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Actors Who Were Replaced After Getting Injured

It’s difficult to imagine anyone but Clint Eastwood in the role of no nonsense cop Inspector Harry Callahan from the “Dirty Harry” film series. Eastwood played the role in five films from 1971 to 1988, cementing himself as one of the defining figures of the neo-noir movement. Part of what makes him so perfect for the character (and the genre) is his trademark glare, incredibly steely and impossible to replicate. However, the “Dirty Harry” films may have been quite different if it weren’t for an injury to the original star: Frank Sinatra.

Back when William Friedkin was still in the director’s chair, the first film was essentially meant to be a star vehicle for Sinatra, with the main character modeled after him. But, after six months of tireless development, Sinatra pulled out (arguably a blessing in disguise, seeing as it opened up the door for Eastwood and allowed Friedkin to work on “The French Connection”). The crooner broke his wrist while filming “The Manchurian Candidate” and had yet to recover to the point that he was able to wield Callahan’s now iconic Smith & Wesson comfortably.

A number of other stars were reportedly offered the role before it came to Eastwood, most notably John Wayne. However, Wayne and Sinatra famously didn’t get along at the time, and Wayne is said to have refused to even consider the project because he “didn’t like being offered Sinatra’s rejections,” per Collider. George C. Scott, Burt Lancaster, and Steve McQueen all turned it down, and Robert Mitchum called the script “a piece of junk” when it landed on his desk. Paul Newman was also courted, and, while he didn’t fancy it himself, he’s the one who told producers to consider Eastwood.

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