With a career spanning more than 40 years, 100 credits on screen, and two Oscar wins (plus three other nominations), Gene Hackman earned the right to be choosy. Although he officially announced his retirement from Hollywood in 2004, film fans around the world have long hoped for a comeback from him. In the meantime and in honor of his 90th birthday, we look back on 10 famous films and a popular sitcom in which he almost played the leading role.
. 1 THE GRADUATE (1967)
In 1967 long-time friends and roommates Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman found themselves as co-stars in Mike Nichols & # 39; The Graduate with Hoffman cast Young college graduate Ben Braddock and Hackman fidgeted, as did Mr. Robinson, the husband of Hoffman's much older lover. Although Hackman was older than Hoffman, it was only seven years ̵
Although Hackman admitted getting the ax didn't hurt his career much – Bonnie and Clyde came out right away and really helped improve his profile – he said it was still "painful". Every time I look at the TV program and see that The Graduate shows up, or sometimes when I see Dusty [Hoffman]I think about it. And you know, if you are fired from the graduate can stay with you. "
2. A FLIGHT OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975)
If Kirk Douglas had his So he would have the role of RP McMurphy in One Flow Over the Cuckoo & # 39; s Nest played – just like on stage when the book was adapted as a play in 1963. When the film with Miloš Forman as the director finally came out more than a decade later, Douglas knew that he was for the role was too old, but had two specific actors in mind: Hackman and Burt Reynolds Jack Nicholson, who won his first of three (and included) Oscars for the film.
3. NEARBY MEETINGS OF THE THIRD TYPE (1977)
Steven Spielbergs is hard to imagine] Close encounters of the third kind without Richard Dreyfuss in the leading role of Roy Neary he was far from Spielberg's fir Spielberg had an eye on Steve McQueen, who supposedly said no because he didn't Could cry on cue. Spielberg then offered the role to a number of the greatest actors of the time – including Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and James Caan. They all went past and left the door open for Dreyfuss.
. 4 APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
Five years after starring in Francis Ford Coppola The Conversation Hackman was the director's first choice, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now … but there was a catch. "The situation of Apocalypse Now was trickier because I appreciate Francis Ford Coppola as a director so much," Hackman told the Chicago Tribune . "But he wanted me to work for points (a percentage of gross rather than salary), which I don't think I should." Instead, it was Robert Duvall, who famously declared: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."
5. ORDINARY PEOPLE (1980)
In 1980 Robert Redford made his directorial debut with the emotionally charged story a family concerned with the death of their eldest son, Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore played the parents, and Timothy Hutton played the younger son (and won an Oscar for his efforts), but Sutherland's role was originally supposed to be that of Hackman – until money got in the way. "I liked the script, but couldn't get it – how can I put it? – Some compensation, "Hackman said to the Chicago Tribune . " If I thought about it, I would have to regret it. So I don't have to think about it, do I? "
6. BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)
We're not sure how close Hackman was to the role of Doc Brown in Back to the Future but in 2015 we learned that he was on the list of competitors by playing the lovingly mad scientist Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk's book Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History contained a memo dated August 21, 1984 that contained more than 40 possible names to fill the role. Some of them are crossed out, some in square brackets and some – like Christopher Lloyd and Gene Hackman – have a check mark next to them , which seems like a good sign. (A copy of the memo can be found here.)
7. MISERY (1990)
Even though the role of novelist Paul Sheldon in Misery come into question k How might the type of part, kill for an actor would (no pun intended), said a long line of famous actors no to the film. In his book What Lies Did I Tell? legendary screenwriter William Goldman reported on some of the names on this list, including Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, and William Hurt (who apparently said no twice to them).
. 8 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
Although Hackman mostly stayed in front of the camera, he decided in the 1980s to see what it felt like to sit and sit on the director's chair with Orion Pictures the film rights to Thomas Harris & # 39; The Silence of the Lambs for Hackman to direct and act. "It's one of the most cinematic books I've ever read," said Hackman. "When I read it, the movie came to my mind."
Hackman planned to take on the role of Jack Crawford with John Hurt as Hannibal Lecter. But on 1989 Oscar Night, Hackman had a revelation: when he was in the audience and was nominated for Mississippi Burning for an Oscar for Best Actor, Hackman realized that he didn't want to investigate an unlikely character with another. So he sold his part of the rights to Orion and still has to make a film.
. 9 THE FUGITIVE (1993)
In 1989, Hackman and director Andrew Davis clicked while producing The Package in which Hackman played a green beret that was tasked with transporting a prisoner, played by Tommy Lee Jones, back to America. When it was time for Davis to take on the role of Deputy General Marshal Sam Gerard in The Fugitive he thought about Hackman – and also John Voight – but eventually decided to work with him again Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the film.
10th JACKIE BROWN (1997)
Jackie Brown may be the headliner in Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel Rum Punch . And Tarantino had a fairly short list of potential competitors: Hackman, John Saxon, and Robert Forster. He went with Forster, which turned out to be a smart move when the actor received the film's only Oscar nod.
. 11 THE BRADY BUNCH (1969 – 1974)
Do you remember the “beloved sitcom” we mentioned? Well, it's none other than The Brady Bunch . Yes, you read that correctly. In his 2010 book Brady Brady Brady The Brady Bunch Sherwood Schwartz wrote: “There were a number of men I wanted to interview [for the role of Mike Brady] including Gene Hackman. Paramount wouldn't even fix Gene Hackman for an interview because he had a very low TVQ. (TVQ is a survey that executives use to determine audience familiarity with performances. TV managers don't admit the existence of TVQs, but they're often used in casting.) “Maybe everything was fine – at least for Hackman. "The year after The Brady Bunch debuted unknown Gene Hackman without TVQ in The French Connection and won the Oscar for Best Actor and has been a star since then." "Schwartz added.