"THANKS FOR YOUR TIME, BOB... LOVE, BRIAN"
Bristish actor Bob Hoskins died Tuesday after being treated for pneumonia. He was 71. In 1986, Hoskins was signed by Paramount to play Al Capone in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. However, De Palma had been talking with Robert De Niro about playing Capone, and once De Niro finally committed, Linson asked the studio to pay Hoskins his full salary, which some stories report as $200,000, and others report as $300,000.
The way Hoskins told the story to Absolute Radio in 2009 was that De Palma sent Hoskins the Untouchables screenplay and told him to look at Capone. "I went to meet him at his hotel," Hoskins said on the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, "and he said ‘really I want Robert De Niro to play him,’ and I thought, ‘well great what am I doing here?’ He then said ‘but if he don’t do it, would you sort of step in?’ and I said ‘yeah of course I will’. Anyway months went by and I read the papers and saw De Niro was doing it. I’d sort of forgotten all about it, and then Linda – my Mrs – was opening the post one morning and said ‘what’s that?’ and it was a cheque for £20,000. It said ‘thanks for your time Bob, love Brian’. [He laughed] I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in son, you just give me a call!’”
Hoskins' breakthrough role was as a gangster in John Mackenzie's Long Good Friday. (Incidentally, Mackenzie would go on, in 1986, to direct a TV movie out of a screenplay De Palma had been working on for years, Act Of Vengeance.) Hoskins' most famous role was as a private detective in Robert Zemeckis' 1988 smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Hoskins' role as an ex-con in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986) had earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor.