1. - Al Pacino, Panic In Needle Park, 1971. Jerry Schatzberg nearly refused his second film (“too topical, so much drugs were going on”) until hearing Pacino fancied it. The studio wanted somebody younger - Al was 30. “I told the producer: The only reason I'm doing this film is that I really want to work with Al. I’ll go through the charade of seeing other actors.” Among them was De Niro, the Mr Schlepper of auditions: monosyllabic, charmless, never talking to the director. “And he was wonderful! But I’d already made up my mind. Later, I was downtown, looking in the window of an Army and Navy store and somebody comes up behind me: ”Hey man - I really want to do that part.’ I turn around - De Niro! I told him the truth: ”You’re brilliant, but it would be unfair to myself and to Pacino’.” l had caught De Niro’s debut, The Wedding Party, ”and was very impressed by him.” Now it was time for Pacino’s debut.
2/3/4 - Al Pacino, James Caan, Gianni Russo & John Martino, The Godfather, 1971.
5. - James Caan, The Gambler, 1973.
When Paramount cheesily announced a 2012 re-make without telling him, scenarist James Toback realated the unexpurgated chronology of the original (“from erection to resurrection,” to quote Churchill), revealing how William Saroyan’s daughter, Lucy, said: “I know the actor you must use. I study with him. I’ve fooled around with him... He’s a genius. I’ve known Marlon since I was a little girl. I’ve fucked Marlon. I love Marlon. And this is the only guy on earth who is going to be as great as Marlon - Bobby DeNiro.” They met and found an instant communion.
“He read the script. He didn’t just learn it - he digested it. He became Axel Freed [aka Toback]. He even got a Caesar haircut from Carol at Vidal Sasoon where I had my hair cut... He had the character inside out, up and down, front and rear. The problem was that at that point no one except Lucy Saroyan was calling DeNiro a genius.” And his UK director, Karel Reisz, veteoed him. “If you are going to insist on my using DeNiro I will not make the movie.” The writer was stunned:
“He’s the guy! How can you not see that?”
“I’m sorry. I won’t discuss it. He’s simply wrong for the part.” “Let him read for you. He’s sensational!”
“If you continue trying to persuade me, I’ll have to resign. We can talk about anything else. I will not talk about him.” Toback and De Niro remained friends, “but we’ve had nothing like the creative collaboration which might well have evolved from his playing Axel Freed.”
6. - Elliott Gould, California Split, 1974. Steven Spielberg had everything set for De Niro. When director Robert Altman and scenarist Joseph Walsh took over, they actually preferred Gould. Go figure.
7. - James Caan, Funny Lady, 1975. This time, Caan was a better choice for the Broadway showman Billy Rose. Barbra Streisand, however, wanted Robert Blake. And tested him at home.
8. - David Carradine, Bound For Glory, 1976. “Bob was busy for the next eight years!” says screenwriter Robert Getchell. “Anyway, we wanted a short, wiry, 23-year-old.” Carradine chased the role over eight years with the same message: “But I am Woody Guthrie!” Despite being tall and 40!
* A producer called Robert Redford wanted a modest movie about the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story. Before they helped topple President Richard Nixon, a ($2m) budget and unknown actors were planned. He chose the 1973 Bang The Drum Slowly: Robert De Niro to be Carl Bernstein and Michael Moriarty as Bob Woodward. Increased costs called for safeguards called Dustin Hoffman and Redford.
[Montage by Reg Oliver, 1976]
9 - Dustin Hoffman, All The President’s Men, 1976. Robert Redford snapped up the rights - for a little film for De Niro as Carl Bernstein, Michael Moriarty as Bob Woodward. This, in fact, is the very casting story that bred this fetish of mine...
10 - Richard Dreyfuss, The Goodbye Girl, 1977. Written as Gable Slept Here, it started shooting in 1974 as Bogart Slept Here and De Niro is no Bogie fan. In comedy too soon after Taxi Driver angst, he walked away after two weeks. “It never worked. Then, they tried not to pay me. They didn’t succeed.” Mike Nichols tested a few replacements, then threw in the towel - “It would be wrong to continue” - and quit movies for five years, including his next project, The Last Tycoon, with... De Niro. Neil Simon, who re-wrote script to suit the girl’s angle for his second wife, Marsha Mason, commented: “De Niro’s a very intense actor. He doesn't play joy very well.” Dreyfuss said: “I think I’m wonderful.” Oscar agreed.
