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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 will always go back to the Old West and and swag out. I love Westerns too much and literally cannot leave them alone." - Jeymes Samuel, wiz director of The Harder They Fall.

"Now I’ve at least tried out what it’s like to shoot a Marvel movie. But I don’t think I need that experience a second time." - Bill Murray on his Ant-Man gig.

"The longer my beard is, the longer I’ve been out of work." - The White Lotus star Steve Zahn

"I make my films with 18 good friends." - Ingmar Bergman. "That’s Interesting," said David Lean. "I make mine with 150 enemies."

"Casting seems to me like a totally unnatural and absurd practice. Cineastes should imagine their films for the persons they want to film the most - usually, their lover, plus one. There should only be one person imaginable for a part." - Leos Carax, Best Director winner at Cannes 2021.

"Making movies, to me, is so much fun that I don’t think I could do anything else in life." - Bill Butler at 100, cinematographer of 84 films – like The Conversation, Grease, Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, three Rocky sequels,

"In general, when people have sex, they take their clothes off so I’m stunned by the fact that we don’t want to look at the reality of life. Why this puritanism has been introduced is, in my opinion, wrong." Paul Verhoeven answering critics of his Cannes film, Benedetta.

Brad

"Of all my characters, Cliff Booth [Brad Pitt] has ripened most. People really just end up being really fascinated with him. Two years later… people still bring him up and talk about him. He seems to have a shelf life that resonates the more time passes… Even Cliff doesn’t know how many people he’s killed." - Tarantino on his film (and book) Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood.

"Kissing scenes, huge challenges for me. Love scenes? I hate ‘em. I hate ’em, I hate ’em, I hate ’em." Tenet’s John David Washington

"Star Wars is definitely sticky because if you make a certain brand of nerd happy, you’re actually middle-fingering an adjacent breed of nerd. If you take it too seriously, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t take it seriously enough, you’re definitely doing it wrong. It needs that total joy of the greatest franchise ever, along with a kind of swagger." - Rick and Morty creator Don Harmon.

"There are things that I love about JM Barrie’s novel that I had to leave out of my screenplay because I couldn’t do them better than Steven Spielberg did." - David Lowery, director of Peter Pan & Wendy

"I called up whoever it was and said: There’s only one man in this business who should come in, whack Jimmy, and ride off with Edie, and I am that man. They were like: Sure, great. We’ll add your name to the list of all the Irish actors who think that they should be on The Sopranos." - Alec Baldwin.

Lost Biopix >>> Audrey and Katharine Hepburn: Saint Joan. Leslie and Trevor Howard: Lawrence of Arabia. Scarlett Johansson: Mary, Queen of Scots. Mickey Rourke: Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire. Alfred Molina: Hitchcock. Gregory Peck: The Glenn Miller Story.  Jon Voight: Pope John Paul II. Tuesday Weld: Frances (Farmer). Robin Williams: Liberace in Behind the Candelabra <<<

SPIES  IN YOUR EYES

While Bond’s away, the mice will play… As we await the announcement, splashy or quiet, for film or Amazon Prime, of a new Bond actor, the copy-Bond business has begun again. It’s like the 60s never went away. That’s when copy 007s were everywhere. James Coburn is Derek Flint, Dean Martin as Matt Helm, David Niven was as Jason Love, Rod Taylor tried Boysie Oakes. Even Neil Connery was in some Italian nonsense known as Operation Kid Brother! What’s new is that two of today’s six spy projects are starring nearly-Bonds.

Spies Cavill, Fiennes and Cole

1. Director Matthew Vaughn has had enough of pussyfooting around Jimbo with his Kingsmen and is going to war. With Henry Cavill heading the first Apple film of the first book by Ellie Conway about Argylle, "the world’s greatest spy." (Hah!) Cavill was beaten by Craig for Casino Royale. Vaughan calls the book "the most incredible and original spy franchise since Ian Fleming… This is going to reinvent the spy genre." Hah-encore! How often was that said in the 60s. And yet where are Flint, Helm, Love and Boysie, today? Vaughn’s cast includes Sam Rockwell, Sam Jackson and… yes, yes, Dua Lipa! Of course, if it flops, we know the headline. Argylle Sucks.
2. Ralph Fiennes, once up for GoldenEye and currently 007’s M, is also working for Matthew Vaughn. He heads The King’s Man, the prequel to the two Kingsman movies - it’s usually heroes, not titles, which keep the same names. This is - was? - due for release around Christmas by Disney… which seemed on the point of buying Bond 18 months ago. (Maybe it discovered one of the non-Fleming books in the deal was called Solo..!).
3. Joe Cole, from Gangs of London, is the new Harry Palmer, in a series take on Michel Caine’s 60s’ spy guy in The Ipcress File by Len Deighton. Caine made three Palmers for 007’s co-producer, Harry Saltzman; and two lesser pix in the 90s with Jason Connery.

