Not Starring Rod Taylor

Here's a look at some of Rod Taylor's "unfilmed" films, mentioned in the "Rod-Lore" fan newsletter of the 1960s and in the press over the years:

Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1959
Hedda Hopper writes: Rod Taylor [is] wanted by Lawrence and Lee for their play "The Gang's All Here" ... Rod will also have a role in the picture "Pleasure of his Company."

Los Angeles Times, Aug.  5, 1959
Philip K. Scheuer writes: Rod Taylor ... once a lifeguard in Sydney, Australia, will film his own "Shark Bait" next year, he announces.

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 9, 1960
Philip K. Scheuer writes: Success of "The Time Machine" -- it's a smash in opening spots -- has caused George Pal to update the filming of a sequel, "Return of the Time Traveller," to next January. It will reunite Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux and will add Anthony Hall, new discovery who has the lead in Pal's "Atlantis, the Lost Continent," just completed. In one sequence of "Return" the trio, moving back in time, will overshoot their mark and find themselves in Atlantis (smart, huh? -- the sets are ready made). 

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 18, 1959
Hedda Hopper writes: George Pal has filmed two stories for Metro, part live, part animation, now he'll make another "Country of the Blind," starring Rod Taylor.

Los Angeles Times, Oct. 24, 1961
Philip K. Scheuer writes: Rod Taylor ... is incorporating as Rodlor and says he will probably co-produce, with writer Alec Coppell, two Coppell originals -- "Mistral," melodrama, and "Latitude 25," comedy.

Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 26, 1961
Hedda Hopper writes: Rod Taylor, who's making a picture in Naples, had a call from Anatole Litvak in Paris asking him to co-star with Sophia Loren in "All the Gold in the World."

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1, 1961
Hedda Hopper writes: 20th Century boss Peter Levathes caught up with Rod Taylor in Rome and nailed him to a long-term deal, not only for pictures but for another television series. This one will be laid in San Francisco and he again will play a reporter. There's a very good chance that Rod's first picture under the new deal will be "Big River, Big Man," which Dick Powell produces and directs.

January 1962, Rod-Lore newsletter
Rod writes: We are starting up "Hong Kong" again under a new title of "Dateline: San Francisco." In other words, Glenn Evans will be living in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco instead of Hong Kong. ... Along with this, I'm going to fit in three pictures at 20th Century-Fox Studios. The first one of which will either be "Big River, Big Man" with Spencer Tracy, or if that particular script isn't ready, "The Jungle" with Bob Mitchum and Deborah Kerr.

Los Angeles Times, Jan. 11, 1962
Hedda Hopper writes: [To keep actress Juliet Prowse happy, 20th Century came up with a dramatic story called "The Jungle" and threw in two leading men that would keep any girl happy -- Bob Mitchum and Rod Taylor.

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 2, 1962
New York Times reports: Rod Taylor's contract [for "The Birds"] also calls for three other Hitchcock films.

Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1962
Hedda Hopper writes: [Regarding the Robert Kennedy role in "The Enemy Within."] No one is yet cast for Kennedy, but Rod Taylor's name has been bandied about.

Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1962
Hedda Hopper writes: Rod Taylor's planning a trip to India for "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber" for producer Robert Blees, with an assist from the Indian Government.

Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1962
Phillip K. Scheuer writes: Rod Taylor will act again for George Pal ... in "The Circus of Dr. Lao."

October 1963, Rod-Lore newsletter  
Rod writes: [I'm going] to Spain to shoot a big one called "Circus World" with John Wayne and Rita Hayworth and a few love scenes with Claudia Cardinale thrown in. ... P.S. Just got back from Spain. ... The script just didn't turn out as John Wayne and I had hoped. We had wanted to do a good, solid "men's story," and let's face it, Claudia Cardinale isn't exactly masculine. So we are going to get together on another one -- I hope to be directed by our same friend on "Circus World," Henry Hathaway.

Chicago Tribune, Oct. 5, 1963 
Hedda Hopper quoted Rod in her column in regard to "Circus." "John Wayne and I talked for ages about doing a real man's picture. When I arrived in Spain, it turned out to be a different story. I found I would be supporting Claudia Cardinale. Henry Hathaway promised to rewrite my part at night, but he had his hands full with trains, ships, animals and people, so I bowed out. Everybody understands -- there were not hard feelings."

October 1963, Rod-Lore newsletter  
Rod writes: MGM is writing another one for Jane Fonda and me because of the preview reaction for "Sunday in New York," and that, I'm sure, will be great fun!

October 1963, Rod-Lore newsletter
Fan club president Liz Ploger writes: Rod is now busy trying to select his next picture. There has been some talk about "Where Love Has Gone" with Susan Hayward, but nothing is decided and many other properties are being studied.

Los Angeles Times, Jan. 13, 1964:
Rod will follow "Fate is the Hunter" with his own production of "Someone Will Conquer Them," by Australian Elizabeth Kata.

Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1964:
Rod's production company, Rodlor, was joining forces with Bavarian Films to do "The Monument," a suspense drama built around the Berlin Wall, by R.J. Flood.

