Picks and Pans Review: Hollywood's First Choices: How the Greatest Casting Decisions Were Made

UPDATED 08/01/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/01/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Jeff Burkhart & Bruce Stuart

Casablanca without Ingrid Bergman? Al Pacino absent from The Godfather! Shirley Temple, not Judy Garland, skipping down the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz? Blasphemous scenarios that very nearly came to pass, according to this roundup of 17 classic casting stories (100 additional, briefer "tidbits" are collected in a separate section).

Authors Burkhart, a screenwriter, and Stuart, a former agent, capture the arbitrary, ego-driven madness that's called Hollywood know-how (particularly in the chapter on Apocalypse Now) and offer a few fascinating anecdotes. Montgomery Clift's older lover, for example, threatened to kill herself should he take the lead in Sunset Boulevard, and Clark Gable's divorce forced him to take the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind just for the money. Unfortunately, most of the stories lack such drama, and some are so uneventful they feel like padding. Still, anyone intrigued by the weird alchemy that creates great movies—and bad ones, for that matter—will enjoy snacking on First Choices. (Crown, paper, $14)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters