“He [legendary newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin] had exactly the look I had in mind [for tough New York police detective Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle], a Black Irishman. The first day, he was great, great, great. The second day, he forgot what he did on the first day. The third day, he didn't show up. Comes Friday, he shows up and says, 'Hey, isn't there a car chase in this movie?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You know, I promised my mother on her deathbed I wouldn’t drive, so I don’t know how to drive.’ I said, ‘You’re fired.’”—Director William Friedkin, on fumbling his casting of the lead for The French Connection before giving the role to Gene Hackman, quoted in Maureen Dowd, “We Need an Exorcist!,” The New York Times, Apr. 15, 2018
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