Jeff Bridges


  1. Leonard Whiting, Romeo and Juliet, UK-Italy, 1967. The first version where the stars were close to the ages of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.  Leonard Whiting and Olivia were 15 and 17. At MGM, circa 1935, Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer were, ridiculously, 43 and 35!  Italian director Franco Zeffirelli saw 14 Juliets but only eight possible Romeos from Hollywood’s Jeff Bridges, Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Matheson, Kurt Russell and  the two eldest Osmond brothers, Alan and Wayne … to  UK singers  Phil Collins and  Paul  McCartney – Lulu had been in the Juliet mix.

  2. Ryan O’Neal, Love Story, 1970.

  3. Chris Mitchum, Big Jake, 1970.    Or, The Million Dollar Kidnapping when  Lloyd’s son, Jeff, passed Michael McCandles to Robert’s lad, (from Chisum and Rio Lobo) “The man was more of a mentor and a father to me in the business than my own father was,” declared Mitchum about co-star John Wayne.  “He did nothing but give me support… took me from a two or three line rôle to co-starring with him.  He basically made my career.” Unfortunately it ended acrimonously (politically).  To Mitchum’s regret. 
  4. Richard Dreyfuss, Jaws, 1974.      
  5. Perry King, Mandingo, 1974. Bottoms, Jan-Michael Vincent and the Bridges bros, Beau and Jeff, all wisely refused to play Hammodn Maxwell in what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called a piece of racist manure.  “Obscene in its manipulation of human beings and feelings,  excruciating to sit through… This is a film I felt soiled by.
  6. Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, 1976.   
  7. Nick Nolte, The Deep, 1976.   Richard Benjamin (who successfully switched from comedy to drama  inWestworld In 1973),  Jeff Bridges,  Paul LeMat,  Ryan O’Neal and Jan Michael Vincent were on casting directors Mike Fenton and Jane Feinberg’s list for  David Sanders. Plus TV star David Groh which led to people thinking of their TV favourites…  like Chevy Chase leading, inevitably, to Nolte – “the hottest thing on television,” said producer Peter Guber’s diary.
  8. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1978.
  9. Steve Railsback, The Stunt Man, 1977. The dream project of director Richard Rush took seven years to finance and three more to release it… in 1980.  Bridges and Martin Sheen were sniffing around the title role when Elia Kazan recommended Railsback. Peter O’Toole was the perfect director (a riff on  David Lean/John Huston, dressed like Rush)  and rejected all other teamings: O’Toole-Bridges, Sean Connery-Railsback, George C Scott -Sheen.  Only problem, said O’Toole, was that it was never released, it escaped.
  10. Keith Carradine, Pretty Baby, 1977.   
    The plot sickens…   A prostitute allows her 12-year-old  daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light district of  New Orleans, circa 1917. French director Louis Malle saw 29 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty  little Violet… 15 actresses for her mother… and 19 guys for for the real life, misshapen, hydrocephallic photographer Ernest J. Bellocq, whose Storyville work of the epoch influenced the style of the surprisingly elegant film. Oskar Werner talked himself out of it. “Has to be an American actor,” he told Malle. That’s how Robert Redford was first choice, Jack Nicholson second..  Then before falling for  Keith Carradine, Malle saw Jeff Bridges, Albert Brooks, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood (he didn’t take up photography until The Bridges of Madison County, 1994),  the new in town Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve (about to make us believe a man could fly), future director Rob Reiner, John Travolta (more into Grease)… Plus one sole  Brit, Malcolm McDowell .and such  flat out surprises as Joe Pesci (!!), Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone  (prepping FIST), and even Christopher Walken.

