“When you hear a strange sound, drop to the ground”.
A Fistful of Pesos ?? …
From Wikipedia – The Online Encyclopedia:
- 1964 – Clint Eastwood signed a contract for A Fistful of Dollars for $15,000 (US$112,403 in 2012 dollars) in wages for eleven weeks’ work, with a bonus of a Mercedes automobile upon completion.
- Sergio Leone intended Henry Fonda to play the “Man with No Name”. However, the production company could not afford to engage a major Hollywood star.
- Next, Leone offered Charles Bronson the part. He, too, declined the role, arguing that the script was bad.
- Both Fonda and Bronson would later star in Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
- Other actors who turned the role down were Henry Silva, Rory Calhoun, Tony Russel, Steve Reeves, Ty Hardin, James Coburn and Richard Harrison.
For a few pesos more …
From Wikipedia – The Online Encyclopedia
- 1965 – Clint Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel For a Few Dollars More, while Lee Van Cleef received $17,000.
- Charles Bronson was again approached for a starring role, but he passed it up, citing that the sequel’s script was like the first film. Instead, Lee Van Cleef then accepted the role.
- As all of the film’s footage was shot silent, Eastwood and Van Cleef returned to Italy where they dubbed over their dialogue and sound effects were added.
One of my favorite things is to investigate who turned down – or lost out – on certain movie roles.
For instance. Gary Cooper turned down The Big Trail, Stagecoach, and Red River. John Wayne took all three. Cooper carried on very nicely, but Wayne went on to become the Number One Star in Movies and possibly the greatest Western Star of all time.
“112,000 dollars” in 1964 for Clint – for 11 weeks work. And a Mercedes. Not bad at all actually – and he wasn’t even a star … yet. Though by todays Movie Star standards that might sound a bit weak. But as they say in Hollywood: “The only bad actor is an unemployed actor.”
Of course ‘nobody’ (if you’ll excuse the expression) had no idea of the success these movies would be – the start of the whole Spaghetti Western phenomenon. And very obviously – by the number of actors that turned these movies down – plenty of people didn’t think much of the opportunity.
But if Bronson hadn’t been so picky, Lee Van Cleef might very well have just faded away into the Western sunset.
It takes great Directors to make great Westerns.
I’ve decided I need to create another section called The Great Western Directors.
I hadn’t intended this, but it’s become unavoidable. The reason being that in working on my celebration of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, I’ve discovered so much material and information on Sam Pekinpah that it could almost take up half the blog spot by itself.
Pekinpah was a very interesting man – and a great Director. He made about 5 Westerns – most notably The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – and his impact on filmdom itself has been so powerful (not just Westerns) that he cannot be ignored. Quite a few other people feel the same: there is so many documentarys, songs, numerous articles, and interesting commentary from people that worked with him, for him and against him that I think it will prove interesting to many Western fans – and add to their appreciation of his work.
Other Directors of note (off the top of my head) include: John Ford, Howard Hawkes, Sergio Leone, John Sturges, Anthony Mann, … and there will easily be another three or four that I wish to honour.
Typically, the more I work on this blog the bigger the project becomes. I do wonder if I shouldn’t be more restrained in what I am putting out because I’m not sure how willing people will be to look through such a lot of material. Yet, as I said, some of it is so interesting that I feel folks will find it of interest also … ??
If not … we can always shoot it out.
Westward HO !!