I love to hear about who was originally cast or wanted for different movies. I was watching an interview with William Friedkin who was talking about the French Connection. He first wanted Jimmy Breslin as Popeye Doyle because of the resemblance. When that didn’t work out, he went with Peter Boyle, who had just completed Joe, but Boyle wanted to now play romantic leads (that may have been a little facetious on Friedkin’s part, but the point is clear). Then Paul Newman, who would cost too much. The producer then told Friedkin just to cast someone good who would meet the budget. Friedkan said he didn’t think of Gene Hackman, that he was suggested by his agent. Friedkin said that the producer of Everybody Loves Raymond told him that every day Boyle would say what an awful mistake he had made in turning down The French Connection.