1. - Martin Milner, Marjorie Morningstar, 1957. He tested for Gene Kelly’s friend who was more successful in showbiz than Gene Kelly. Legend has it that the one-eyed Falk failed a screen test at Columbia and studio boss Harry Cohn told him: “For the same price I can get an actor with two eyes.”
2. - Mike Connors, Situation Hopeless - But Not Serious, 1965. Due to join Robert Redford as the US flyers kept prisoner long after 1945 by German air-raid warden Alec Guinness in a seriously hopeless (unreleased) version of actor Robert Shaw's first novel, The Hiding Place. 3. - Elliott Gould, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1969. Ted.
4. - Alex Rocco, The Godfather, 1971.
5. - Elliott Gould, California Split, 1974. Falk and Robert De Niro were among Steven Spielberg's ideas before passing the pot to the much revered Robert Altman... who left it to Gould to convince his writer-buddy Joseph Walsh. Calling from Germany, Gould told him: "Joey, you don't see me as Charlie because you've been Charlie all your life... But to the outside world, I'm Charlie. I'm the crazy one!"
6. - Jack Lemmon, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, 1975. It was Peter's role. He created it on Broadway. "Jack was good," agrees Neil Simon, "but it needed someone more ethnically right, much more urban. Jack, to me, does not portray a typical New Yorker. But the studio told me: "Look, Peter's not a name - and Jack is a big name." Big names prove nothing in the wrong picture."
7. - Gert Fr Å¡ be, The Serpent's Egg, 1977. Lost: a rare opportunity to work with Ingmar Bergman. (Working later with Wim Wenders was not the same thing).
8. - George Segal, The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox, 1977. So, I said, quite innocently to Segal in Paris: Was your great Touch of Class comedy partner, Glenda Jackson, supposed to be the Duchess. “Yes,” he smiled. “She was supposed to do that. [Pause]. With Peter Falk!”
9. - Albert Brooks, The Scout, 1994. But then, Brooks didn’t just audition, he re-wrote his own version...
10 - Bruce Willis, Breakfast of Champions, 1999. Set as Dwayne Hoover (with Alice Cooper as his son) in director Robert Altman’s take on Kurt Vonnegut. Except Dino De Laurentiis got cold feet after his and Altman’s (or, as Dino would say, Altman’s) Buffalo Bill and the Indians flopped in 1976.