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Mick Jagger Wanted to Play Alex in 'A Clockwork Orange,' The Beatles Wanted to Do Soundtrack

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2013 at 1:43PM

Letters of Note blog has yet another amazing discovery for us today. Before Kubrick famously took the helm of "A Clockwork Orange," producer Si Litvinoff approached director John Schlesinger with the project. Litvinoff's letter to Schlesinger is revealing: Mick Jagger was interested in playing the role of Alex (eventually to be played to iconic effect by Malcolm McDowell) and none other than the Beatles wanted to supply the soundtrack.
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Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange"
Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange"

Letters of Note blog has yet another amazing discovery for us today. Before Kubrick famously took the helm of "A Clockwork Orange," producer Si Litvinoff approached director John Schlesinger ("Midnight Cowboy") with the project. Litvinoff's letter to Schlesinger is revealing: Mick Jagger was interested in playing the role of Alex (eventually to be played to iconic effect by Malcolm McDowell) and none other than the Beatles wanted to supply the soundtrack.

Head on over to LoN to see the transcript of Litvinoff's letter, where he wisely writes that the film "should break ground in its language, cinematic style and its soundtrack." 

Actor David Hemmings was the original favorite to play Alex, following his success in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blowup." LoN also includes a petition sent to screenwriter Terry Southern protesting Hemmings' frontrunner status ahead of Jagger's.

One year following Litvinoff's letter to Schlesinger, Kubrick stepped in to direct "A Clockwork Orange." And the rest is history, folks.

This article is related to: News, Classics, Stanley Kubrick, Mick Jagger, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.