Spies Cooper, Gadot and Oldman

4. Dominic Cooper was once Ian Fleming in a mini-series. We’ve already seen his disgraced spy, Fielding Scott, in Spy City, aka 60s Berlin. Everything was draggy. Except Cooper. Yet if he fancied this as his 007 test, he must try harder. There is sequel talk.
5. Wonder Woman Gal Gadot is also going Bondian in Heart of Stone, an international spy thriller of the "anything Craig and Cruise can do I can do better" variety. Lotsa luck, girl.
6. The only one l’m really looking forward to (also from Apple) is the mini-series, Slow Horses, from the terrific Mick Harron novels, about MI5 rejects, reduced to paper pushing in a squalid old building far from Le Carre’s Circus, here called The Park (it’s at Regent’s Park, no need to explain the metaphor). Their Falstaffian boss is fat and farty, a blisteringly sarcastic joe called Lamb. Jackson Lamb. A perfect first series for Gary Oldman, but not in a fat-suit, it seems, and probably not making a point with his farts – the public laughs at farting and therefore will miss his points. Jonathan Pryce, the Tomorrow Never Dies villain plays a retried spook known as OB – Old Bastard! Oldman was up for Edward Scissorhands, Nixon, James Dean and Obi-Wan Kenobi but never 007. Then again, he was George Smiley, in the 2010 Tinker Tailor Tailor Soldier Spy. Gary can play anyone. And has. From Sid Vicious to Winston Churchill.

 
Peter Sellers

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

  Marylin's cute giggle

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

  Shirley Temple in Little Women

TOO BUJOLD
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.

 

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN

There’s a new Spielberg in town… And being the daughter of Steven and Kate Capshaw didn’t help. “The name can really only do so much,” says Destry Spielberg, 24. She used to be an equestrian until a bad accident ruined her Olympic hopes. Acting and modelling didn’t work, despite dropping her name and using her middle name, as Destry Allyn. “People still knew.” She jumped the next fence by turning to her love of film - “the art of it” - directing and acting in a short called Rosie. Now she’s finished The Rightway with others grappling with hot monickers. Actor Hopper Penn (Sean’s son) and scenarist Owen King (Stephen’s son). Good luck to one and all. Destry Spielberg

SEYDOUX SAY STAR

Lea Sedoux Despite the delayed Bond this has been the year of Léa Seydoux. She had a record four films at the Cannes festival, three in competition. She would have been the busiest star there except she contracted Covid and had to stay home. Pity, because she’s such a good interview. As Joe Itchi found out @ Deadline Hollywoood…
“Why acting? I fell in love with an actor. A very arrogant actor. [She’d follow him around Paris streets, making excuses to run into him, but he ignored her] . I thought, OK, I’m going to become more famous than he is. I want to prove to him I exist and that I can be a great actress. I won. Except not really, because he never loved me.”

TOO MUCH

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.

DEAR SIR MICHAEL

The mighty Michael Caine
"With my appearance and my accent, I knew for sure I would never be a star."
Not often one can pay tribute to someone still with us. Such words usually flow when you’re ready for your final close-up. [EXT Cemetery. Raining]. But since you announced that Best Sellers "is my last part really," I must say: Thank you! Not only for the films (good and awful; but two Oscars; 176 roles including Alfie, Harry Brown, Harry Palmer, Jack Carter, Charlie Crocker, Horatio, Jekyll and Hyde, Alfred Pennyworth, Stalin(!) and, best, Peachy Carnehan with Sir Sean in The Man Who Would Be King), but also for all the interviews in the late 60s when I was assistant - editing Showtime and you were filming non-stop on both sides of the pond. We’d meet up once you were back at Pinewood, say, you’d give me enough material for your releases over the next three/four months - when we’d meet again and ditto…
Fun times. Fun stories. Coming home to find Richard Widmark having a cuppa with your Mum in the kitchen! (He was filming in your street). You were shooting in Kennington Park when you heard a shrill "Maurice!! Whatcha doin' 'ere then?" – from a stray aunty out shopping. Meeting Cary Grant and Prince Phillip in Danny Kaye’s kitchen - notta lotta people can say that. (HRH called you: Old Ipcress). And, of course, being warned off suede shoes by John Wayne because when fans see you in the next urinal, they tend to turn towards you and make a sodden mess of your finest suedes.
Now you say it’s all over. Not quite. You’ve still got Now You See Me 3 to finish. And another book. Or two. "I have a spine problem which affects my legs so I can’t walk very well," you told BBC Radio 5's Simon Mayo. "There’s not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man that’s 88." (Unless you’re Clint, another great and successive interviewee). Thanks again for it all, Mike, Happy retirement.
Hang on… Is that your phone? Bet it's Christopher Nolan calling. With a great cameo. And a comfy chair.

