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1957: Stevens searches for unknown

From the Army Archerd Archive

From the Army Archerd Archive

July 5, 1957

GOOD MORNING: George Stevens won’t buck the battle for star names in order to cast his “Diary of Anne Frank.” He says (as of this writing) he’ll use an unknown rather than the rumored Audrey Hepburn, Susan Strasberg, etc. … And that’s a switch for Stevens who used such star names as Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean in “Giant.” … Stevens says ownership of “Giant” reverts back to himself, Edna Ferber and Henry Ginsberg in 10 years … (On July 29, I reiterated: “George Stevens will conduct a world-wide search for the young leads in ‘Diary of Anne Frank.’ He’s not looking to build stars, just wants ’em for this pic.”) … (2007 Update: George Stevens Jr. recalls for me the search for Anne Frank. “I was an associate producer (on his father’s film). One of my jobs was to find the leading lady. As you can imagine, looking for a leading lady was a very nice opportunity for a 26-year-old boy.” He and Owen McClean found the unknown — Millie Perkins — from picture on the cover of Glamour magazine. “We flew her to Hollywood and did a film test with her and with relatively unknown Richard Behmer. We also tested three or four others–not big names. One I remember was Mary Ann Saarstatt from Amsterdam. Audrey Hepburn was not a realistic option to play a 14-year-old and Susan Strasberg was disappointed. We thought there was value in having someone who was not known.” Stevens was also assigned to direct exteriors on the second unit in Amsterdam while his father filmed the house’s interiors on stages at 20th. “The night before I was to shoot, cameraman Jack Cardiff said, ‘I think I should tell you–I’ve never shot a foot of film in black and white before’!”)

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