11 - James Caan, A Bridge Too Far, 1977. Money was never the issue - he was happy with $500,000 per day! But UK actor-director Richard Attenborough could never find time to meet and analyse the role with him.
12 - Anthony Hopkins, Magic, 1978. Before Richard Attenborough set it up with Hopkins (one of the Bridge Too Far stars), De Niro had shown interest in the psycho-ventriloquist and set about replacing Steven Spielberg with Roman Polanski - in jail for raping an underage girl. So De Niro became The Deer Hunter.
13 - Sylvester Stallone, FIST, 1978. De Niro dawdled for months about the truckers’ union drama, so Norman Jewison snapped up the Time and Newsweek cover boy. Rocky! “Nobody really knew whether Stallone could act,” commented scenarist Joe Eszterhas. Next day, the De Niro camp called, Bob was in! Too late. There was a verbal agreement with Sly - soon re-writing the script. Eszterhas called Sly a thief and Stallone had him banned from the set. Ain’t stardom great!
14 - Tom McKitterick, The Warriors, 1979. Walter Hill asked De Niro - and then chose an unknown for Cowboy. He’s remains unknown.
15 - Harvey Keitel, La mort en direct (UK/US: Death Watch), France-West Germany-UK, 1979. Lyons realisateur Bertrand Tavernier unwisely insisted on “unbankable” Keitel (just sacked from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now) and Romy Schneider. His American producers wanted bigger American names De Niro or Richard Gere, Jane Fonda or Diane Keaton.
16 - Jack Nicholson, The Shining, 1980. Not psychotic enough said Stanley Kubrick. (He also said Robin Williams was too psychotic!). The other SK, author Stephen King, had favoured Michael Moriarty, Jack Palance or Jon Voight as Jack Torrance.
17 - Al Pacino, Cruising, 1980. Isn’t this where we came in...? A quick refusal - same from Roy Scheider, who lost Deer Hunter to De Niro.
18 - John Belushi, Continental Divide, 1981. Steven Spielberg tried again - offering to revive Brian De Palma’s 1966 Wedding Party couple: Bob and Jill Clayburgh. The idea fizzled into Blair Brown wired to De Niro pal Belushi.
19 - Gérard Depardieu, Le Retour de Martin Guerre, France, 1982. One of The Incredible Bulk's classics. His 1900 co-star was hunting up French locations with Martin Scorsese to make it with Meryl Streep and Paul Scofield, when hearing of the French version. De Niro's producer, Arnon Milchan, eventually made the 1992 Hollywood re-make, Sommersby, with Richard Gere.
20 - Sylvester Stallone, First Blood (aka Rambo), 1982.
21 - Frederic Forrest, Hammett, 1982. German director Wim Wenders wanted him but his producer - a guy called Coppola - wanted to use his own contract players.
22 - Al Pacino, Scarface, 1982. Both De Niro and Edward James Olmos refused to be Cuban gangster Tony Montana - Pacino called it among his most favorite roles.
23 - Richard Gere, Breathless, 1983. Jim McBride’s first choice took too long to say pay or nay.
24 - Michael Palin, Brazil, 1985. “He needed the work,” joked Terry Gilliam. “He chose Palin’s part (the torturer) because it was more complicated. Bobby’s instincts go for complex, confused characters. But I wanted him to play a hero. [Superplumber Harry Tuttle]. He’s simple, honest, honourable, so I said: ‘You’re our hero, just be yourself.’ This was terrifying for him. He actually tried to make it more complicated... until we all wanted to kill him!”
25 - Robert Duvall, Let’s Get Harry, 1985. De Niro would have been the biggest star-capture by Hollywood’s most notorious director, Allen Smithee - official pseudonym for Directors Guild members taking their names off films (Stuart Rosenberg in this case).
26 - Walter Matthau, Pirates, 1986. When Nicholson jumped ship, Polanksi contacted De Niro. He was making almost any-and-everything at the time (he had a company to finance), but there were limits... “I had to decide early on whether I was to be an actor or a personality.”
