Career NewsUnexpected Incident Leads Michael Douglas to Reject Working with Debra Winger

Unexpected Incident Leads Michael Douglas to Reject Working with Debra Winger


Key takeaways:

– Actor Michael Douglas chose not to work with Debra Winger after a biting incident.
– Originally, Winger was chosen for leading female role in Romancing the Stone.
– Douglas insisted the studio find a replacement after the incident.
– The role eventually went to Kathleen Turner, who earned a Golden Globe Award for her performance.

Renowned actor Michael Douglas unveiled why he declined to work with actress Debra Winger on his successful movie Romancing the Stone. Known for memorable roles in Hollywood films like Basic Instinct and an impressive run on the ABC series The Streets of San Francisco, Douglas has a rich history in the acting industry.

### The Unfortunate Prank

While discussing his career on Rob Lowe’s podcast, Literally!, Douglas revealed an incident involving Winger. The encounter transpired when Douglas and director Robert Zemeckis met with Winger in Texas, who was then shooting for the movie Terms of Endearment. Winger had been the studio’s top choice for the role of Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone.

As Douglas recounted the awkward event: “We walk out and, just as you would kind of go, ‘Oh you!’ and give someone a little punch in the arm, you know, like a joke-around, she goes, ‘Oh you!’ and she reaches over and she bites me on my arm.” In jest, Winger had bitten Douglas hard enough to draw his scream, going beyond the boundaries of humor.

### Douglas’s Decision: No Winger in Romancing the Stone

Douglas was so irked by the incident that he decided not to work with Winger in Romancing the Stone. He expressed: “She’s like jokey and I’m looking at her, ‘I don’t know, man…’ I’m thinking ‘this could be rough.” On noticing that the bite “had broken the skin”, he made his decision.

Sharing his predicament with the studio executives, Douglas admitted he “broke down in tears” and insisted he could not take on his journey to the likes of a jungle set with Winger. His concern was taken into account and Winger was replaced in the film.

### An Unexpected Twist: Kathleen Turner Takes the Lead

The director and studio thus had to reconsider their casting decision, leading to the appointment of Kathleen Turner as Joan Wilder. This unexpected twist proved fruitful, as Turner’s portrayal was well received— winning a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Romancing the Stone.

The 1984 action-adventure rom-com was a commercial hit, racking up a global gross of $115 million and ranking as the sixth highest-grossing movie of the year. With an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it highlights Douglas as Jack Colton, a daring bird hunter assisting a lonely romance novelist in her Colombian jungle adventure to save her sister from criminals.

Romancing the Stone is available for streaming on Apple TV+.

In conclusion, the incident with Winger turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Romancing the Stone. Its commercial and critical success is a accolade to Douglas’s unyielding stand and Turner’s winning performance.

Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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