Jon Finch

  1. Murray Head, Sunday, Bloody Sunday, 1971.      After testing as the lover of both Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson, Jon was offered a smaller part. “Because it was [director] John Schlesinger, I said Yes.   Immediately.”
  2. Sean Connery, Live and Let Die, 1972.
  3. John Laurenson, Boney, TV, 1972-1973.      For some bizarre reason, the Australian producers decided to cast a white Englishman as the Aborigine cop, Detective Inspector Bonaparte. Not caring about that row, they replaced him (when Finch quit to make Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy back home in London), with another white actor. Worse still… from New Zealand! As if Aboriginal actors had not been used since the Woodbinda, Animal Doctor series in 1968.
  4. Richard Chamberlain, The Three Musketeers, 1973.       Like Timothy Dalton, Finch rejected director Richard Lester’s invite to be the studious Aramis Chamberlain in the third film, The Return of the Three Musketeers, 1988, Top character star Roy Kinnear died from a heart attack after breaking his pelvis in a riding accident on September 19. Lester was so upset, he never made another film. There hadn’t been a Musketeers movie since 1948, when  39-yer-old Gene Kellh, of all people, was the 20-year-old D’Artagnan. The French tried  in 1960,  with Jean-Paul Belmondo (reprising his 1959 TV D’Artagnan), Alain Delon Sophia Loren. The project collapsed, but Bebel made a similar Cartouche, 1962, and Delon was tres Athos as La tulipe noire, 1964, and Zorro, ten years later.
  5. Claude Brasseur, Les seins de glace, France, 1974.    Talk about the  power game…   Paris auteur Jean-Pierre Mocky was invited to writer-direct  a film of Rjchard Matheson’s 1953 novel, Someone is Bleeding, with a French tile meaning: Icy Breasts!  Mocky signed up Delpn, Jon Finch and Mia Farrow as the woman who kills any man getting too close… With four weeks to go, Delon phones. “I’ve been thinking – it’s Mireille Darc and Michel Duchaussoy,”   (Darc was his lover). Mocky replied: “Alain, I love Mireille Darc, but I don’t see her in this role.” Delon snaps: “It’s that or nothing”. And he hung up. Delon switched his services to Les granges brûlées.   Mocky decided to take over his role opposite Jane Birkin. She proves unavaiaible. Shooting cancelled. Delon bides his time and pounces on the rjghts when they became available. He hires Georges Lautner to direct in 1974. With Delon, Darc and Michel – er, no, Claude Brasseur all of a sudden.
  6. Malcolm McDowell, Voyage of the Damned, 1975.  In a Nazi propaganda exercise – “Nobody loves Jews – so leave them to us”- Germany ships Jews to Havana, in the full knowledge that Cuba won’t accept them. Nor will any other nation. They return home, by which time WWII has begun, and of the 937 passengers, more than 600 die in concentration camps!  ThIs is no retread of Katharine Anne Porter’s Ship of Fools, although similar and both featuring José Ferrer and Oskar Werner (in his final film here). No, this is a terrible true story, stuffed with stars, too many to deal with. Denholm Elliott has one scene, Orson Welles, four; luckier than the jettisoned Janet Suzman and Jack Warden.  A good guy this once, Malcolm McDowell was among the crew instead of (take a breath)… fellow Brits Jon Finch, Anthony Hopkins, Simon MacCorkindale, Ian McShane, John Moulder-Brown. Martin Potter and Hollywood’s  Keith Carradine, Jeff Conaway, Raul Julia, Martin Kove, Joe Mantegna, Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford, John Ritter, John Travolta, Jon Voight.  
  7. Martin Shaw, The Professionals, TV, 1977-1983.        “I couldn’t possibly play a policeman!” (What abut his two Boney weeks in 1972). Finch was hero material, but Shaw had the white man’s version of an afro. Very trendy! Shaw hated his character – “a violent moppet!” To avoid typecasting as a hardline hero (of the UK’s terrorism-fighting Criminal Intelligence 5), he prevented re-runs of the hit series – until learning in the 90s that the widow of his CI5 boss (actor Gordon Jackson) needed the repeat fees.
  8. John Hurt, Alien, 1979.    aka Jaws In Space…. Finch collapsed in his dressing-room, rushed to hospital with bronchitis and a diabetic condition. (Francesca Annis said: a heart-attack). Worse awaited Hurt when his stomach erupted. One take, four cameras. power and air lines, to blow blood everywhere…Argghhhh! ”The white set will be decimated and will take probably two weeks to clean up – so there was no second take,’ Ridley Scott recalled in Hollywood Reporter, May 24, 2019.  “I positioned everything the way I felt is going to happen, where it was going to come out. And we shot and… the tee-shirt didn’t open. All there is, is this bump in the tee-shirt that flashes out and then it goes away. So I scream: Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut! And all the actors start laughing. I say: Clear the set! I crawl in on top of John Hurt – poor bugger lying there… strapped down on the table under an artificial chest –  and I’m razor-blading the tee-shirt so it will pop… We went again. Perfect.”
  9. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984
  10. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.
  11. Nicholas Ball, Lifeforce, 1984.
  12. Peter Firth, Lifeforce, 1984.
  13. Chris Sullivan, Lifeforce, 1984.

  14. Alan Rickman, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1990.  As Rickman kept passing, the Sheriff of Nottingham was offered to Finch, Michael  Gambon, Richard E Grant, Ian McKellen, Sam Neill, Oliver Reed, Patrick Stewart – even John Cleese. Then, Rickman won the right to play him his way, stealing much more than Robin, which had Kevin Costner allegedly, ordering the curtailing of the Sheriff’s scenes.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  14