27 - Christopher Walken, At Close Range, 1986. De Niro felt the role of Sean Penn’s father was “too dark.” Hearing that, Taxi Driver co-producer Julia Phillips scoffed: “Must be as black as darkest Africa for De Niro to say that.”
28 - Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, 1986. He auditioned for the role of William. Then, French realisateur Jean Jacques Annaud changed his mind when De Niro proved more focused ton having a real duel with real swords...
29 - Nick Nolte, Weeds, 1987. “Once in a generation a gifted actor makes a role his own...” screamed the hype. But which gifted actor...? In 1980, the life of ex-con-playwright Rick Cluchey was set for De Niro, the Raging Bull producers and his his Bang The Drum Slowly maker John Hancock. It resurfaced in l982 at EMI, still with De Niro. By l984, Nick Nolte took over. Three more years before it was made - and instantly forgotten.
30 - Scott Glenn, Man On Fire, 1987. Producer Arnon Milchan's Once Upon A Time In America team of director Sergio Leone and De Niro passed. Milchan tried Marlon Brando - who only worked on script of French director Eli Chouraqui's first/last US film.
31 - Mickey Rourke, Angel Heart, 1987. “Which role are you offering?” said De Niro. “Either,” said Alan Parker. De Niro took so long deciding that Rourke was handed the private eye. Parker recalled a three hour meeting where De Niro “questioned every dot and comma of the script,” and two weeks before shooting, he quit agonising and played Lou Cyphere. (Say it!)
32 - Jack Nicholson, Ironweed, 1987. Dropped when he avoided carrying films and preferred cameos - like Al Capone in The Untouchables. “People treat me with a bit too much reverence.”
33 - Willem Dafoe, The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988.
Scorsese’s first choice since 1971. “There are subjects Marty wants to do that I'm not particularly interested in,” De Niro told me in Deauville. “And this was one of them...
To play Jesus is like playing Hamlet - everybody’s done it. Even though Marty wanted to do it more connected to reality. But I did say: ‘As a friend, I’d do it if you needed to get it going. But I don’t think you’d want me to do it under those conditions.’ I’m happy he did it. It’s a work of love, a chef d’ouvre. I don’t know what the scandal is about. What scared them is that Marty really cared.” Scorsese fell for Dafoe in To Live And Die In LA, and Platoon, 1985-6. “Physically, an extraordinary actor. Particularly in the Crucifixion - when he did everything but the nails.”
34 - Tom Hanks, Big, 1988. Hanks was the first choice for Josh Baskin but was stuck in two other movies. “Bobby agreed when most people had passed on it,” said Penny Marshall. He wanted $6m. An offer was made to Jeff Bridges. Hanks became free and was cheaper at $2m. De Niro kept his childlike self for Marshall’s next film, Awakenings, 1990.
35 - Dennis Quaid, Everybody's All American (UK: When I Fall In Love), 1988. One of the many due to be ex-football star Gavin Grey during six years of more Development Purgatory than Hell.
36 - Danny Ailleo, Do The Right Thing, 1989. Director Spike Lee wrote Sal, the pizzeria racist, for him. “He suggested Danny,” Spike told me. “I had thought of Danny. But I wanted De Niro. But when you think of it, De Niro probably wouldn’t have been right for this. It would’ve like thrown everything out of whack. To have a star of that magnitude in a film like this. But we had him on the Wall of Fame in Sal’s Famous Pizzeria.” On and off stuntman Ailleo had taught De Niro the art of baseball for his breakthrough movie, Bang The Drum Slowly, 1973.
37 - Stephen Lang, Last Exit To Brooklyn, Germany, 1989. Various US film-makers attempted to crack Hubert Selby Jr’s jigsaw of a book: Ralph Bakshi, Steve Kranz, Stanley Kubrick... Brian De Palma was working on it for De Niro until stopped by the US anti-porno forces. Germany finally made it - with most of their US cast doing its best to sound like De Niro.
38 - Mickey Rourke, Johnny Handsome, 1989. Bobby was juggling Johnny, Ironweed, Big... instead, he chose...
39 - Joe Pesci, Home Alone, 1989. De Niro and Macauley Culkin!!! Never. De Niro passed Harry Lime (!) to pal Joe Pesci. Tough of the kid as when Pesci had to bite his finger, he actually bit his finger!