  11. Richard Gere, Yanks, 1978.   “The Americans were over-paid, over-sexed and over here!” That’s how the Brits soon viewed the million-plus Amseric an arriving to join WWII. Bridges passed on being one of them, Matt Dyson. Gere made a superb substitute.
  12. Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter, 1978.   Director Michael Cimino didn’t get all  his own way. He had wanted Bridges for Nick and Brad Dourif as Steven – in the Oscar-winning film about rather more than just Vietnam.   All three guys starred in Cimino’s next film, Heaven’s Gate – when he did get all his own way resulting in an almighty 1980 flop.
  13. Christopher Walken, Heaven’s Gate, 1979. Brash, not to say braggart director Michael Cimino obviously first sent his script to Bridges and Clint  Of course, he did, they co-starred Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, 1974, when  Eastwood started the Cimino ball rolling by producing and starring. Not this time. Not for either of them.  Sure saved them a lot of angst.  The idea had been a short role for Jeff  as  it turned out (and also called Bridges)  Walken took over, after being switched from the lead to  his rival.
  14. Kurt Russell, Escape from New York, 1980.    Good pals and 1993 Blown Away co-stars, Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones (plus another mate, Nick Nolte) were on auteur John Carpenter’s list for his hero, Snake Plissken.  As were Clint Eastwood and… oh no! Chuck Norris.  Russell based Snake  upon Darth Vader, Robert Ginty’s The Exterminator and Bruce Lee but mostly on… Clint.
  15. Al Pacino, Cruising, 1980.     Director Paul Morrissey’s choice when preparing his first movie outside Andy Warhol’s Factory, 1972.
  16. James Keach, The Long Riders, 1980.      The Keach brothers, James and Stacy, played Jesse and Frank James as the Bridges, Jeff and Beau, were booked onanother ride.
  17. James Caan, Thief, 1980.    Jeff was was auteur Michael Mann’s first choice  for the titular Frank. Until some dopes said that for a such a career criminal, Jeff was too young (at 31) and inexperienced (after 25 screen roles for Bogdanovich, Cimino, Frankenheimer, Huston, Rafaelson, etc).  Al Pacino and The French Connection cops, Gene Hackman and Roy Sheider, were also in the frame.
  18. Dudley Moore, Arthur, 1980.       The suits wanted a US star. Brand new auteur Steve Gordon wanted Dud. Gordon won, made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982. John Belushi had passed, scared of being typed as a drunk (surely the least of his troubles!). Orion Pictures’ other choices for the titular rich man-child were: Bridges, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Robin Williams… and quite ridiculously, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino (that would have been tough going!), Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta. Enough for an Arthur XI soccer squad – and one reserve.
  19. Kurt Russell, The Thing, 1981.    “The ultimate in alien terror.” Bah! Not even close. Which explains why Bridges, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline, Nick Nolte passed on John Carpenter’s unwanted re-hash of the (so-so) 1950 original produced (some say, directed) by Howard Hawks.  This version was very bad. Could have been worse, Universal had wanted Tobe Hooper to direct.When Bridges did work with Carpenter, it was for something much better – Starman,1984. Plus an Oscar nomination.    
  20. Richard Gere, An Officer and a Gentleman, 1981.  The way too busy Jeff Bridges (in three films that year) was director Taylor Hackford’s first Zack Mayo.  Dennis Quaid and Christopher Reeve were seen. John Denver, Kurt Russell, John Travolta and Ken Wahl simply refused.Hackford said Eric Roberts’ manager Bill Treusch got in the way of any possible director-actor teamanship. So it was Gere who literally swept Debra Winger off her feet. Denver never looked strong enough to sweep her carpet. Hackford won Bridges for his next outing, Against All Odds, 1983.

