Warren Oates


  1. Henry Fonda, The Hired Hand, 1971.    Hank passed the script to his son, Peter and agreed to co-star with him, then decided he was too old. Finally, Pete co-starred with Oates and directed.
  2. Bo Brundin, The Great Waldo Pepper, 1973.  The Butch & Sundance director George Roy Hill wanted 1920 faces around Robert Redford’s post-WWI flying circus pilot.  “I settled for faces with character over acting experience.  Which may have been a huge mistake.” Oates and Donald Sutherland German flying ace Ernst Kessler.
  3. James Coburn, Hard Times, 1975,    Director Walter Hill’s favorite casting tip came from Broadway legend George Abbot: “Directors like to think there’s only one actor who can play a certain part, but there’s always somebody else.” All true, said Hill, having written the Hard Times lead for a much younger man… “like Jan-Michael Vincent… and I wanted Warren Oates for Coburn’s part. But it worked out.” He also considered Mickey Rooney.
  4. Jack Nicholson, The Missouri Breaks, 1975.    Thomas McGuane – the novelist known as the new Hemingway -wrote the script for Oates and Harry Dean Stanton, and planed to direct. (They’d been in his Rancho Deluxe and 92 in the Shade the previous year; the Oates’ Montana ranch was close to McGuane’s). Producer Elliot Kastner had loftier ideas: Arthur Penn directing Nicholson and his neighbour, Marlon Brando. And it all went downhill from there, as Brando did his out-of-control thing and totally ruined the Western. Nicholson made it up to Oates – co-starring with him (as the corrupt Border Patrol chief) in The Border, 1981.
  5. Roy Scheider, Wages of Fear, 1977.    As the American truck driver in one of the worst re-treads of all time.
  6. Philippe Noiret, Coup de Torchon (Clean Slate), France, 1981. Realisateur Alain Corneau planned Jim Thompson’s Pop 1275 as his first film. He worked on the script with Thompson in LA, just could not raise the finance for Oates. “He’s been living on hot-dogs all his life, is a pure Martian form, even if we shared a certain vision of cinema.” A decade later, Bertrand Tavernier made it his way… with Noiret in what would have been the Oates role.



 Birth year: 1928Death year: 1982Other name: Casting Calls:  6