Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh, What Might Have Been

I recently discovered the Mental Floss blog, which is dangerous for someone with a mind for trivia like myself. Last week they ran a fascinating post about famous actors and roles they turned down. Definitely worth a read. Can you imagine...

  • Cary Grant as James Bond
  • Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix (Did Wild Wild West instead.)
  • Michael Madsen as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (Did Costner's Wyatt Earp instead. John Travolta might still be a has-been actor from the 70's.)
  • Steve McQueen instead of Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Turned it down because Newman wouldn't give him top billing.)
  • Steve McQueen instead of Gene Hackman in The French Connection (Thought it was too similar to Bullitt)
  • Steve McQueen instead of Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now (He didn't want to spend 4 months in the jungle shooting, and Coppola wouldn't pay him $3 million.)

(Steve McQueen didn't have much luck turning down roles.)

But, the one that I found most interesting was this one...

Sean Connery as Gandalf in LOTR.
He'd never read the books and didn't understand the script at all so he turned it down. New Line Cinema reportedly wanted him so badly they offered him 15% of WORLDWIDE box office receipts. Assuming the movies did as well with him as Gandalf (hard to imagine him being as good as Ian McKellen, but not impossible), he would have made an estimated $400 million dollars on the films. More than any actor has ever made for any role.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.