40 - Robin Williams, Awakenings, 1990. Director Penny Marshall offered him Leonard, the Rip Van Winkle patient - and then, Dr Sayer. “He's the glue of the movie,” said Marshall: “Let someone else be the glue,” he said. “I want the glitter.” And a sixth Oscar nomination.
41 - Ray Liotta, Goodfellas, 1990. “At first, I wanted to play Henry Hill. I loved this character but wondered if I could look young enough... Discussing the characters with Marty [Scorsese], I said: Why don't I play Jimmy Conway? There's some good scenes for me.”
42 - Warren Beatty, Dick Tracy, 1990. As potential helmers switchbacked from Tim Burton, to John Landis.
43 - Joe Pesci, Home Alone, 1990. He passed on Henry Lime (no, really!) and suggested his Raging Bull brother.
44 - Harvey Keitel, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
45 - David Morse, The Indian Runner, 1991. “Relentlessly” inspired to make a movie from a favourite Bruce Springsteen song, “Highway Patrolman,” Sean Penn talked to De Niro (they discovered they shared the same birthday during We're No Angels) about playing his older brother. De Niro's tight schedule meant a movie break for the St. Elsewhere TV star - and Penn satisfied himself by directing only.
46 - Warren Beatty, Bugsy, 1991. Beatty’s writer James Toback heard of Jean-Luc Godard’s “pastiche-like” treatment aimed at De Niro-Diane Keaton. Toback took years to write his version. “I want to play this part,” chided Beatty, “while I can still walk!”
47 - Kevin Costner, JFK, 1991.
48 - Jack Nicholson, Man Trouble, 1991. Lawrence Kasdan had almost made it with De Niro-Jessica Lange. “We could never agree on where the script should go.” Nicholson was paid $8m - and in three US weeks, the film earned... $3.9m!
49 - Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
50 - Armand Assante, The Mambo Kings, 1992. De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Kline were the names considered, but Bobby had done the randy bandleader bit before in New York, New York, 1977.
51 - Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross, 1992. Scenarist David Mamet always wanted him. He had, after all,written the original stage play for him.
52 - Joe Pesci, My Cousin Vinny, 1992. Lissen, ya know who ya should get...
53 - Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men, 1992. Bob saw the Aaron Sorkin play and wanted the hard-nosed, scene-stealing Marine Colonel Nathan Jessup: “You can’t handle the truth!” (That might have been director Rob Reiner talking when turning him down for Jack...).
54 - Jack Nicholson, Hoffa, 1992. Over its seven year gestation, producer Edward Pressman had also seen De Niro and Al Pacino for the veritable King Lear of trade union leaders. Jack was paid $9m. And then some.
55 - Bob Hoskins, The Super Mario Brothers, 1993. America’s finest screen actor in a film about video-game characters - get out! Yet it was on - for a brief while. His Tribeca Film Center always needed funds.
56 - Bill Murray, Mad Dog and Glory, 1993. When Kevin Costner rejected Mad Dog, a timid police photographer, De Niro swopped roles and gave Murray, the gangster giving the cop a hooker called Glory for a week.
57 - Joe Mantegna, Searching For Bobby Fischer, 1993. Directing debut of the Awakenings scenarist Steven Zaillian, based on the life of Fred Waitzkin and his chess-prodigy son, Josh.
58 - Bruce Willis, Striking Distance, 1993. Nine years later, Willis apologised on TV to the people who bought tickets: "It sucked." Why do you think, Brucie, that De Niro, and before him, Ed Harris, passed on the tired actioner?
59 - Jean Reno, Léon, France, 1994. French auteur Luc Besson must have finished the movie before De Niro made his mind up!
60 - Forest Whitaker, Prêt-à-porter, 1994. For down-to-earth fashion designer Cy Bianco. De Niro probably wouldn’t have enjoyed improvising around real Paris fashion show events in a style that Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “a mix of a comedy crossed with a home movie.”
61 - John Travolta, Get Shorty, 1995. Warren Beatty, Michael Keaton, Al Pacino, they all steered clear of Elmore Leonard’s creation of Chili Palmer, a mafioso wanting to make movies in LA. De Niro had already delivered a great take on behind Hollywood scenes in Mistress, 1992.
