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Gene Hackman was fired from this iconic movie, and it “hurt”

Despite featuring in some of the very best movies of all time, Gene Hackman has one major regret in his career, after being sacked from a truly great film.

Gene Hackman in The Conversation

Gene Hackman has taken some amazing roles in his time, from The French Connection, to The Conversation, to Superman. But, there is one part that Gene Hackman let slip through his fingers, and not being part of one of the best movies of all time really ‘hurt’ the esteemed actor.

When you discuss the best actors of all time, Gene Hackman is a name that is likely to pop up. He may not be as renowned as the likes of Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, and Jack Nicholson, but Hackman possesses a certain gravitas that makes him so captivating on-screen. He’s also won two Oscars during his career, and you can’t argue with that.

But, the actor does have one regret. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune many years ago, Hackman revealed he was fired from one of the best romance movies of all time, The Graduate, and explained how painful that was.

“That’s what I remember most from my early days, and it still hurts. I was going to play Mr. Robinson, Anne Bancroft’s husband. But Mike Nichols didn’t think I was doing it well and so, one, two, three, I was fired. Mike’s a nice guy, but he’ll fire you without blinking an eye,” Hackman said.

“It didn’t really hurt my career. I had Bonnie and Clyde coming out the same year, and that turned everything around for me. But it was painful. Every time I look at the television schedule and see The Graduate coming on, or sometimes when I see Dustin Hoffman, I think about it. And, you know, getting fired from The Graduate can stick with you,” he added.

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Luckily, Hackman was able to find success elsewhere, but it is fascinating to think what The Graduate could have been like with Hackman’s presence. Imagine if he brought the same energy to the role of Mr Robinson as he did to the role of one of the best DC villains, Lex Luthor?

Speaking of, check out our guide on watching the Superman movies in order, or our list of the best thriller movies of all time. You might also be curious about the actor who only made five movies and all were nominated for Best Picture. If you’d rather look to the future rather than the past, here’s all the new movies coming up, and you can learn all about the Superman Legacy release date.