Michael Callan

  1. Troy  Donahue, A Summer Place, 1959.      “I tested with Jane Fonda.  We  weren’t very  successful.” She called him up for Cat Ballou, 1965.
  2. James Darren, Let No Man Write My Epitaph, 1959.      Ten years earlier, Willard Motley’s novel, Knock on Any Door, bred such a successful movie that Columbia czar Harry Cohn made sure he got the sequel. Not a hit. Maybe Cohn should have kept Callan as the new Nico Romano – son of the 1959 one, John Derek.
  3. Troy Donahue, Parrish, 1961.    Dropping Anthony Perkins  (“too well known”), stage-screen director Joshua Logan tested Callan, Warren Beatty and Tom Laughlin – opposite  Jane Fonda or Suzanne Pleshette. Callan was then playing Riff in Broadway’s West Side Story; Beatty twice tested for the same role for Robert Wise, co-director of the Oscar-winning filmusical. Jane  called up Callan for Cat Ballou, 1965.
  4.  Tom Courtenay, King Rat, 1964. Blacklisted Hollywood writer Carl Foreman (High Noon) decided to film James Cavell’s tough book about his three years as a WWII prisoner of the Japanese. With the finest UK actors: new guys Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, veterans Trevor Howard, John Mills. He then felt he had no more to say about war after The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone and The Victors. UK writer-director Bryan Forbes made it his Hollywood debut, bravely side-stepping Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra for the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf find, George Segal – as the titular wheeler-dealer-fixer-conniver who all but ends up running the jungle camp.
  5. Robert Redford, Inside Daisy Clover, 1965.    When due at Columbia, where Callan was under contract. Warner got the rights in order to secure Woods for The Great Race – she was hot after West Side Story. Which is why she got $33,000 (and the cast she wanted) and Redford just $6,5000.  Daisy was made by Alan Pakula, director Robert Mulligan, who made To Kill A Mockinbgbrd,1962, into an instant classic. They had also made Love with the Proper Stranger with Wood. “Mulligan wanted Bob more than I did but when I saw his sinister side, I thought: He’s perfect,” said Pakula, who went on to direct RR’s All The President’s Men. Redford’s new role was gay. “I won’t do it justice,” he said.  Wood exercised her muscle and had Wade respun for him.  They knew each other from Van Huys High. An affair was rumoured (by the publicist?).  She  clearly  fell for him. Most women did. Redford, however, was “aware of the liabilities of intimacy with the women you act with.” (That surel changed with Sona Baga during The Milagro Beanfield War, 1987). They became tight, he agreed, and when she wed Richard Gregson, RR was best man – and Gregspn became his fourth agent and future production partner.


 Birth year: 1935Death year: 2022Other name: Casting Calls:  5