62 - Chazz Palminteri, The Usual Suspects, 1995. The plodding US Customs cop was also nixed by Al Pacino and Christopher Walken.
63 - Harvey Keitel, Clockers, 1995. Due for Detective Rocco Klein when Martin Scorsese was planning to direct. He passed the tale - quite rightly - to Spike Lee, who wanted John Turturro. Universal did not. Scorsese, producing, suggested Keitel. Then Marty and Bobby went off to their 100-day shoot of Casino.
64 - Nick Nolte, Mother Night, 1995. “Are you out of your mind?” said the suits when actor-turned-director Keith Gordon tried top make the Kurt Vonnegut book about a nice Nazi who hangs himself. “We’ll need a major star,” said Fine Line: Robert De Niro was busy, Daniel Day-Lewis backpacking across Europe and Nolte’s people said, what else but...”Are you out of your mind?” Gordon reached him by accepting a tiny role in a film Nolte was making, , giving him the script, saying: “Listen, this is the reason I took this part. You can have me thrown off the set if you want.” Nolte was not only gracious, but a big fan of Vonnegut.
65 - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eraser, 1996. An early draft from Tony Puryear drew US Marshal John (The Eraser) Kruger as a De Niro action hero.
66 - Alec Baldwin, The Edge, 1997. Good guy targetted for extinction outwits his rival. Also announced with George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman or John Travolta.
67 - Robert Forster, Jackie Brown, 1997. Somehow a script reached De Niro. He liked it and asked to play Max Cherry, the sad-sack bail bondsman. No, said, Quentin Tarantino, I wrote that for another Bob. Why not play the ex-con Louis (the role Stallone had somehow read and pushed for). OK by me!
68 - Woody Allen, Deconstructing Harry, 1997. With De Niro and Dustin Hoffman busy on other assignmentss, Woody gave up looking and became Harry with two weeks to go. “But you know,” he kept insisting, “he’s not me!” Of course not!
69 - Geoffrey Rush, Les Miserables, 1997. Magwich in Great Expectations was one classic enough that year.
70 - Willem Dafoe, The Boondock Saints, 1999. Bobby knew where this lamebrain thriller was aimed - directly into the DVD bin.
71 - Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday, 1999. Director Oliver Stone had two idea only - and Pacino said yes first.
72 - Emilio Estevez, Rated X, TV, 1999. Before the Estevez brothers made their Showtime version, Sean Penn was due to direct an adaptation of David McCumber’s book about the Mitchell Brothers porno film-makers - starring De Niro and Jack Nicholson as Jim and Artie respectively. Sheen agreed to play Artie as long as his brother, Emilio Estevez, directed and played Jim.
73 - James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, TV, 1999-2007. “For movie version, I thought of De Niro.,” recvealed creator David Chase: “For TV, it was an audition after audition after audition. And when Jim walekd in, that was it.” (Chase never knew that, coincidentally, De Niro was already playing a mobster seeing a shrink in Analyse This, 1998
74 - Willem Dafoe, The Boondock Saints, 1999. Bothered, perhaps, by a scene where he’s considered beautiful in drag (!), De Niro (and Kevin Spacey) passed on the Fed admiring more than hunting two Irish brothers knocking off Boston Mafiosi. The film was writer-directed by Troy Duffy, mistakenly touted by Harvey Weinstein as the new Tarantino - well, the F Word was used 246 times (versus 272 in Reservoir Dogs, 265 in Pulp Fiction). The initial release was cut after 1999 Columbine Massacre, but Duffy’s violence lived anew on DVD, leading to a 2009 sequel which did not.
75 - James Caan, The Yards, 2000. De Niro agreed to a read-through (with Sean Penn) of James Gray’s second movie. Ultimately, the cut-price Godfather of the New York subway system was tackled by one of his boys - the sons of Don Corleone.
76 - Ed Harris, Pollock, 2000. Harris prepared to play the alcoholic, manic-depressive painter Jackson Pollock for 15 years - and pounced as soon as co-stars De Niro and Barbra Stresisand let it go.