Missing Musicals >>> Mick Jagger: Annie. Judy Garland: South Pacific. Nicole Kidman: Mama Mia!  Anthony Newley (one of my idols):  Stop The World, I Want To Get Off (and he co-wrote it!). Julia Roberts: Chicago. Anthony Perkins: West Side Story. Susan Sarandon: In The Woods. Peter Sellers (another idol): Fagin in Oliver! and the Mary Poppins chimney sweep <<<

Photo ©redits:

All The President's Men montage: Reg Oliver,1976; Geneviève Bujold: Paramount TV, 1995. Henry Cavill: Warner Bros, 2013;  Joe Cole: IMDb;  Dominic Cooper: AMC+, 2020; Ralph Fiennes: Disney, 2021; John Hurt: Alacran Pictures-Tornasol Films-Entre Chien et Loup, etc, 2016; Lily James: Hulu, 2021; Marilyn Monroe: 20th Century Fox, 1962;  Gary Oldman: Apple TV; Regé-Jean Page: IMDb; Brad Pitt: Columbia Pictures, 2018; Léa Seydoux: Eon/MGM, 2019; Rosario Dawson: Disney, 2020. Tom Selleck: Belisarius Productions/Glenn A Larson Productions/Universal TV,1988 . Michael Caine, Rank Organisation, 1964. Thunderball: Eon Productions,1965. 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, 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.

Who's that Lily James

SO, YES, WHOSIS?

Clue: you used to see her in a red swimsuit on a sunny beach. Right, it’s CJ, aka Pamela Anderson from Baywatch.… Except it isn’t. This is Downton Abbey Does Malibu… as the usually demure Lily James plays Pammy in the TV mini-series, Pam and Tommy, about Pamela Anderson’s first marriage (of five) to the Motley Crew drummer, Tommy Lee. And that leaked sex-tape.

She said title

"Never let anyone stand in the way of your dreams. If someone says you can't, you say: Watch me. If someone says: 'That’s going to be hard,' you say: 'I know but I’m a woman, I’m used to that.'" - Halle Berry on her directing debut, Bruised

"The most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around" - Madonna

"Oh, you must put your flesh and blood and everything into it. I love it when it’s true. And I hate when I feel it isn’t." Lea Seydoux on acting

"I love old people but I don't like getting old." – Ursula Andress

"This is not a bad day. I'm taking my clothes off for Jason Statham. I'll be OK today." - body double actress Laura Grady on doubling Amy Stuart in Crank. "“I remember getting the call for Crank 2. Amy requested me. But I was pregnant. You can't be a pregnant body-double. It's a liability."

"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 on no plastics.

"I don’t actually know where the Oscar is at the moment. I think it’s possibly in my son’s bedroom. But it was on the back of the toilet for a long time, yes." - Kate Winslet

"You get to be somebody else, and in different places; you get to really see the world through a different lens. It’s almost like having multiple lives in one lifespan." - Radha Mitchell on acting

"Sometimes they think I’m Lorraine Bracco, or Laura San Giacomo or Marisa Tomei. I’m sure it happens to them all the time, too." – Annabella Sciorra on being stopped on the street.

"Great ideas are not low-hanging fruit. I’m like one of those pigs that searches for truffles." - Julia Louis-Dreyfus

"I turned down more roles than I accepted... and to be honest, the ones I accepted were often for all the wrong reasons." - Ava Gardner (48 examples on her page).

"I'm just going to do documentaries from now on. They’re far easier. No hair and make-up." - Helena Bonham Carter

"I want to do something absolutely stupid and silly, like, you know, The Avengers or whatever. Something where I got to have a giggle with mates." - Emilia Clarke

"Death will be a great relief. No more interviews." - Katharine Hepburn.

"When I read it, I didn't get it - I thought it was a typo somehow. I kept looking at it. It was the one thing in the script that I was looking at going: 'Is that right? Can that be right? How is that right?' I thought: 'Is there a better way to say that? Am I not getting it?' I just don't know how to do it." - Renée Zellweger, on her famous Jerry Maguire line: "You had me at 'Hello'…"

"I used to teach English… I was terrible. I had all the 17-year-olds, completely high on pot, so no one would ever answer any of my questions. It was like 40 red-eyed rabbits just staring at me." – Call My Agent and Stillwater star, Camille Cottin.

 


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