James Booth

  1. Michael Caine,  Zulu, l963.     Caine tested as Private Hook, the shyster Cockney soldier, moaning about  the heat and discomfort before in the 1897 battle of Rorke’s Drift in Zululand.  Booth was already cast and Cy Endfield just wanted to hear what Caine sounded like.  As he was leaving, Endfield called him back.  “Look, you’re tall, skinny, fair, blue-eyed –  you don’t look like a Cockney to  me.  More like an aristocratic officer.  Can you do  an  upper-crust  voice?”  “Why,  Mr.  Endfield,” said Caine, in an Etonian voice, “I’ve been doing it for years.” Caine won this  first  starring  role  30  minutes  before  his stardom-or-quit birthday deadline. He stole the film and his star was flown.
  2. Nigel Green, Zulu, l963.     Booth was first offered Sergeant Borne, until Royal Shakespeare Company commitments barred him from  location – while he could play Hook in London. Producer Joe Levine  loved him giving Caine’s  seven-year-contract to Booth… because Caine would never be a big  star. “You look homosexual”!
  3. Michael Caine,  Alfie,  l966.     This time he didn’t Hook it…  Director Lewis Gilbert had great trouble finding  his Alfie, created on stage by John Neville (of all people) and continued by Michael Medwin. Youngbloods Booth, Laurence Harvey, Tony Newley, Terence Stamp were worried by the abortion scene. “They didn’t want to be an unsympathetic hero,” says Caine. “Lewis didn’t really know who I was but [his son] Jonny took him to see me as Harry Palmer in The Ipcres File…” 



 Birth year: 1927Death year: 2005Other name: Casting Calls:  3