  21. Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.
  22. Sylvester Stallone, First Blood (aka Rambo), 1982. 
  23. Nick Nolte, 48 Hrs, 1982.   ”You’re gonna be sorry you ever met me” / ‘I’m already sorry.”  Rourke was to be the cop stuck with paroled criminal Gregory Hines, Richard Pryor, Howard E. Rollins Jr or Denzel Washington?  Also in the San Francisco PD mix were Jeff Bridges, Clint Eastwood (he wanted to be the hood), Kris Kistofferson, Michael Lerner, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone.
  24. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.    Producer Brian Grazer always said he got the idea when driving along  the Pacific Coast Highway and musing on mermaids. Or on AIP’s 1964 Beach Blanket Bingo which had Jody McCrea falling  (off his surfboard) for mermaid Jody Kristen…  Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie.  Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother, Freddie), Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), and Robin Williams. “Ronnie made me a movie  star,” said Hanks.” That’s what he did.” He also booked Guttenberg for his next gig, Cocoon. (Channjng Tatum was due for a 2016 re-make – but as the mer-person opposite Jillian Bell as his human lady).
  25. Gregory Harrison, Razorback, 1983.   Australian director Russell Mulcahy wanted Bridges as his hero as an Aussie pig channels King Kong. Producer Hal McElroy said he had no interntionall appeal.  Like we all knew Harrison, right?
  26. John Laughlin, Crimes of Passion, 1984.     Bridges, Alec Baldwin and Patrick Swayze were also seen for the square Bobby Grady getting love and sex lessons from Kathleen Turner’s part-time hooker in Ken Russell’s most outlandish film – although the reason could be the mass of cuts made to get an R and not an X rating. Roger Ebert said that. And this: “You know you’re in trouble in a sex movie when you spend more time thinking about the parts they left out than the parts they put in.
  27. Don Johnson, Miami Vice,TV, 1984-1990.   The legendary pitch, from NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff, was simple. “MTV cops!”  Anthony Kerkovich and Michael Mann did the splashy rest – as, originally, Gold Coast. TV stars Richard Dean Anderson and Larry Wilcox were seen for vice cop Sonny Crockett.  Plus Bridges, Nick Nolte and Mickey Rourke, although TV was downright sneered at by film folk back in the day. And it was still the same day! .  Johnson was nearly jinxed for previously being in four unsuccessful pilots.  The show gave some of their earliest screen acting gigs to such folk as Annette Bening, Julia Robers, Jimmy Smits, John Turturro, Bruce Willis… even Miles Davis and Little  Richard!  
  28. Chuck Norris, Code of Silence, 1984.  When Clint Eastwood passed on  what was first called Dirty Harry IV: Code of Silence, the next rewrite  of George LaFountaine’s 1976 French book, Le Pétard recalcitrant, was  offered to Bridges Charles Bronson, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Nick Nolte, Kurt Russell and Jon Voight. Coming so soon after Burt Reynolds’ Dirty Harryish Sharkey’s Machine, 1981, this one was put down as Dirty Chuckie.
  29. Mickey Rourke, Year of the Dragon, 1984.   Except when released in ’95, it was the less punchy Year of the Ox…  Rourke said (and he should now) the ferocious script was written for Clint Eastwood or Paul Newman. The writers, Oliver Stone and Michael Cimino, also thought of Bridges and Nick Nolte for the NYPD detective trying to clean up Chinatown.   Cimino owed his career to Clint, who liked his Thunderbolt and Lightfoot script and let him direct it – co-starring Bridges!  Cimino also helmed  Rourke in the ill-fated Heaven’s Gate and Dangerous Hours
  30. William Petersen, Manhunter, 1985.    The studio smart-asses wanted director Michael Mann reunited with his Miami Vice star, Don Johnson, as the FBI man inthe first Hannibal Lecter film. Mann preferred the guy from his 1980 movie, The Thief – after some thoughts about Bridges.

  31. Willem Dafoe, Platoon, 1986.   
  32. Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon, 1986.      In all, 39 possibilities for the off-kilter, ’Nam vet cop Martin Riggs – not as mentally-deranged as in early drafts (he used a rocket launcher on one guy!) Some ideas were inevitable: Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn (shooting Aliens), Jeff Bridges, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, William Petersen, Dennis Quaid, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. Some were inspired:  Bryan Brown, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum (he inherited Gibson’s role in The Fly), William Hurt (too dark for Warner Bros), Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Liam Neeson, Eric Roberts. Some were insipid: Jim Belushi, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Stephen Lang, Michael Nouri (he joined another cop duo in The Hidden), Patrick Swayze. Plus TV cops  Don Johnson, Tom Selleck… three foreign LA cops: Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dutch Rutger Hauer and French Christophe(r) Lambert. And the inevitable (Aussie) outsider Richard Norton.
  33. Kevin Costner, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller – labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert – the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson caught Costner on the cusp of susperstardom (between The Untouchables and Field of Dreams) after seeing if the hero’s US Navy uniform would suit… Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, William Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Michael Nouri, Bill Paxton,  Sean Penn, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis. Even the French Christophe(r) Lambert  or… Robin Williams?!
  34. Robert De Niro, Midnight Run, 1987. There were 23 possibilites for lean, mdean  skip-tracer (tracing felons who skipped bail) – on the run from the  FBI and the Mob after capturing Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin. Who knew De Niro could be more subtle at comedy than… Bridges, Charles Bronson, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal (!), Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, John Travolta, Jon Voight and even the musclebound Arnie and Sly – Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Director Martin Brest, that’s who.
  35. Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction , 1987.   Nobody felt Douglas as average enough  to pass for an average husband caught with his pants down… 
  36. Kevin Costner, Bull Durham, 1987.
    Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball? Get outa here. Ball movies don’t sell.”  But his producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad and recognised what Roger Ebert would call a sports movie that knows what it is talking about – because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Orion stumped up $9m, eight weeks, creative freedom – the cast cut their costs because of the script. For the minor-league veteran, Crash Davis, Shelton  looked at: Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones (he was baseball icon Ty Cobb in Shelton’s Cobb, 1994), Michael Keaton, Stephen Lang, Nick Nolte (more into football), Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell (who worked on the script with Shelton), Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis – and even three foreigners to the game: Aussie Mel Gibson, French Christophe(r) Lambert and Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. Result: more sports from Shelton (basketball, golf, boxing) and more baseball movies from Hollywood: A League of Their Own, Eight Men Out (with Sheen), Field of Dreams (Costner), Major League (Berenger and Sheen).  

