Iconic roles that almost werent

November 27th, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, Nov 27 (ANI): Can you imagine “All About Eve” without Bette Davis, “Rebel Without a Cause” without James Dean, or “The Graduate” without Dustin Hoffman? Well, thats what wouldve happened if the directors got their initial choices for some of the most iconic roles in Hollywood history.

In a new book called “Vanity Fair’’s Tales of Hollywood”, edited by Graydon Carter, he has revealed how some of the most iconic characters almost never made it to the big screen.

The book, about legendary movies of the 20th century, uncovered that Davis was actually “a last resort” for director Joseph Mankiewicz, to play the lead in “All About Eve” (1950).

According to the tome, Claudette Colbert was the first choice for playing Margo Channing, but she ruptured a disc in her back and couldn”t work. Then Gertrude Lawrence turned down the role because she was already working on “The King and I.

And eventually Davis accepted the part thinking “somebody was playing a joke on her.”

In case of “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), James Dean was almost thrown out of the film even before filming began.

According to the New York Post, the book said: “A few days before [shooting the first scene], Dean had disappeared, and no one could find him. The executives and Warner Bros. considered . . . replacing him. Dean returned just in time for his first scene,” and brought legendary character Jim Stark to life, only to die in a car crash two weeks before the picture’’s release.

We all know that Robert Redford was the first choice for Hoffman’’s role in “The Graduate” (1967), but there were other names in producer Larry Turman’’s “wish list” for the famous part, which include Steve McQueen, Warren Beatty and George Hamilton.

In fact, even Hoffman refused to do the role, insisting, “this guy is a super-WASP,” to which director Mike Nichols promptly suggested: “Maybe he’’s Jewish inside.”

And many would be surprised to know that the plot of the Mel Brooks comedy “The Producers” (1968), was born from his frustration at writing a novel titled “Springtime for Hitler.”

Brooks turned the film into a hit Broadway musical 30 years later. (ANI)

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