Sunday, September 13, 2015

5 Great Films Marlon Brando Turned Down

The 5 Most Memorable Roles Brando Turned Down 

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was an actor was so huge (in stature), so ground-breaking (in acting style) and so bankable (at the box office) that virtually every A-project was tossed his way. That actor was Marlon Brando and for your reading entertainment, here are 5 roles Brando turned down, screwed up or was kicked off of... 

1) The Egyptian (1954) - After the huge success of Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata and On The Waterfront, Brando found himself on the hook to Twentieth Century Fox to star in a sword-and-sandal epic called The Egyptian. Brando quickly realized the film’s script was el stinko and endlessly sought a way out, even diagnosing himself as “very sick and mentally confused,” and “under a mental strain and facing a personal crisis.” Fox head Daryl Zanuck, who saw the film as a prime vehicle for his mistress Bella Darvi, was outraged and hit Brando with a $2 million breach of contract lawsuit. Ironically Brando eventually broke free of the film that co-starred Victor Mature and Jean Simmons, only to star in another horrid period costumer Desiree, about the troubled romance between Napoleon and the secret love of his life, his seamstress (Jean Simmons, again). And Darvi? After the film was eventually released, one critic sniped she was nothing but “a high price harlot who comes off like a five cent piece.” 

2) Mister Roberts (1955) - Henry Fonda was Mr. Roberts on stage in the late ‘40s and everyone assumed he’d also be Mr. Roberts in the big screen adaption to be directed by the legendary John Ford. Instead Brando was courted for the part of the stoic and rugged individual who does psychological battle with his tyrannical commanding officer (James Cagney). Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and Fonda, a native Nebraskan like Brando, got the part, one of his most lasting creations. Still, one can't help but wonder what the Brando-Cagney star clash would have yielded as well as how the notoriously rigid Ford would have handled method actor Marlon. 

3) Lawrence Of Arabia (1962) - David Lean’s epic historical and psychological film had been in the works for some time and Brando’s name had always appeared at the top of everyone’s wish list. Brando and Lean met several times and eventually had a falling out with Marlon later complaining "Damned if I wanted to spend two years of my life out in the desert on some fucking camel." Marlon would quickly move on to star in another historical epic, (and his own personal Waterloo), the remake of Mutiny On The Bounty. Of course, Peter O’Toole ended up getting the part of Lawrence and stardom, for him, was born 

4) Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969) - Brando was originally set to play the Sundance Kid to Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy in hit cult american western. Things, as usual, didn’t work out which some critics claim was because Brando was already committed the critically acclaimed Italian action drama Queimada aka Burn (1969) while others comment Brando found it too similar to his role in One Eyed Jacks (1961), the only film Brando himself directed too but still even now the idea of Marlon and Paul together, makes film aficionados drool. Newman had long been a serious rival of Brando and had even begun his career as something of a Marlon clone, witness his acting style in The Left Handed Gun.

5) Child's Play (1972) - Not to be confused with the Chucky killer doll horror series, this was instead a mystery drama with subtle horror overtones from the early 70s (when acting and not killer dolls were the rage), about dueling Catholic school teachers at a boy’s school. Brando, who was to star opposite James Mason, got as far as even filming a few scenes of the Sidney Lumet helmed feature when he was let go by producer David Merrick who told the LA Times, “Disagreement? There was no disagreement. I simply threw Mr. Brando out of my film. He wanted to make basic changes in the story and I could not accept that.” Robert Preston took over for him in a film Leonard Maltin called, “Well acted but somber and confusing...”JC


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