  37. Harrison Ford, Frantic, 1987.   Wanted: For a Roman Polanski thriller… An open-faced, all-American boy, honest, trustworthy, fairly strong physically, someone who becomes what he isn’t – frantic – when his wife disappears from their Paris hotel suite – phffft! like that – while he’s in the shower. Polanksi considered Bridges, Kevin Costner, Dustin Hoffman, then had dinner in Paris with ET scenarist Melissa Mathison to discuss Steven Spielbegr’s Tintin project. And she brought hubby along…
  38. Roddy Piper, They Live, 1987The pitch was fine:Drifter finds some sunglasses that let him to see that aliens have taken over the Earth. And, apparently, the film.  Lousy! Which is probably why 18 other big guns, said nadato being Nada: Bridges, Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Dolph Lundgren, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis (plus three mere pistols: Brian Bosworth, Bruce Campbell, Stephen Lang).  And the less said about Russell’s wrestler replacement, the better.“Just John Carpenter as usual,” said the Washington Post,  “trying to dig deep with a toy shovel.”
  39. Mark Harmon, The Presidio, 1987.  The usual old cop-young cop routine but set to a dull military beat in San Francisco’s Presidio  Army Base.  Due for Lee Marvin-Jeff Bridges, but Lee fell ill and died.  Gene Hackman-Bridges were not as hot as Sean Connery-Don Johnson – except Don was hog-tied to Miami Vice.  OK, Sean-Kevin Costner – he quit so no Untouchables reunion as the pair finally became Sean-Mark Harmon.  Also up for the young upstart were 15 others: Alec Baldwin Michael Biehn, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Bill Pullman, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, Bruce Willis, , even Europeans Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. None could have saved what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a clone, of a film assembled out of spare parts from… the cinematic junkyard.”
  40. Tom Hanks, Big, 1988.     Hanks was suddenly unavailable due to two other movies. De Niro was chased – too pricey – then Jeff also demurred. By which time Hanks was back for $2m – a third of the De Niro fee.

  41. Michael KeatonBatman, 1988.
  42. Mel Gibson, Tequila Sunrise, 1988.    The LA buddies on either side of the law – dealer and cop – went from Jeff Bridges-Nick Nolte to Beatty-Scott Glenn to producer Thom Mount’s winning combo. Gibson-Kurt Russell.  Except, as Chicago critic Roger Ebert pointed out about Towne scripts: “Nothing is as it seems. We learn more about the characters when they’re not on the screen.”
  43. Richard Gere, Internal Affairs, 1989.     UK director Mike Figgis said Paramount wanted Mel Gibson or Kurt Russell (big hits in ’88’s Tequila Sunrise) as the badass cop-cum-hit man. “If we’d hired a movie star to play Peck,” noted producer Frank Mancuso Jr, “we might not have been able to so successfully explore the darkness of the character.” Some 19 other stars – Bridges, Alec Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta and three outsiders Richard Dean Anderson, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Ron Silver – all passed Peck to Gere for a double whammy comeback with Pretty Woman. “I’ve never been away,” snapped Gere.  Oh, but he had. Almost to Palookaville.
  44. Robert De Niro, Jacknife, 1989.     A heavy, honest apres-Nam drama. Minus the usual revenge subplot.
  45. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall, 1989.   After 42 drafts, no third act and one bankruptcy, Total Recall became another word for jinx in Hollywood… Italian cinemogul Dino De Laurentiis’ never-ending Martian thriller was nearly made by Dreyfuss in Italy, Patrick Swayze in Australia… and William Hurt for Canadian director David Cronenberg… Next up for the heroics were Bridges, Christopher Reeve, Tom Selleck before almost becoming a B-movie with little Matthew Broderick or Mark Harmon (cheapest on the list). Then, Dino went belly-up… enabling Arnold to take over (Dino had refused to audition him!) and move Mars to Mexico where everyone got the touristas except him – he had his food, water, B12 shots flown in from home after a rotten Mexperience during Predator, 1986.
  46. Kevin Costner, Revenge, 1989.     After Clint Eastwood in the late 70s, an 80s plan was his Thunderbolt & Lightfoot cop-star Bridges directed by Walter Hill.   When Costner arrived he wanted to direct, as well. Producer Ray Stark talked him out of it. Try your next one… He did so. Dances With Wolves. Seven Oscars – including Best Director and Best Film – on March 25, 1991.
  47. Patrick Swayze, Next of Kin, 1989.      Country bumpkins v the Mafia. Again. For the hero of his respun Raw Deal, 1985, UK director John Irvin went from The Obvious Aces: Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… to the Tango and Cash possibles: Michael Biehn, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kurt Rusell… plus The Also-Rans: Tommy Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dennis Quaid. And even French Christopher Lambert, Swedish Dolph Lundgren and Belgian Jean Claude Van Damme… for a Chicago cop!
  48. Jim Belushi, Curly Sue, 1990.    “What I thought would be this cute, sweet little movie experience ended up going on for something like five months,” reported Kelly Lynch. “So much money was spent. It was insane! It was going to be me, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey –  a whole different situation.  [They left for stage dates].  Those were two guys I knew really well, but I’d never met Jimmy [Belushi] before, and then he and [director John Hughes making his final film] didn’t get along. I kinda felt like a mom dealing with two 12-year-old boys.“  Also in the Bill Dancer mix were Jeff Bridges, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Gibson, Jeff Goldblum, Steve Guttenberg, Ray Liotta, Bill Murray (off shooting What About Bob?), Kurt Russell, Tom Selleck, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Bruce Willis. [Quotes va IMDb; no other source credited].
  49. Mickey Rourke, White Sands, 1991.   Having starred in director Roger Donaldson’s No Way Out, 1986, Kevin Costner was the Aussie’s first choice for the hero who had never seen Antonioni/Nicholson’s The Passenger and so never learned that taking over another man’s identity can blow up in the face. Plus Bridges or Nick Nolte as Lennox. They were all too pricey for a modest thrller. Rourke’s co-star was Willem Dafoe. (Bridges had been short-listed for No Way Out).
  50. Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.

