Peter Boyle

  1. Gene Hackman, The French Connection, 1971.     Charles Bronson, Jackie Geason, Steve McQueen, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Rod Taylor…   “I don’t want names,” Fox production chief Richard Zanuck told director Wlliam Friedkin, “and you can’t afford them.” How about Boyle? “Not a bad idea,” said Zanuck. The revelation of the little 1970 film, Joe, , never got over refusing Popeye Doyle (based on NYPD cop, Eddie Egan). He had hated audiences cheering Joe’s violence and so, “I do not want to do characters like this anymore. I’d like to do a romantic comedy next.” Zanuck never remembered “why we settled on Hackman, considered a good actor but a kinda secondary guy.”
  2. Paul Newman,The Sting, 1973.    Director George Roy Hill sent the script to Newman who phoned back: “Would I be ruining the movie if I wanted to play Gondroff?”   Co-producer Julia Phillips comments: “We are young and foolish and answered yes he would without hesitation. We had always hoped: Peter Boyle” – Robert Redford’s campaign manager in The Candidate, 1971. Newman came aboard, wanted less by Universal than Redford – who gave  him his 15% – making millions. Redford was pissed by the loss of such a revenue but…“felt obligated to Paul for his support at the start of his career.”
  3. James Caan, The Gambler, 1973.    When Paramount cheesily announced a 2012 re-make without telling him, scenarist James Toback related the unexpurgated chronology of the original (“from erection to resurrection,” to quote Churchill), revealing how the star of Joe was the first to express “a profound desire to play Axel Freed,” aka Toback, himself.  “I gambled – recklessly, obsessively and secretly. It was a rich, exciting double life with heavy doses of sexual adventurism thrown in for good measure.” Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Chris Sarandon and even Robert Redford would follow Boyle’s interest. And Karel Reisz becamethe only director in the world to have threatened to resign rather than work with Robert De Niro!
  4. Gerrit Graham, Phantom of the Paradise, 1973. Graham talked of musical chairs casting: Paul Williams for Winslow, Graham as Swan, Boyle for Beef – nothing for William Finley, even though his pal, director Brian De Palma, had written Winslow for him. Stop the music! Now, Williams is Swan (ex-Spectre, after Phil Spector), Graham is Beef, Finley  is Winslow.  Boyle?  Otherwise engaged.
  5. Rod Steiger, W C Fields and Me, 1975. Also up for W C were Albert Finney, Walter Matthau and two much applauded character actors Peter Boyle, Charles Durning. But one of Rod Steiger’s disguises as the serial killer in No Way to Treat a Lady, 1967, was that of  Fields – almost a screentest for this biopic, one among the many in the mid-70s about Hollywood. From Valentino and Bogie to Gable and  Lombard and Goodbye  Norma Jean. 
  6. Donald Sutherland,1900, 1975.    Not alone among actors scared off by the Fascist character’s sodomy and murder of a child.
  7. Ned Beatty, Superman, 1977.
  8. Mitchell Ryan, Lethal Weapon, 1986.    There were 39 possibles for Mel Gibson’s suicidal cop. Just seven seeking promotion to General McAllister:” Ryan, Boyle, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones, Richard Jordan and Lee Marvin.
  9. Howard Hesseman, Rubin and Ed, 1990. All was going well with scenarist Trent Harris’ directing debut until September 24, 1990, when Boyle had to quit after a stroke(making him mute for six months).A week later, the WRKP in Cincinatti TV star took over. Trent survived making more movies including a 2000 documentary called, honestly, The Beaver Trilogy, in 2000. (About a talent show in Beaver, Utah). Boyle recovered and became a sudden TV star in Everybody Loves Raymond, 1996-2005.

 Birth year: 1935Death year: 2006Other name: Casting Calls:  8