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Trivia / The Bible (1966)

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  • Acting for Two:
  • All-Star Cast: John Huston, Michael Parks, Richard Harris, Franco Nero, Stephen Boyd, George C. Scott, Ava Gardner, and Peter O'Toole.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: John Huston originally wanted Peter O'Toole for Cain, but Richard Harris was already cast, so O'Toole became The Three Angels.
  • Descended Creator: Director John Huston as God and Noah.
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  • Genre-Killer: This would be the last major studio produced Biblical epic, until Paramount released King David.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: John Huston, George C. Scott and Ava Gardner were atheists.
  • One-Book Author: This was the only acting role of Ulla Bergryd (Eve) playing a prominent, named character in a film.note  She did not pursue a career in acting afterwards, instead becoming a professor at the School of Sociology of the University of Stockholm.
  • Production Nickname: When Peter O'Toole heard that Stephen Boyd and Richard Harris were also in the film, he told John Huston that he should call the film The Gospel According to Mick, as Boyd and Harris were Irish and both O'Toole and Huston had Irish ancestry.
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  • Reality Subtext: In the film, Sarah's maid Hagar sleeps with Abraham (at Sarah's insistence, so that Abraham could have a son) and ends up pregnant with his child. In real life, John Huston had an affair with Zoe Sallis, the actress who plays Hagar, and she ended up pregnant with his son, actor Danny Huston.
  • Romance on the Set:
    • John Huston had an affair with Zoe Sallis, the actress who plays Hagar, with resulted in the birth of his son, actor Danny Huston.
    • Ava Gardner and George C. Scott had a brief, but stormy affair during the making of this movie. At one point, he even kicked down the door of her hotel suite in a drunken rage.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Filming ended in December 1964, but the film was not released until September 1966.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Dino De Laurentiis originally announced that this would be the first in a series of feature films based on the books of the Bible. However, as the film lost 20th Century Fox $1.5 million, plans for any sequels were abandoned.
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  • Talking to Himself: When God talks to Noah, that's actually the voice of John Huston speaking to John Huston.
  • Uncredited Role: Orson Welles, Vittorio Bonicelli, Jonathan Griffin, Ivo Perilli, and Mario Soldati made uncredited contributions to the screenplay.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Dino De Laurentiis first announced that this would be a portmanteau project, and that each book of the old testament would be directed by a major director. Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Luchino Visconti, and Orson Welles were all approached, but in the end, this proved to be too ambitious and expensive. Instead, this just concentrates on the book of Genesis. (Welles was going to direct the Abraham segment and discussed a role with Michael Caine. Trevor Howard was to play Abraham.)
    • Michael York was considered for Adam.
    • John Huston originally wanted Charlie Chaplin to play Noah. Chaplin didn't like the idea of being in a film directed by someone else and turned it down. Alec Guinness was offered the role, but was unavailable.
    • Richard Burton was originally considered for King Nimrod.
    • While filming The Agony and the Ecstasy at Dinocitta in Rome in 1964, De Laurentiis offered Charlton Heston an unspecified role in this movie.
    • De Laurentiis offered Spencer Tracy the role of Abraham in 1962, but Tracy passed on it, as he was heavily involved on the lengthy filming schedule of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
    • Roger Moore claimed in his autobiography that he was considered for a role, but was turned down.
    • One Time article made while the film was still shooting claimed that Eve was originally going to be played by "a languorous Italian brunette" (since the film was an American-Italian co-production), but De Laurentiis put on an international newspaper straw poll to find out whether people thought of Eve as blonde or dark, and the result declared that "they could not see how the mother of mankind could have come from any place east of Sweden," and so Swedish Ulla Bergryd was cast.
    • Huston wanted Igor Stravinsky to score the film. For unspecified reasons, this was never done.
    • Huston hired Ennio Morricone to write the score, but before he'd finished he was fired by the producers, who wanted a composer with more marquee value and replaced him with Toshiro Mayuzumi. A couple of Morricone's cues were used in the film anyway (albeit uncredited), and he would later reuse the material in other projects.

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