterberg on his Another Round Bafta win. He got the Oscar, as well. And DiCaprio got the re-make rights.

"If you don't give me the part I will kill you!" - Peter O'Toole to The Stuntman writer-director Richard Rush in 1978.

"I'm so honored to be able to be the one to referee the ultimate matchup." - Godzilla vs King Kong's Adam Wingard. Aw c'mon, man and you'd kicked off this column so well…

"I'm going to keep my mouth shut because I have nothing to complain about. I feel bad about feeling good." Russian-born director Ilya Naishuller on his smash hit, Nobody.

"There are more amazing things to come that will comment on or inform the actual incidents of Breaking Bad in a surprising way." - Bob Odenkirk (he's Nobody) on the final Better Call Saul season.

"Nicol Williamson was a wild man, too… Late one night, Nicol got quite loaded and threatened to throw Bob Dylan off a hotel balcony!" - director John Flynn, on The Jerusalem File, 1971.

"This is about the 36th movie for Godzilla. He's made just a few more films than Elvis." - Adam Wingard, back on form to wind up this edition.

Superhero choices >>> Batman: Richard Armitage, Tom Cruise, Joshua Jackson,  Bruce Willis. Captains America: Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Schwarzie (with that accent!), Will Smith, Channing Tatum. Iron Man: Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Timothy Olyphant, Clive Owen, Sam Rockwell (he became Any Old Iron’s rival Justin Hammer). Wonder Women: Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan (TVersion), Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone <<<


Michael B Jordan really doesn't have any remorse
Move aside, Jack Ryan, Mike’s here…
OK… Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, who was The Falcon, is the new Captain America. Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier will next be known as The White Wolf. Michael B Jordan has cleverly jumped in where Tom Hardy and Keanu Reeves feared to tred as author Tom Clancy’s John Clark - but under the ex-SEAL’S real name of John Kelly - in Without Remorse, which has been on and off and off since the thriller was published in 1993. The tough guy was Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber in the Jack Ryan movies. Jordan will reprise the role via the 1998 book, Rainbow Six. Jordan is also due back, directing himself this time, as boxer Adonis Creed, who is not Muhammad Ali although Jordan will be down the line. However, he will not be the upcoming black Superman… who is Calvin Elllis and not Clark Kent and based on… Barack Obama. Are we clear?


Janet Leigh's tonsils
It has many rivals, but this is the most famous sequence in cinema history. The Slashing, as it was christened in the script - “an impression of a knife slashing, as if tearing at the very screen, ripping the film.” Janet Leigh’s murder in Psycho’s shower. It had been copied by global directors (Scorsese included), re-shot move for move by Gus Van Sant (such a useless exercise!) and superbly examined in documentary detail in 78/52 - for its 78 camera angles and 52 edits. Or what Hitch called “52 pieces of film stuck together.” He also called the movie a joke. “I was horrified to find some people took it seriously.” Part of the joke was killing off his leading lady in the first 20 minutes. Ah, but which one…?
When I met Hitch at his favourite chair, in his favourite suite at his favourite London hotel, Claridges, on April 21, 1966 (memorable meets are always in a diary), he told me about casting. ”You have a certain character in mind, certain settings. As you begin the execution of it - well, the thing you start with is the first compromise... the compromise of casting.” And so Angie Dickinson, Martha Hyer, Shirley Jones, Hope Lange, Piper Laurie (Carrie’s Mom), Lee Remick (Damien’s Ma in The Omen), Eva Marie Saint (from his previous North By North West) Jean Simmons, Lana Turner all lost the film that made Leigh stick to baths only for the rest of her life.
Dickinson got her own shower moment 19 years later in Dressed To Kill. Of course she did - her director was the eternal Hitch copyist, Brian De Palma. Which is why he also also used a body double… and then made a film, called just that. As for the legend that the great Saul Bass actually directed his own storyboard… Janet said he didn’t. Saul told me he did. Some of it, I would say - probably with the body double, Playboy cover girl Marli Renfro. I tend to believe Saul because, there in his favourite chair, Hitch told me that after working for months on a script, then shooting and editing it in his head, he was, well, rather bored with actually having to shoot the damn thing!
Peter Sellers

Among Terry Gilliam’s 30 years of Don Quixotes: “the earthly marvel that was John Hurt.”

  Marylin's cute giggle

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

  Shirley Temple in Little Women

Geneviève Bujold quit the Voyager bridge after two days as the first female Star Trek skipper.

  Tom Selleck as Indian Jones

TOM JONESHow Indiana Jones was supposed to look. With Steven Spielberg’s first choice. Tom Selleck.



Rosario Dawson as Ashoka Tano
Rosario Dawson is the perfect Ashoka Tano
Whole lotta casting goin’ on in Film City. Disney has announced like 50,000 films for the coming years, although they’re all Lucasfilm or Marvel, with very few actual Disney items. Rosario Dawson and Donald Glover are bringing their Ahsoka Tano and Lando Calrissian to TV. Florence Pugh and Mahershala Ali as the new Black Widow and Blade. Plus Simu Liu heading Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (the ones Peter Jackson forgot?). Plus some fascinating  crossovers… Marvel chief Kevin Feige is planning a Star Wars movie while JJ Abrams moves to DC for the black Superman. But as the finest Hollywood commentator, Richard Rushfield, says - Hollywood has forgotten the cardinal rule of entertainment: Leave them wanting more. "We now," says Rushfield, "give them too much of everything."   Yeah, well, there’s a noun for that. Greed.


Father Gregory and grandson Ethan
There was this unknown TV writer called Gene Roddenbery .. His favourite books were those by CS Forrester about a British Royal Navy hero, Captain Horatio Hornblower. Gene loved the film, too - with Gregory Peck. In fact, it gave him the idea for Hornblower in Space… better known over 55 years as Star Trek. Like most movie stars back then, Peck wasn’t into TV. His grandson is quite different. Ethan Peck has scored 45 acting gigs in the last 26 years. We’ve seen him in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, as the young George Clooney in The Midnight Sky - why, he’s even made a flick with Mariah Carey. (Why, indeed!). Today he goes where Grandpa never went. The young Mr Peck is the new Mr Spock in everything Star Trekian. From Discovery and Short Treks to Strange New Worlds. What you might call… Hornblower Jnr in Space.


Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft
Lara Croft returns… And she’s in good company. While waiting for 007 to get cracking, MGM chose Misha Green - the Lovecraft Country creator - to writer-direct Alicia Vikander’s second outing as the female Indy Jones (with touches of Tarzan). The Swedish Alicia (Mrs Michael Fassbender) took over from Angelina Jolie in 2017, beating 20 other candidates, including two Underworlders Kate Beckinsale, Rhona Mitra… three Twilighters Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Kristen Stewart… 007’s Gemma Arterton, Harry Potter’s Emma Watson, Marvel’s Wanda, Elizabeth Olsen, Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, Transformers’ Megan Fox, TRON’s Olivia Wilde, even Jennifer Lawrence (who?). Oh, it’s a crowded world out there.
Couples That Weren’t >>> Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi: Gangs of New York. Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor: Camelot. Robert Duvall-Michelle Pfeiffer, The Silence of the Lambs. Matt Damon-Joaquin Phoenix: Brokeback Mountain. Felicity Jones, Scott Eastwood: Fifty Shades of Grey. Sophia Loren-Gregory Peck: Travels Wjth Anita. Peter O’Toole-Jeff Bridges: The Stuntman Denzel Washington-Diana Ross: The Bodyguard. Emma Watson-Miles Teller: La La Land <<<

Photo ©redits:

All The President's Men montage: Reg Oliver,1976; Geneviève Bujold: Paramount TV, 1995. Rosario Dawson: Marvel, 2020. Dr Doom: Marvel, 2019. Imogen Hassall: Hammer Films, 1968. John Hurt: Alacran Pictures-Tornasol Films-Entre Chien et Loup, etc, 2016. Michael B Jordan: Nadja Klier/Paramount Pictures, 2021. Kim Novak: Columbia Pictures, 1958; Marilyn Monroe: 20th Century Fox, 1962; Ethan Peck: Paramount TV, 2021. Gregory Peck: Warner Bos, 1950. Janet Leigh: Paramount, 1960. Tom Selleck: Belisarius Productions/Glenn A Larson Productions/Universal TV,1988 . TC sketch: Graham Marsh, 1976; Alicia Vikander: MGM, 2017; Vincent Cassel: HBO Inc, 2020. 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.
When Imogen Rules the Earth


They used to call her The Countess of Cleavage… Imogen Hassall was among the many (Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jill St John, Raquel Welch) seen for Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever. She tested with such potential Bonds as a former New Zealand sheep farmer called Roger Green. Oh no, said Hollywood, having suffered George Lazenby, “not another antipodean!”


Writing about life after death and all that jazz can be easier than casting it… Ask Tim Burton. Before Michael Keaton headed Beetlejuice, 1987, Burton thought about US stand-up comic Sam Kinison and the UK sit-down Dudley Moore. In truth, Tim only ever wanted Sammy Davis, a favourite star of his since childhood. The suits were horrified. "Sometimes my ideas don’t go down so well with the studios. But hey, you try." And then there was the greater problem of Lydia. Burton sped through Justine Bateman, Jennifer Connelly, Diane Lane, Juliette Lewis, Lori Loughlin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields. And fell for Winona Ryder. Hey, didn’t we all...


Kim Noval kitty mask
Actually, it’s Kim Novak as a Greenwich Village witch with her familiar - a scene-stealing Siamese cat called Pyewacket. - in 1958’s Bell, Book and Candle.

She said title

"This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves and hold onto to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that. This is for you. You inspire me to keep going." Producer-director-editor Chloé Zhao on her historic Oscar win.

"It’s going to be a visual acid trip to watch. It’s just going to be really cool.” - Natahsa Henstridge on This Game’s Called Murder.

"I really want to do comedy. I’m tired of crying. [Laugh] I’m a crackerjack. I really have to put myself through the wringer to get there." -  Mira Sorvino

"I like complicated characters. That was a very important book for me. Immortality is something that I started exploring on Eternals but is something I want to question and understand." - Chloé Zhao on reimagining Dracula.

"I’ve been working with this nose, which I’m never going to change. My nose is going to stay there forever. I like it. It has a lot of personality." -  Sophia Loren

"It’s pronounced ‘romaine’ - like the lettuce." - Rebecca Romjin

"The more famous an actress becomes, the less she's allowed to eat." -  Lana Turner.

"I don’t do T&A very well because I haven’t got much of either." -   Tea Leoni

"I was an idiot in terms of career-building, but I had a great time." - Sally Kellerman

"As you get older, you realise your parents aren't these superheroes. They're actually people."- Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

“Right now I want to go back to my chickens and dogs. Hopefully they still remember me.” - Chloé Zhao at the blissful end to her Oscar campaign.


Beardy Bond

"We want to release the movie at the same time all around the world,” Daniel Craig told Jimmy Fallon about Covid, “and this isn't the right time." So, seeya in October (like after his summer gig with ZZ Top) in the Bond Special Home Page. All you ever need to know about Jimbo. And more… Would I lie?



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