  51. Kevin Costner, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, 1991.     “It’s not worth talking about what you’ve passed on because we’ve all done it.”
  52. Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides, 1991.     Director and star Barbara Streisand offered him the role of the unemployed, aimless and miserably married Tom Wingo.She got him five years later for The Mirror Has Two Faces.
  53. Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
  54. Brad Pitt, A River Runs Through It, 1991. One Paramount suit rubbished  – a goddamn movie about trout!  Redford loved the Norman Maclean book about growing up with his younger brother, learning the parallels of fly-fishing and life.  “I was going to do it one way or the other. Even… from my own pocket.” He, naturally thought of Lloyd Bridges  as the Reverend  Maclean and his boys, Beau and Jeff, as… his boys.  (They’d once tried to make it, themselves). Except he didn’t want stars but great intelligence and sensitivity. Pitt looked like Paul, but “also carried a heavy of attitude which put me off.” m Having tracked the project for months, Pitt craved another reading. Better, together with Dermot Mulroney and his wife, Catherine Keener, Pitt taped a mini-movie. Redford called it “some show reel,” which it patently wasn’t. (So he may never have seen it).  After thoughts about Ethan Hawke (later given a Quiz Show role)  RR finally saw Paul in Pitt. ”There was a stance about Brad I liked. He acts tough, like he has to face down the world and all its ills. But inside I saw he’s a sensitive person who craves approval. Like Paul.” Odd that Redford never saw himself. in Pitt. Brando, Dean, Newman, Nicholson. Redford, Pitt  – that is the line. Brad is as canny a producer as Bob. (They have  both won Best Picture Oscars). Not a director. Not. Yet.
  55. Kevin  Kline, Chaplin  1992.  
    Turned down the (bit) role of Douglas Fairbanks Sr.   “I really kind of have to be dragged to the party, as far as making moviesbecause it’s tough for  me to decide what I’m going to order for lunch, let alone what movie I’m going to do.”  Writer-producer-director Tom Mankiewicz was surprised Bill Cosby never became another Sidney Pointer.  “Because he is a really talented actor. Most stars are wonderful actors: James Stewart, Tom Hanks.” Strangely, not Jeff Bridges. “The audience decides: You’re a wonderful actor. But you’re not a movie star.”

