Hollywood Horse StoriesWritten by Stephen Schochet
A recent Hollywood rumor was that Tobey Maguire injured his back during making of Sea Biscuit doing horseback riding scenes, making him unable to star in sequel to Spider-Man. Although it turned out to be false, he rode a mechanical horse in film, many actors have had close calls working with horses.
One example was Michael Caine, whose first movie Zulu (1964) required him to ride a horse after a hunting expedition, which after several embarrassing takes almost bought his career to a premature end. "I thought you said you had riding lessons!" said angry director. "I did!" said beleaguered star. "And first thing I learned was I never wanted to ride one of these bloody things again!"
He wasn't only one. Jack Nicholson took a hard fall in The Missouri Breaks (1976) which he shrugged off saying,"It would have hurt if I was a real person instead of a movie star."
Some performers get along famously with their horses, relationship can go on for years. Gene Autry had Champion trained to jump through a ring of fire at rodeos, stunt always worked perfectly until Champion aged and Gene had to replace him. Gene exhibited no concern when he was advised by trainers that new Champion was not ready for prime time his first night on job. "It'll be all right boys!" reassured cowboy through swigs of tequila. The big moment came, new horse rode out with Gene toward burning ring and came to a dead stop, sending famous cowboy star flying to complete stunt on his own. The crowd gasped but luckily Gene was more drunk than hurt, he simply got up and took a bow like it was all planned.
Wild CastingWritten by Stephen Schochet
Can you imagine Doris Day as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967)? That's who producer Joseph E. Levine wanted before Miss Day turned it down thinking part in bad taste, and it went to Anne Bancroft. How about James Cagney as Robin Hood in 1938? A contract dispute caused Warner Bros. to drop him and hire Errol Flynn instead. Do you know that Margaret Mitchell wanted Groucho Marx to play Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind (1939)? But perhaps wildest casting choice in History of Hollywood involved The Terminator. James Cameron had directed a movie called Piranha II: The Spawning (1981). "I'm sick of these B-Movies. I got to direct a better movie than this. I'll write my own script and won't sell it till I get to direct