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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves almost had a shocking, different King Richard cameo at the end of the film.
Screenwriter and producer Pen Densham revealed during a previous conversation with the International Screenwriters’ Association that there was a push, presumably from the studio, for John Cleese to play King Richard at the end of the film, which turned 30 on Monday.
Densham said that move would undercut all the picture tried to accomplish. “I couldn’t stomach that because I felt all of the care, all of the investment, all the love, all the effort that the characters were playing all came down to a joke,” he said.
“Passion empowers you, whereas technique doesn’t,” Densham said of the bold move. “I so wanted to not have the John Cleese that I said, ‘Would you give me Sean Connery? We can’t give him a credit because you can’t have the audience waiting for the whole movie to see him — but he only has to work one day.”
Connery’s agent, CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, said fine — for one million dollars. “And I said, ‘No. No. You don’t understand, we’re already over budget. We can’t afford that, but I guarantee you that it will be a part of film history,'” Denshem recalled.
The two sides finally agreed on donating $250,000 to a hospital in Connery’s native Scotland, Densham said. And the rest is history.
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