  56. Bruce Willis, Death Becomes Her, 1992.     “Then, once I decide, there’s all kinds of other movies that I’m not going to be able to do, and I don’t even know what they are yet…   ”In this case, Kevin Kline quit to take on Jeff’s role in Chaplin. So, obviously, director Robert Zemeckis asked Jeff to replace Kevin. No go!
  57. Andy Garcia, Hero, 1992.       “So, I do kind of drag my feet until there’s something about the movie that I can’t resist that’s going to pull me in. Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, thing. You order the steak when you can’t have the salmon… because you’ll be too full.”, sometimes…
  58. Michael Douglas, Falling Down, 1992.  “I lost my job. Well, actually I didn’t lose it, it lost me. I am over-educated, under-skilled. Maybe it’s the other way around, I forget. But I’m obsolete. I’m not economically viable.” The guy known only by his car number-plate, D-FENS, is suffering from society and melting down. Dangerously. Perfect, therefore, for Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Robin Williams – and, indeed, director Joel Schumacher’s choice of his pal, Douglas, in a Spartacus buzz-cut, glasses and, finally, his very own Cuckoo’s Nest.  
  59. Tom Cruise, The Firm, 1992.   Early Sydney Pollack casting.“It’s hard for me to let one thing go, knowing that I’m not going to be able to do other things. My mother said it’sThe Boolya…  somebody who suffers seriously.”  Jason Patric and Charlie Sheen were seen later but it was Cruise joining the law firm that was (ssh! not a word) run by the Mafia.
  60. Gabriel Byrne, A Dangerous Woman, 1993.     Both Bridges and Jason Patric were discussed as the alcoholic and unprincipled lover – of a somewhat retarded Debra Winger. (And her aunty: Barbara Hershey). A real family movie  as Steven Gyllenhaal directed,  his wife Naomi Foner produced and the cast included  the kids: Jake  and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

  61. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. The original passengers for the Die Hard On A Bus were Bridges opposite a funny Ellen DeGeneres. As Jeff quit for Blown Away with pal Tommy Lee Jones, Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis headed the queue for Jack. Plus other A Listers Jeff Bridgr!es, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze…   to the B group: Kevin Bacon, three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans Bruce Campbell and Chuck Norris. All crushed by a whippersnapper.

  62. Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption, 1993..  “There’s no way of knowing,” said Bridges,  “if the film you turn down would have been as big if you’d been it.” Charlie Sheen basically offered to make it for free! But Bridges, Matthew Broderick, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner (drowning in Waterworld), Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks (busy Forrest Gumping) were in the loop for clever Andy Dufresne – the jailed banker once handled the finances of Kurt Dussander, according to Apt Pupil, another of the filmed short stories from Stephen King’s 1982 collection, Different Seasons.  The Shawshank title baffled the public (until smashed DVD records). It had been Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and director Frank Darabont was swamped by agents touting their glamour pusses to play Rita… in the 43rd of King’s staggering 313 screen credits.  And Hanks beat ‘em all (Michaels Douglas and Keaton, plus John Travolta) to his next (also by King), The Green Mile, 1999.
  63. Harrison Ford, The Fugitive, 1993.  Paging Dr Kimble…  There was a queue answering the call for the film of David Janssen’s 1963-1967 series. Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner (directing as well), Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia,  Richard Gere, Mel Gibson (also uip for the relentless cop, Gerard), Michael Keaton, Nick Nolte (director Walter Hill’s choice, but Andrew Davis made the movie – the fourth in his home town, Chicago), Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve, Arnold Schwarzengger. “The minute Harrison Ford shows up, they drop everything and sign up Harrison Ford,” Baldwiin complained. (It’s called being a star, Alec). Mel Gibson was up for either Kimble or his Javert-like hunter, Lieutenant Gerard – an Oscared gig for Tommy Lee Jones.
  64. Liam Neeson, Nell, 1994.     “The other guy maybe brought something to the part that was just right; and you would’ve played it differently and it might not have taken.”
  65. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.   The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it wasshootinghim, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted.  Next in line: Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams.  Plus eight Batman candidates: Bridgess, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Mic hael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton. Allen won his film debut. A surprise for Hollywood as he had a record (28 months for attempted dealing) but Disney reluctantly broke its no-ex-cons policy.  He’d been punished – and now more so. Stifling in his fat suit and facial prosthetics during the Summer shoot, he needed cooling-off breaks. They didn’t prevent a neck rash from the Santa suit. Come the Toy Storyseres, he could voice Buzz Lightyear in his pjs.
  66. Matthew Modine, Cutthroat Island, 1995.     Most plausibles (Michael Douglas, Daniel Day-Lewis) became overly cautious of a pirate project prepared by Renny Harlin for his wife, Geena Davis. No survivors when this baby sank.
  67. Brad Pitt, 12 Monkeys, 1995.         Terry Gilliam’s original desire: Jeff, aka Gilliam’s Fisher King.
  68. Al Pacino, Heat, 1995.   Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were first reserves in case the planned first face-to-face meeting in a movie of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino did not happen (due to, say, Pacino’s facelift going askew). And if Nolte-Bridges also passed, Tom Sizemore was to replace one or the other The much anticipated De Niro-Pacino sceenematched  auteur Michael Mann’s film –  not what it was cracked up to be.
  69. Liam Neeson, Before And After, 1996.     Columbia’s Mark Canton kept Barbert Schroeder waiting five months- and then some – for a Go on the heavy family drama, mainly because Canton preferred the Bridges of LA county as Meryl Streep’s husband.
  70. Sean Penn, The Game, 1996.     For his first film since Seven, 1994, director David Fincher wanted to work with Foster.  And vice versa. But he would not agree with her signature fetish about altering things… Fincher cast her as Michael Douglas’ sister. No, she said, she wanted to be his daughter.  Both men disagreed (Douglas, just 17 years older, had  already played Jodie’s father in the 70s) and  they turned the sister into a brother – Bridges or Penn!   Although her Egg Pictures was among the producers, Jodie sued PolyGram for a $54.5 million  settled, as they say, out of court. 
  71. Dylan Baker, Happiness, 1998.       All  singing from the same hymn sheet – “compelling and interesting material but… I’m. a father first and an actor second” – a dozen stars fled the therapist who is a pedophile in the bleak script by young New Jersey auteur Todd Solondz.

