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
Is Johnny Depp Like Nelson Mandela?Written by Stephen Schochet
To average person life of a television star seems like a glamorous occupation. But many actors signed to long term contracts feel more imprisoned than privileged. Johnny Depp was so miserable on 21 Jump Street (1987-1992) he actually tried to get fired, pulling stunts like lighting his underwear on fire on set. Speaking years later about finally getting off detective show, he said," I was like Mandela, man."
A similar reaction came from Mrs. Howell herself, Natalie Schaefer. Like many actors who do television pilots, when she performed in initial Gilligan's Island (1964-1967) episode she wanted to do one show, get paid, that's it. No way she figured would CBS pick up such a ridiculous,stupid show. A few weeks later Natalie was throwing a party at her home on Rodeo Drive. She excused herself when phone rang, returned a few minutes later and burst into tears. Her friends rushed to comfort normally happy hostess. "Natalie darling, what is it? Did you lose a part?" "No much worse. I got it."
James Garner became a popular TV star because of Warner Bros. Western Maverick (1957-1962). But to Oklahoma born actor and Korean War veteran, show was often purgatory. The studio refused him permission to earn extra money on weekends making personal appearances, and turned down his requests for a raise. He finally got out of show through a breech of contract suit, and stated bitterly "If you have any pride in your work you don't go into TV." When he returned to TV after 11 years of films to The Rockford Files (1974-1980) he again quickly became unhappy with working conditions and staged a successful sit down strike in his dressing room to get what he wanted.