77/78 - Leonardo Di Caprio & Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York, 2001. If director Martin Scorsese had found backers, the 1978 version would have starred De Niro as the young hero. Two decades later, he was first choice for the villain, Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. By the time Hollywood (or Miramax) showed any interest, De Niro could no longer be absent from New York due to a custody battle over some of his children. Daniel was coaxed out of retirement to lead the pack at Cinecitta.
79 - Billy Bob Thornton, Monster's Ball, 2001. Six years ealier, the line-up was De Niro and Sean Penn as his son (and also directing) and Queen Latifah as the female lead. “Bobby only exists when he’s in somebody else’s skin,” said LA auteur Paul Schrader. He didn’t want this skin. He talked, then walked.
80 - Jon Seda, Double Bang, 2001. A (terrible) vigilante-cop number announced in 1992 for a villainous De Niro - before he read it.
81 - Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man, 2001.
82 - Alfred Molina, Frida, 2002. Madonna’s hope to film the the love story of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera was quashed by Salma Hayek’s excellent production.
83 - Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, 2004.
84 - Denzel Washington, Man on Fire, 2004. UK director Tony Scott finally got to (re)make the movie he was axed from in 1987. He invited chums to the party: De Niro, Will Smith, Bruce Willis. None accepted.
85 - Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004. Er, really? Second time he was thought of for the same role as Michael Palin - Willy Wonka in the last Plan B production before the bosses divorced: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
86 - Jack Black, King Kong, 2005. New Zealand’s most magic director Peter Jackson first aimed for De Niro - then George Clooney - as the film-maker Carl Denham.
87 - Martin Sheen, The Departed, 2005. De Niro had to quit being police chief Oliver Queenan in the project that finally won his pal Martin Scorsese’s Best Director/Film Oscars - due to directing The Good Shepherd. Matt Damon starred in both films.
88 - Matt Damon, The Good Shepherd, 2005. When the project reached MGM and John Frankenheimer - after previous attempts by directors Wayne Wang and Philip Kaufman never ignited - De Niro was supposed to play the titular spy, Edward Wilson, partly based upon the founder of the CIA’s counterintelligence operations, James Jesus Angelton. Bobby got too old and Frankenheimer died in 2002. Di Caprio quit, Damon took over as De Niro directed and played a most Scorsese-looking cameo as General Bill Sullivan, partly based on General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of OSS, the Office of Strategic Services during WWII. Despite De Niro’s elegant direction, this is the slowest, dullest espionage movie ever made - odd as Wilson is clearly based less on Angelton than Michael Corleone in Godfather II. And indeed,.Francis Coppola was among the producers and had intended to direct - but surely not this long-winded scenario.
89 - Andy Serkis, Flushed Away, 2006. The Man Who Was Peter Jackson’s King Kong beat De Niro and William Shatner to voicing Spike... giving De Niro time to voice the old king in the US cut of French mogul Luc Besson’s Arthur and The Invisibles, 2006.
90 - Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. During 25 years in Development Hell, the titular casting also included, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino. Tim Curry was the sole Brit considered and the most lunatic notions were... Warren Beatty, Harrison Ford and Robert Redford!
91 - Richard Jenkins, The Kingdom, 2006. Pursued for the role of FBI Director Grace when Michael Mann was due to direct.
92 - Mickey Rourke, Kill Shot, 2008. The old Quentin Tarantino project was almost greenlit in 2002 for UK director Tony Scott, De Niro and... Tarantino as Richie Nix. And nix it was.
93 - Ray Winstone, Edge of Darkness, 2008. Quit Mel Gibson’s acting comeback after less than a week. “Sometimes things don't work out,” said De Niro’s spokesman. “It’s called creative differences.” Gritty Brit Winstone was a surprise replacement. Ironically, his CIA man Darius Jedburgh had been the sole American in the original TV serial - played by Joe Don Baker. 007’s Martin Campbell directed both the BBC and Warner Bros versions.
94 - Eric Roberts, The Expendables, 2009. Passed on the Sylvester Stallone gang’s Target #1 - an evil, ex-CIAgent running a South American drug cabal (and almost the country)... from behind wrestler Steve Austin as his man-mountain bodyguard, well-named Paine.
95 - Al Pacino, Son of No One, 2010. One Godpop for another in New York auteur Dito Montiel’s third movie in four years with Channing Tatum.