  72. George Clooney, Three Kings, 1999.
    Bullying director David O Russell never wanted Clooney as Archie Gates. And only agreed (and then got into a fist fight with him) when Nicolas Cage, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson  and Dustin Hoffman never wanted his script! Bridges’ previous film, The Bjg Lebowski, had tanked and Nick Nolte said he was too old. And, apparently, idem for Nicholson. Although respecting his work, Clooney said he’d never work with Russell again. Their fight had been over Russell’s treatment of an extra, throwing him to the ground. Russell  then taunted Clooney. “Hit me!” So, George obliged him. 

  73. Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven, 2001.   Bridges and Russell Crowe, declined to be wed to Julianne Moore, having a romance with her black gardener. Bridges said the salary was too low, Crowe said the role was too small.  Add Dennis Haysbert  and another Todd Haynes gem was born.

  74. Liam Neeson, Kinsey, 2003.     Writer-director Bill Condon also looked at Ceorge Clooney and Michael Douglas (!) to play sexologist Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

  75. Tom Skerritt, Brothers & Sisters, TV, 2006-2009.       Bridges rejected an offer to play the husband of Netty Buckley (in the pilot; Sally Field in the series), the sons and daughter’s father – dead in the opening episode, but still popping up here and again.(Skerritt had substituted Jeff’s father, Lloyd Bridges, in A River Runs Through It, 1992).
  76. Liam Neeson, Taken, France, 2008.  French writer-producer Luc Besson wanted a Hollywood hero. He got one – until Bridges had to skidaddle. Then someone mentionewd Neeson. He never had high hopes for the thriller but faniced a few month in Paris, learning kartate and finally playing the kind of action hero he was never asked to be. (He was rejected for James Bond in GoldenEye, 1994). This proved the start of three as ex-CIAgent Bryan Mills. Schindler, he wasn’t, Not with killing 35 people in rescuing his kidnapped daughter.
  77. Danny Glover, Alpha and Omega, 2009.   Change of voice for Winston,. leader of the wolf pack and father of  daughter Omega in what USA Today crtitic Scott Bowles called “one of those rarities in the modern era of Hollywood animation: bad.”
  78. Kevin Spacey, Horrible Bosses, 2010.      Bridges, Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman were approached for the supercilious sadist Dave Harken  – one of three bosses from hell, targets of a hit man hired by disgruntled employees in this  masculine take on Nine To Five. Chicago critic Roger Ebert, noted: “Few are better than Spacey at regarding others with contempt and humiliating them with pleasure.”

