- Robert Cummings, Between Us Girls, 1942. Heflin fell for and proposed to Diana Barrymore and introduced her to director Henry Koster. Diana got the role, Heflin didn't. Two days later he wed Frances Neal, his third and final wife.
- Hurd Hatfield. Dragon Seed, 1944. Pearl S Buck's Chinese story was probably, the worst cast movie in MGM history, topped by Katharine Hepburn as a Chinese peasant! “Of the 33 actors with speaking roles, only three were Oriental,” admitted co-director Jack Conway. (Heflin was a previous lover of the bisexual Hepburn).
- Frank Albertson, It's A Wonderful Life, 1946.
- Thomas E Breen, The River/Le fleuve, France-India-USA, 1951. Among the Hollywood names juggled by the legendary French realisateur Jean Renoir for his final film in English. He also tried for Brando, John Dall, Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, James Mason, Robert Walker, Sam Wannamaker before settling on the totally useless Breen.
- James Dean, Giant, 1955.
- Kirk Douglas, Lust For Life, 1956. With eight US films under his belt, French directing icon Jean Renoir spent most of ’53-54 with trying to make his dream movie - the life of painter Vincent Van Gogh by the son of another master painter, Auguste Renoir. Deals could never be struck. Hardly surprising as he selected, of all acting bores, Heflin, for troubled artist. (Apart from Charles Laughton, Renoir’s choice of Hollywoodians was of the ennui variety: Dana Andrews, Burgess Meredith, Robert Ryan, etc). Renoir went home to direct French Cancan and a stage play (with Leslie Caron). His place on location at Auvers-sur-Oise was suddenly taken by MGM, Vincente Minnelli and, an even stranger choice, Kirk Von Douglas.
- Nigel Patrick, Raintree County, 1957. When MGM figured this was the next Gone With The Wind in 1949, Heflin was due to be run out of town for being a liberal professor
- Richard Basehart, The Brothers Karamazov, 1957. Ten years earlier, Heflin had been considered for two plums: (a) Stanley Kowalski in Broadway's Streetcar Named Desire and (b) Ivan with Robert Taylor as his brother Dmitri Karamazov. In the end, the plums fell far from the tree.
- Gilbert Roland, Guns of the Timberland, 1959. During the casting days, Alan Ladd - the star and the producer - mused over Heflin, Tony Martin, Edmond O’Brien and his daughter Alana Ladd. Alana, only, appeared in the film; the second of her four films with Daddy.
- Robert Stack, The Untouchables, TV. 1959-63. Another plum he let fall off the tree. Van Johnson, Jack Lord, Fred MacMurray, Cliff Robertson or Heflin, NBC Radio’s Phillip Marlowe would have made a livelier Elliott Ness than Robot Stack!
- Andrew Keir, Quatermass and the Pit, 1967. After two lacklustre Americans (waxworks called Brian Donlevy and Dean Jagger), Hammer Films finally saw sense and chose a Brit for the BBC’s most famous sf professor in a second movie sequel. Keir was perfect and played Professor Bernard Quatermass again in BBC Radio 3’s five-parter, The Quatermass Memoirs, in 1996.
- Salvo Randone, Fellini Satyricon, Italy, 1969. Fellini’s opening ideas included such names as Pierre Clementi, Gert Frobe, Boris Karloff, Terence Stamp - and Heflin for Eumolpe.
- Ernest Borgnine, The Revengers, 1971. A Mexican Western memorable only for a jinxed cast: Heflin had a fatal heart attack during shooting, William Holden arrived with Kenyan jungle fever, Mary Ure quit for Broadway.