Everyone knew ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ was going to be a great movie.
It couldn’t fail, it had a great director, a great script, and two great actors.
Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
Newman was a superstar and McQueen was the coolest man on the planet, the pairing would be great.
There was just one small problem.
They couldn’t agree whose name should come first.
Paul Newman saw it as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
Steve McQueen, not surprisingly, saw it the other way round.
This was awkward.
Surely they wouldn’t let a small thing like this get in the way.
But they did.
Steve McQueen pulled out of the movie.
And they didn’t have the pairing of the two biggest movie stars on the planet anymore.
Everyone involved was devastated.
What had been about to be a great film, evaporated.
After all that work, developing the script, finding the money to shoot, organising the locations.
Well, the director wasn’t going to let all the work go to waste.
He found a young actor no one had ever heard of.
Someone who wouldn’t give them any problems about wanting his name first.
A youngster called Robert Redford.
Fuck it, he’d use him in the movie instead.
And that’s how they shot it.
‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ went on to become the highest grossing western in history.
It was nominated for seven Oscars and won four.
Newman and Redford worked so well together, they made another film with the same director, ‘The Sting’.
‘The Sting’ was nominated for ten Oscars and won seven.
Not bad for a pairing that only happened out of desperation.
Would those movies would have been better with the original casting?
It’s hard to believe: 17 nominations and 11 Oscars between them.
But that’s what happens sometimes.
We don’t get what we want and we’re devastated.
But what actually happens turns out better.
George Lucas wanted Kurt Russell to play Han Solo in Star Wars.
But Kurt Russell dropped out, and an unknown Harrison Ford was cast instead.
John Travolta was the originally choice for American Gigolo, but he dropped out, and an unknown Richard Gere was cast instead.
Tom Cruise originally agreed to play Neo in The Matrix, but he dropped out and, in desperation, Keaneau Reeves was cast instead.
Mel Gibson was the original choice for Gladiator, but he dropped out and Russell Crowe was cast instead.
Tom Cruise was the original choice for Iron Man, but he dropped out and Robert Downey jr was cast instead .
Arnold Schwarzenegger was the original choice for Die Hard, but he dropped out and Bruce Willis was cast instead.
Tom Selleck was the original choice for Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but he dropped out and Harrison Ford was cast instead.
All these turned out to be really successful films.
So successful we can’t imagine them with the original casting.
Because, as the audience, we never see them with the original casting.
The audience just sees what runs.
So they’re not disappointed.
As creatives, it’s worth remembering, the disappointment is all in our own heads, not in anyone else’s.