You must remember this… Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and
Ingrid Bergman. But there’s also the possibly mythical notion that
Ronald Reagan could have played Rick in a lower-budget version, a
notion that doesn’t bear thinking about amigos! Truth be told,
original screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein were asked to craft
the role for Bogart by Hal Wallis, what isn’t a myth is that Hedy
Lamarr was pencilled in for the role of Ilsa before her unavailability
saw it go to Ingrid Bergman. How different a film would it have been
if the lovely but arguably less-talented Ms Lamarr had been cast
rather than the luminous Ms Bergman?
It’s a fascinating conjecture. So here’s some more what if’s to set
the juices flowing or to give thanks for the horrors that were

What if…
George Raft had taken the lead in The Maltese Falcon rather than
Humphrey Bogart? (not to mention several other movies.)

Tom Selleck had been able to play Indiana Jones rather than Harrison Ford?

Bela Lugosi had agreed to play Frankenstein’s Monster in James Whale’s
Frankenstein? (No offence to Mr Lugosi but I think we can all be
grateful that he turned down the role and Boris Karloff stepped into
those cement spreader’s boots instead.)

Cary Grant or Richard Johnson or Sam Neill or John Gavin (John Gavin!
Yet he was actually *signed* for this particular role!) or Burt
Reynolds (Yes, Burt!!) had played James Bond?

Will Smith hadn’t turned down the opportunity to play Neo in The Matrix?

Julie Andrews had gotten to portray Eliza Doolittle in the screen
version of My Fair Lady as she had on stage rather than Ms Audrey

Frank Sinatra had chosen to appear in It’s Always Fair Weather, the
sort-of follow-up to On the Town?

The possibilities are endless!
I wonder if there any great missed opportunities or thankfully-dodged
bullets that you can think of? If there are please have at it in the
comments. šŸ™‚
This is Beguiling Hollywood’s far-flung correspondent, George Kaplan,
wishing you a good day!

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  1. August 4, 2013

    The amount and distinct quality of the films George Raft turned down was breathtaking.

    • George Kaplan
      August 6, 2013

      Not the most perceptive of, um, choosers our Mr Raft!

  2. Heather in Arles
    August 4, 2013

    If Marilyn had finished “Something’s got to give”? Oh my…you gave us a lot to ponder Mr. K–and I see there is more!!! Yippee!!!

    • George Kaplan
      August 6, 2013

      Funny you should say that, H, I almost included it! It was revamped as Move Over, Darling with Doris, wasn’t it, or am I confused?!

  3. August 5, 2013

    What if Pretty Woman had been filmed in the gritty, non-comedic manner it was originally scripted — and the burned out street walker with substance abuse problems had been played by… Meryl Streep at 40?

    • George Kaplan
      August 6, 2013

      Ooh, interesting… Excellent, Vickie! Maybe not Meryl though, but who else?!

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