Hollywood Icon James Caan stopped by this morning to promote his new show, Back in the Game and he seemed to think that Howard's guest research was all wrong. James set Howard straight as they looked back at his career.
* James claimed he turned down the part that eventually went to Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" four times because the movie wasn't visual enough – it all took place in a loony bin.
* Gianni Russo, who played Carlo Rizzi in the Godfather, was on the Stern Show in 2005 and talked about how James Caan really hurt him when he punched him in the movie. James said he may have broken a rib. James said that Gianni got involved with the wrong people and they wanted to "have a talk with him," so James asked that they wait two weeks until the movie was done shooting.
* Howard pointed out that Robert DeNiro auditioned for the role that James Caan eventually took in the Godfather. James said that this wasn't true, that director Francis Ford Coppola had the four main cast in mind from the beginning – Caan, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino and Marlon Brando.
"They didn't want an actor, that's why they got Harrison Ford," - James Caan
* James said he was offered the part of Superman in the movie version that "Godfather" author Mario Puzzo wrote, which was funny and tongue-in-cheek, but the film never got made. He acted out a scene from the unproduced screenplay where Clark Kent finally decided to reveal his identity to Lois Lane and she just laughs it off as if he's wearing a Superman costume.
* Howard asked James if he turned down Star Wars. James said they didn't want a real actor, that's why they went with Harrison Ford. When Howard pressed James about why he dislikes Ford, James called his talent "mediocre" and said he once called him "John Caan," knowing full-well that his name was James.
* James seemed to regret turning down Dustin Hoffman's role in Kramer vs. Kramer, saying you can't tell what people are going to like. It's a crap shoot. He brought up the example of the huge Ryan O'Neil hit "Love Story" which he said was a terrible movie and a "horror."
* Apocalypse Now" was another movie that James turned down – they wanted him for the lead role. Harvey Keitel was originally cast, but they threw him off the movie after two weeks, according to James. After he turned it down, the role went to Martin Sheen. He doesn't regret the decision because Sheen said the role almost killed him.
* James admitted to doing the show "Las Vegas" because he wasn't doing well financially. James claimed that he socked away 25% of everything he made as a pension and it was all stolen from him. He took the role on the hit TV show but left after four seasons, when he felt the material was not up to par.
* James' new show is about a Little League coach, and James talked about being at a game once when a kid (not James' kid) hit his first home run and rounded the bases and everyone went nuts with congratulations and the umpire called him out for not hitting first base. James was so infuriated that the umpire and a father on the other team were ruining this kids moment that he let his anger be known, and was thrown out of the game. Later, a guy approached James with a baseball bat and James chased him over the fence and out of the field.