Hal Holbrook Initially Hated the Script for 'All the President's Men' and Turned It Down

Hal Holbrook as "Deep Throat" and Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in 'All the President's Men' (1976).
Warner Bros./Everett Collection

Hal Holbrook as "Deep Throat" and Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in 'All the President's Men' (1976).

It took a visit from friend Robert Redford to convince the legendary actor to take the role.

Hal Holbrook is known for several characters he played throughout his illustrious career, but one of the most iconic was at first hated by the award-winning actor.

The legendary Holbrook died on Jan. 23. He was 95.

During an interview he gave in 2018 with the Television Academy Foundation, Holbrook confessed that he was thoroughly unimpressed with his portion of the script for All the President's Men — and immediately turned the Alan J. Pakula-directed picture down.

"I turned the script down because there's nothing in it," Holbrook said at the time. "You don't see the guy!" he said of the character "Deep Throat," the secret informant who provided information to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward about the Nixon Administration and Watergate scandal. In reality, Deep Throat was the late FBI special agent Mark Felt, who died in 2008.

Holbrook explained that it took a visit from friend Robert Redford, who was cast as Woodward, to convince him to take the role. But it would not be that easy, the late actor said.

"Bob Redford came to our house and said 'Hal, you got to do this role.' And I said that no one would even see it," Holbrook recalled of the exchanges. "And he said, 'Hal, you're wrong. Believe me, you're wrong. And I said, 'The guy is in the dark all the time!' "

That is when Redford made it clear that the audience would remember his mysterious "Deep Throat" role more than any other character in the 1976 Oscar-winning film.

"Oh, hell," Holbrook said of Redford's point — and agreed to take the role.

"Well, he was right! He was right as rain," Holbrook exclaimed about the final product. "He understood it and I didn't. I was very happy to be part of that very important film."

Watch the full segment below.