April 1965, Rod-Lore newsletter
Liz Ploger writes: Rod may do the James Michener novel, "Caravans," which will be shot in Cinerama and on location in Afghanistan. Rewriting is now being done on the script and Rod has first refusal rights, so if a suitable co-star can be found, it will be off to the desert for Rod in 1966.

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 31, 1966:
Rod Taylor has signed to star in a film story still to be selected for producer Alfred Hitchcock at Universal Studios next year.

Los Angeles Times, July 29, 1967:
Rod Taylor ... has signed for another [a picture] to be produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The untitled suspense story will be filmed early next year.

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 22, 1967:
Rod Taylor, under his Rodlor Productions, and Eddie Dmytryk will independently produce "That Woman." The screenplay is by Robert Alan Aurthur and Taylor will star and Dmytryk will direct beginning in mid-1968.

Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1968:
Rod Taylor, under his Rodlor Productions banner, has acquired "The Golden Jungle" by Richard Newhafer. Taylor will star in the adventure story to be filmed early next year from a screenplay by Newhafer.

New York Times, Sept. 22, 1968:
Producer George Pal ... is involved with "The Last Revolution." This, Pal said, "is the last novel written by the late Lord Dunsany. Rod Serling recently completed the screenplay. I think the story is more applicable than ever today. It's set in the near future and has to do with an inventor who creates a little 'brain' that takes over countries and eventually rules the world. The problems presented have to do with man's efforts to survive in a machine civilization." Rod Taylor is all but set for the part of the inventor.

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 18, 1968:
Rod Taylor, under his Rodlor Productions banner, has signed Richard Newhafer to write the screenplay for "The Golden Jungle," novel by Newhafer, in which Taylor will star after completing his role in "Zabriskie Point" for MGM. 

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1969:
In an article headlined "Aussie Film Industry Shaping Up": Rod Taylor's own production company will make "Last Bus to Banjo Creek" -- from a local short story -- with Taylor in the lead and Julie Andrews possibly as the female star.

Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1969:
Rod Taylor, under his Rodlor Productions, has signed a multiple-picture deal with producer-writer John C. Champion. The first film will be "The Hawks at Noon," a novel by Champion, who will also write the screenplay. Taylor will star.

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 2, 1970:
Rod Taylor, under his Rodlor Productions, has gone into partnership with Eugene Frenke and Paul Ross to produce "Girl of the Fifth Summer," by Dalton Trumbo. The modern-day love story will star Taylor, with production scheduled for this summer.

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1970:
Rod Taylor will star in pictures under his Rodlor Productions banner in partnership with Maurice Silverstein on a basis of one year. The first, "Contact," with a screenplay by Michael Stanley, is an action adventure which will be made in Australia next year.

Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1970:
Filmways has entered into a two-picture agreement with Rod Taylor and Phil Feldman's Rodphi Productions. Taylor will star in both. The first film [was "Powderkeg"], followed by "The Buffalo Man," written for the screen by Robert and Judith Barrows.

Chicago Tribune, Nov. 11, 1971:
George C. Scott has purchased an original screenplay called "Harrow Away," which he will direct in London early next year, with Dirk Bogarde, Rod Taylor, and Jane Alexander.

Starlog, July 1986:
Taylor intended to team up again with George Pal, director of "The Time Machine." Although Rod turned down the lead role of another heroic scientist in Pal's "The Power" in 1967 (eventually played by George Hamilton, Taylor agreed to star in a subsequent fantasy project, whose title he has since forgotten. "It could have been a magnificent film," Rod was quoted as saying. "It was slightly futuristic. I would have played a strange, extremely powerful Howard Hughes type of character in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, George could never get the picture off the ground.

 

 

ON JAMES BOND

Producer Cubby Broccoli wanted me to screen test for James Bond when he was preparing "Dr. No" in 1961. I refused because I thought it was beneath me. I didn't think Bond would be successful in the movies. That was one of the greatest mistakes of my career! Every time a new Bond picture became a smash hit, I tore out my hair. Cubby and I have laughed about it ever since.

-- Rod, interviewed in
Starlog magazine,
July 1986

 

ON DR. ZHIVAGO

Another of my brilliant bleeping decisions. I thought I was the biggest thing to hit the screen. I was an egotistical bleep. [MGM] asked me to talk to David Lean about the picture. I told them I wanted to read the script first, and they said there wasn't one yet. I thought, "Such impertinence!" and didn't go down. I have regretted it ever since.

-- Rod Taylor in
TV Times (Australia),
Dec. 18, 1976

 

MISSED CONNECTION

Eddie Egan, the real-life narcotics policeman upon whose exploits "The French Connection" is based, had wanted Rod Taylor to portray him in the movie. Gene Hackman, of course, got the role. Whereas Rod is a tough - rugged - handsome guy, Egan and Hackman are both more tough - rugged - plain guys, a 1971 article in The New York Times explained.

 

MISSING THE BUS

Rod Taylor spent more than a decade trying to produce "Last Bus at Banjo Creek," which he described as "a sort of 'African Queen' on a truck."

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