About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Paul Newman As Joe Gideon?

    By kyle | April 14, 2009

    I’d always heard that Richard Dreyfuss was the original choice to play the lead character in my favorite film, “All That Jazz,” but a new bio of Paul Newman by Shawn Levy says Newman was also offered the role. He later was asked how he felt about turning down the part and mimed shooting himself in the head. “It was just dumb of me,” he said. “I was just so stupid, I didn’t take into consideration what the contribution of the director was going to be. That was a terrible oversight.” Not that Roy Scheider did so badly. He turned in magnificent work. It may be the most underrated performance in the history of movies. Levy’s bio of Newman, by the way, billed as the first-ever full-length life of Cool Hand Butch, may not contain a lot of new revelations — but Newman comes off as far from a saint.

    Topics: Books, Movies | 3 Comments »

    3 Responses to “Paul Newman As Joe Gideon?”

    1. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      April 14th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      As you know, I share your enthusiasm for All That Jazz, which, along with All About Eve, is one of the two best pictures ever made about Broadway. It is certainly Scheider’s best performance. But how about a shout-out to Ann Reinking, who was sensational in the picture?

      Dreyfuss and Newman were indeed offered Joe Gideon. Then again, Dreyfuss was also offered the Schwarzenegger role in Total Recall and Newman the Connery role in The Man Who Would Be King. But none of these rejections are on a par with the two roles Rod Steiger turned down: Brando’s in The Godfather and George C. Scott’s in Patton. Those decisions ruined his career.

      Woulda, coulda, shoulda is a fun game, though: at one point Cary Grant and Noel Cowerd were offered the Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles roles in The Third Man, Tom Selleck the lead in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Kevin Costner the title role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Thank goodness, none of these boneheaded casting ideas came to pass.

    2. JohnM Says:
      April 14th, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      I remember reading Shawn Levy’s film reviews in Tower Record’s free magazine PULSE.

    3. Strunk N. White Says:
      April 21st, 2009 at 5:11 pm