  79. Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger, 2010.
    The first screen version of the WWII propaganda comicbook hero – Defender of the Defenceless – since Republic’s 1944 serial (with Dick Purcell), two 1979   tele-quickies (Rep Brown) and the 1989 movie (Matt Salinger, son of the monumental JD, no less). A 1981 Universal plan for Bridges  never flew. Nor did Cannon’s 1984 take which UK director Michael Winner never got around to casting (well, not out loud). In 2010,the Argo find  had previously tested for Superman when McG was due to direct – and now for  Steve Rogers, the super-serumed alter-ego of America’s symbol of liberty (from WWII to Obama) and one of Marvel’s Avengers.Cassidy was young but the nine-picture deal for Cap Am sequels, Avengersmovies and cross-overs would have allowed him to age enough to pass for the patriarch of the Marvelverse.Also seen: Jensen Ackles, Wilson Bethel, Dane Cook, Chace Crawford, Garrett Hedlund, Kellan Lutz, Ryan, McPartlin, Johnny Pacar, Ryan Phillippe, Scott Porter, Alexander Skarsgård, Will Smith, Sebastian Stan (chosen for Bucky Barnes), Channing Tatum (in last three), Mike Vogel, Sam Worthington.  Plus two of the Jonas brothers  band (Joe and Kevin), three of the TV-Marvelverse: Wilson Bethel (Daredevil), Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter), Derek Theler (New Warriors).   And John Krasinski. “This is stupid,” he yelled during his costumed test, “I’m not Captain America!” And he wasn’t.  But he was Amazon’s TV’s surprise Jack Ryan  in 2018. 

  80. Jim Cummings, Gnomeo and Juliet, 2010.   Bridges and Robert Downey Jr were early notions for Featherstone, a plastic flamingo with a Spanish accent – in a red blue garden gnomes’ take on Shakespeare with, of course, producer Elton John’s songbook – Benny and the Jets, Rocketman, Your Song,et al.  Final choice, naturally, was the Disney vocal veteran voice of  ‘em all. For example – take a deep breath –  Bonkers B Bobcat, Geppetto, King James, King Triton, Rasputin, Santa Claus, Scar, Long John Silver, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Yosemite Sam.  Etc. Etc.

  81. Tommy Lee Jones,  Hope Springs, 2011.       The guy who co-starred with so many debutantes (Joan Allen, Karen Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Elizabeth Ashley, Belinda Bauer, Lisa Eichorn, Farrah Fawcett, Bianca Jagger, Alice Krige, Jessica Lange, Valerie Perrine, Nancy Travis, Susan Tyrell, Rachel Ward, etc) turned down the chance to co-star with… Meryl Streep!
  82. Alec Baldwin, Rise of the Guardians, 2011.    Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Albert Finney and Kevin Spacey were also on DreamWorks voice list for North, aka Santa Claus (complete with tatts and a Russian accent) leader of guardians  (Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, Tooth Fairy, etc) protecting childhood, itself, from Jude Law’s dreaded Pitch Black.

  83. Bradley Cooper, Jane Got a Gun, 2013.      Natalie Portman’s fifth outing as a producer ran into all kinds of trouble. Michael Fassbender quit (replaced by Joel Edgerton) after clashes with Scots director Lynne Ramsay. Then, she quit. Then, Jude Law quit Edgerton’s original role- Lynne being the only reason why Law agreed to make the Western in Santa Fe. Bridges was the (way) oldest of Law’s potential successors: Joel Edgerton, Jane Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire.

  84. Woody Harrelson, Triple Nine, 2013.  Best way for a US heist to succeed undetected is a 999 call – code for: officer down – and all avaiiable police rush to where it happened. And it was Anthony Mackie as a rotten cop who organises it all in this Reservoir Puppies, first duje to star Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges as new and old cops, eventually enacted by Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.
  85. John Cusack/Paul Dano, Love & Mercy, 2014.  Over the decades, two actors were usually chosen to portray Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson – and two more did actually play him… Way back in the 80s, Wilson’s therapist, Dr Eugene Landy (and his associates), tried to set up a biopic with William Hurt as Wilson and Richard Dreyfuss as Landy.  In the 90s, Jeff Bridges was to be Wilson. Finally, director Bill Bohlad chose Dano and Cusack as the young and older Wilson in his turbulent years of 1964-1987. Landy was, but of course, Paul Giamatti.
  86. James Cromwell, Big Hero 6, 2014.    Six super heroes. So they naturally require one super-nemesis. Who better than (the masked) Robert Callaghan, head of a robotics at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. The voicing gig for Disney’s first Marvel subject –  after The Big Buy-Out but before Kevin Feige created the  Marvelverse, and  winning the best animation Oscar – was aimed at Jason Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, Danny De Vito, John Goodman, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Michael Keaton, John Malkovich, Eddie Murphy, Jack  Nicholson, Gary Oldman, Joe Pesci, JK Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor….plus the great Gilbert Gottfried, putting the rest tlo shame by scoring 179 screen roles in 41 years!   They all made way for Cromwell. Ten years earlier, he had created the I, Robot called Sonny, played by Alan Tudyk… here playing Cromwell’s arch rival, Alistair Krei. 










 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  86