Trivia / A Passage to India

  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Peggy Ashcroft was a stage actress who had appeared in films only sporadically. She was initially not enthusiastic when David Lean asked her to be Mrs Moore. "Mr Lean, Iím 75-years-old," she protested. "So am I," he replied. Although she had recently worked in India on The Jewel in the Crown, she said, "I thought, 'Oh dear, I really donít want to do it', but it's very difficult to turn down a Lean film."
  • Career Resurrection: For James Fox. Following a prominent start in the 1960s, he became heavily involved in drug culture, which (along with his father's death) precipitated a physical and mental breakdown. Fox left cinema for 14 years, became a born-again Christian and disavowed his earlier career. This film gave him a major comeback, both as a leading man and popular character actor.
  • Deleted Role: The character of Mr. Hadley as filmed was a nice little cameo but in editing most of his scenes were deleted and all of his lines were cut as well.
  • Fake Nationality: British Alec Guinness as Hindu Brahmin Professor Godbole.
  • Hostility on the Set: The relationship between David Lean and Alec Guinness deteriorated during the making of the movie. The final straw came for Guinness when he found out that a large chunk of his scenes had been left on the cutting floor by Lean. Neither man ever met or spoke to the other again. Lean also had frequent on-set clashes with Judy Davis who accused him of having lost his touch, not having directed for 15 years.
    • As well as some cast members, Lean steadily alienated most of the heads of department and their crew during production. The situation on set deteriorated to such an extent that the producer John Brabourne had to order the camera crew to at least say "good morning" to Lean each day.
  • The Other Marty: Nigel Hawthorne was cast as Turton but fell ill and was replaced on-set by Richard Wilson.
  • Troubled Production: Compared to David Lean's other shoots, his final film was a breeze, with even the Indian location shooting going smoothly. Except for one thing: Lean and his stars were constantly at each others' throats. Alec Guinness testified in his diaries to the toxic atmosphere on set, resulting in cast and crew insulting Lean behind his back, and occasionally to his face. Judy Davis told Lean "You can't fucking well direct" and claimed he didn't understand women. Victor Banerjee argued with Lean over Aziz's accent, calling him "obnoxious" and a hack compared to Satyajit Ray. Peggy Ashcroft disliked Lean's altering the novel and "lack of respect" for her co-stars. Finally, of course, was Guinness himself: playing the Indian mystic Godbole, he spent weeks learning an intricate Hindu dance, only to have Lean cut the entire scene in post-production.
  • What Could Have Been: