John Wayne

Alfred Hitchcock ‘duped’ North by Northwest star out of main role

ALFRED HITCHCOCK worked hard on perfecting his 1959 masterpiece North by Northwest, but one mistake during the casting phase left him with no choice but to dupe his actor out of the role he had promised him.

North by Northwest hits TV screens today at 1:45pm on BBC Two. The iconic spy movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock has gone down in history as the “original” James Bond movie – but it was wrapped up in some controversy.

It all started when Hitchcock began looking at Cary Grant as the lead actor for the movie.

Unfortunately for Hitchcock and Grant, there was a big problem.

Hitchcock had previously promised James Stewart the role of the protagonist, Roger Thornhill.

Some reports claim the director “accidentally” promised the role to Stewart.

But either way, Hitchcock had to get rid of Stewart any way he could to bring Grant onto the picture.

So he got a bit devious.

Alfred Hitchcock cary grant

Alfred Hitchcock hired Cary Grant – but not at first (Image: GETTY)

Alfred Hitchcock north by northwest

Alfred Hitchcock directed North by Northwest (Image: GETTY)

Hitchcock knew Stewart’s schedule, so he looked at what filming was coming up for him.

He noted that Stewart was about to start filming his 1959 movie Anatomy of a Murder.

Because of this, he knew he could create a clash.

He purposefully delayed the shooting of North by Northwest so that Stewart’s filming would begin to run into his new movie.

Alfred Hitchcock james stewart

James Stewart was originally grabbed for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie (Image: GETTY)

Joan Fontaine describes working with Alfred Hitchcock

Before long, Stewart was forced to pull out of North by Northwest.

Hitchcock had duped the actor out of his breakout role – but it came back to bite him.

The star then brought Cary Grant on as the film’s lead star.

Hitchcock’s delay of North By Northwest meant that the production of the film was extended dramatically.

Grant’s contract included a specific clause that promised he would be paid extra fees if filming overran.

Because of this, Grant was awarded an extra $5,000 a day.

These further lump sums spent on the star of the movie meant North By Northwest was sent massively over budget.

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