Roles turned down by Charles Laughton:
Laughton was cast as Col. Nicholson, but had to drop up due to health reasons. Alec Guinness replaced him and won an Academy Award
Actor who got the part: Sir Alec Guinness
Laughton spent a great deal of time in the 1930s trying to mount a film of the play about the swordsman with the huge nose for producer Alexander Korda, but Korda finally abandoned the project as being too uncommercial. The film was finally made in 1950 with José Ferrer.
Actor who got the part: José Ferrer
The British thespian was reluctant to accept the part, and only spent three or four days on the film. Both he and producer David O'Selznick were unhappy with his interpretation of the role, and he withdrew his services.
Actor who got the part: W.C. Fields
Charles Laughton was in discussions for the role under the original title of Sir Tristram Goes West.
Laughton had difficulty finding the title character and clashed with director Josef von Sternberg. After co-star Merle Oberon was injured in a car crash, the film was abandoned.
Actor who got the part: Film Never Finished
Billy Wilder cast Laughton in the role of Moustache the cafe owner, but he died of cancer before shooting began, and Wilder replaced him with Lou Jacobi.
Actor who got the part: Lou Jacobi
Did you know that Charles Laughton was not the only choice for these movies? (click to learn more)